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5 Reasons Why Your Sales Process is Too Slow

  
  
  

5 reasons why your sales process is too slowIt pays to take your time with some parts of your sales process--indeed, it's increasingly common for modern salespeople to rush their sales process and end up with wasted time due to sloppy lead generation and poor follow through. But 'slow and steady' isn't the end-all of sales process discussions. Chances are, you're going too slowly, too. There are places in the sales process where swift, decisive action will beat or equal shuffling your feet for days on end. In this article, we'll discuss five reasons your sales process is slower than it needs to be, and how you can trim the fat without rushing the steps that need time.

1. You're Not Focused

One of the leading causes of a slow sales cycle has nothing to do with the details of the cycle--rather, the problem is how quickly you complete tasks you can complete at your leisure. When you sit down to research prospects, or analyze metrics, or perform any other boring task that you can do 'whenever', do you get things done then and their without distraction? Do you take days going over data that should take you hours--delaying any sale associated with that data for that long?

There are a few things you can do to sharpen your focus. Learn to keep a schedule, do hard tasks early in the morning (it sets the tone!), and know when you need to get away from your desk and reset your focus with a real break. Trying to focus for hours and getting distracted constantly because you need a break is far worse than taking a ten minute cool down walk every few hours!

2. You Aren't Provoking Investment

One of the easiest ways to speed up the sales process without sacrificing quality of work is provoking 'investment' from the prospect. If your prospect isn't investing time or resources from early in the sales process, you're probably working too slow. An invested prospect will pay more attention to what you have to say and be more willing to move forward at every stage of the sales process.

Investment doesn't have to be big to have a psychological effect on the prospect; just convincing someone to clear an hour in their schedule for a follow-up meeting is more than enough.

3. You Get Caught On Bad Leads

This is one of those problems that develops from going too fast in the wrong areas. Rushing through lead generation will slow your overall sales process, because you'll be caught up in go-nowhere leads. Bad leads aren't just those that will never result in a sale--a lead that takes three or four times as long to close hurts your bottom line too. It might even hurt it worse, if you could have closed multiple deals in that time.

When it comes to leads, 'slow is steady, steady is fast' should be your rule of thumb.

4. Your Tools Aren't Suitable

Using unsuitable tools can turn your sales process into a slog. Perhaps you're using software with too little information, or with too many frills for your process. Maybe your communications are delayed and you're always waiting to hear back from someone else.

Give your tool set a harsh review and cut out the time-wasters. Then figure out what problems you REALLY need solved and find precise solutions to those problems; you should be good at this, you're in sales!

5. You're Talking To The Wrong People

It's easy to waste days and weeks working your way up company hierarchy if you're not careful. Nothing slows the sales process more than having to 'close' multiple people in a row as you work your way up to an actual decision-maker. Do your research and find your shortest route to the movers and shakers. It may take a little longer than picking up a phone, but in the end you'll close more often and more quickly.

Sales Management Worksheet

SalesForce Search specializes exclusively in sales recruiting across North America and serves small, medium and Fortune 500 companies. SalesForce Search helps companies find qualified sales people who will have an immediate impact on their sales targets.

5 Challenges With Sales Management

  
  
  

5 challenges with sales managementSales management is not a walk in the park. Although the rewards are great, the challenges can be great as well. Fortunately, there are things you can do to overcome the challenges you routinely face in sales management. Once you know how to solve these problems, sales management becomes a much more satisfying career. Let's take a look at five challenges with sales management and how to overcome them.

Sales Coaching

Sales coaching is different than taking care of periodic performance reviews, but sometimes sales managers don't differentiate between the two. What your sales reps need is constant feedback and coaching, and performance reviews don't accomplish these tasks. Instead, performance reviews put your sales reps under pressure without providing direction and mentoring.

Sales coaching, on the other hand, helps your sales reps to tackle different challenges and work through their individual weaknesses and questions. In other words, sales coaching strengthens your sales reps by providing them with individual mentoring. By sharing your experiences and helping your sales reps to work through their own problems, you can provide valuable sales coaching.

Collecting Data for Analysis

Data-driven analysis helps your sales team with accountability and goal setting, but collecting the data can be a major sales management challenge. The solution to this challenge is to use data collection tools that help you to organize, analyze, and report to your sales team without spending a lot of time getting lost in spreadsheets and paperwork. Simplify the metrics you use for data analysis, and find tools that work well for your particular data.

Time Management

Time management is difficult for most professionals, but it can especially difficult in sales management. You may be working during both business and evening hours, and your sales reps may work at different times than you do. The fast-paced world of sales management can lead you to feel that your schedule is out of control and you never have time to sit down and reflect on where you've been and where you want to go.

To tame your time management, carve out time in your week to focus solely on managing your sales reps. For instance, you could schedule half-hour meetings with each of your reps, giving you dedicated time to work on your sales coaching and keeping your reps on track.

Motivating Sales Reps

Sales managers often fall into the trap of thinking that motivation has to be a one-size-fits-all proposition, but not all people are motivated by the same rewards. Some people are motivated to reach their goals by promises of a day off. Others want a bonus more than anything else. Feel free to offer different rewards to different sales reps. Use your one-on-one time with each sales rep to find out what is the most motivating to each person, and use that motivation to propel them toward greater achievement.

Consistency

With all you have to do in your sales management roles, it can be very difficult to maintain consistency. It's all too easy to let goals and training sessions fall by the wayside when your day-to-day tasks become overwhelming.

Remember that your daily to-do lists will be more manageable if you keep consistent schedules, habits, and meetings in place. Your sales reps will feel more relaxed and secure when you have established orderly systems for setting goals, returning and reporting, and training for sales presentations and new clients.

These sales management challenges can set you off course, but each challenge can be overcome. By paying special attention to the challenges you face the most often, you can help your sales team to reach its goals more easily. In addition, you will find much more satisfaction in your career as you turn your sales management weaknesses into strengths.

5 Traits of a Great Sales Manager

SalesForce Search specializes exclusively in sales recruiting across North America and serves small, medium and Fortune 500 companies. SalesForce Search helps companies find qualified sales people who will have an immediate impact on their sales targets.

How to Handle Sales Complaints

  
  
  

how to handle sales complaintsSales complaints are an inevitable part of any sales position. Understanding how to field complaints adroitly without losing potential sales (from the complainer or due to word of mouth) is an invaluable skill whether you're a front line sales agent or a manager overseeing an entire division. Anyone can be put on the spot by an unhappy customer or prospect--the best results come from having a team that can deal with that fact of life cleanly and effectively. In this article, we'll discuss the basics of handling sales complaints in a way that won't just neutralize a complaint, but win the unhappy party over.

Never Lose Your Composure

The number one thing to learn for fielding sales complaints--or during any other interaction with a customer, for that matter. Losing your composure can refer to the obvious error of losing your temper, of course. It can be tempting to get sarcastic or short with a prospect or customer who pushes the right buttons, but it reflects poorly on yourself and the company. However, getting flustered or retreating into blind apologies and excessive promises when you try to satisfy sales complaints causes just as much trouble.

The real thing to consider here is whether you've lost control of yourself and the situation. Losing your temper feels like a position of strength in the moment, but moving forward from an outburst you've given leverage to the prospect or customer. Even when sales complaints are legitimately based, you should always aim to control the discussion as you negotiate a solution.

Knowledge is Power

The more you know about the circumstances surrounding sales complaints, the easier it will be to remain composed and neutralize the complaint effectively. For example, having a strong working knowledge of the common sales complaints and solutions that other customers have used to overcome whatever problem they've encountered in the past is unmatched. More than that, a strong working knowledge of the product and the way customers use it will help you innovate and offer original solutions when necessary.

Understanding what you can about the individual customer's history with you, your company, and the product will help too. Sometimes, of course, you'll come to a dead end, but it will happen less often than if you 'wing it' on a regular basis.

When you knowledge isn't up to the task? Admit it, and promise to find a solution or direct the unsatisfied individual to someone more likely to have one. Just don't lie or deflect, that will bite twice as hard when it comes back on you.

Take Responsibility

When dealing with sales complaints, it can be difficult to tread the line between laying down and handing control over and accepting responsibility for the sales complaints, but accepting responsibility is absolutely necessary. If you don't, the customer or prospect will feel you aren't taking their sales complaints seriously and will take any solutions or conciliatory motions as empty noise. Don't be sarcastic; it isn't worth the satisfaction!

Lost Customers are Future Prospects

Never, ever burn a bridge. When all else fails, you at least want to leave the door open for an angry customer or prospect. Studies show that ex-customers are far more likely to buy from a company than a fresh prospect, though not as likely as current customers. The circumstances of their departure WILL matter when you approach them again in the future, so always keep the long view in dealing with sales complaints.

Final Thoughts...

There's a lot to keep in mind when dealing with sales complaints. Just remember that customer service matters in sales--even if you're definitely losing the customer, how you lose those matters. If a customer leaves angry, they're that much more likely to complain to their friends, coworkers, and the internet. Don't give them a reason to be upset! If you handle things right, you can get positive word of mouth from lost customers!

Find Sales Jobs

SalesForce Search specializes exclusively in sales recruiting across North America and serves small, medium and Fortune 500 companies. SalesForce Search helps companies find qualified sales people who will have an immediate impact on their sales targets.

The Pros and Cons of Hiring a Sales Agent vs a Sales Rep

  
  
  

the pros and cons of hiring a sales agent vs a sales repIf you're just starting up in sales or are looking to expand your existing sales force, you typically have two different ways to get more individual sales people out there representing your product to potential clients. The first way is through hiring a sales rep, an employee hired to sell your own products and services from within your company. The second alternative is through hiring a sales agent, an independent salesperson to whom you give authority to sell your products and services in a particular territory. Hiring a sales agent instead of an internal salesperson has distinct advantages and disadvantages and it is important you make the decision wisely, as different companies will be more suited to one form of sales person over the other.

Advantages of Hiring a Sales Agent Instead of Hiring a Sales Rep

  • Value for money for small businesses - Some small businesses will not have enough prospects to justify hiring a full-time sales representative on staff and hiring one could initially cost more than the profits they bring in. In this scenario, a sales agent representing your products and services part-time can have the same effect and bring in the same income without straining your payroll unnecessarily.
  • No hidden costs - Hiring an employee has costs beyond just their wage - the cost of giving them office space, equipment, travel costs as well as holidays, insurance and other benefits. A cost of hiring a sales agent is clear and obvious since there are no hidden costs - the agent sells for you but is in business for himself and the cost they incur while selling your products is their responsibility.
  • Pay for performance - Sales agents are typically paid for their performance through a commission-only wage structure, which means that you only pay out money if they actually make a sale. This means that hiring a sales agent can cost next to nothing to start with and the products they must sell first will cover all the money you’ll pay them.

Disadvantages of Hiring a Sales Agent Instead of Hiring a Sales Rep

  • Lower degree of control - Although they will be selling your products, a sales agent is independent, and you cannot control them in the same way you can one of your own employees. Their sales process will be their own, as will their style and their manner, and they are unlikely to sell according to the methods in which you train your in-house sales representatives, even if you offer them training. If you are selling relatively generic products this can be fine but if your sales process is particularly enhanced by the style and manner in which your sales people act you may lose something by using an independent sales agent, and in rare cases they could even compromise your reputation.
  • May sell other products - Hiring a sales agent may result in your products being sold by someone who also represents and sells goods and services produced by other companies in your area. If these other companies are running a promotion or increase their commission you might find that your own sales suffer due to a reduced focus from your agents, something that is completely out of your control.

Hiring a sales agent instead of hiring a sales rep can be a wise choice that saves you money and reduces the amount of management work you need to do. Before hiring a sales agent, you need to understand your own sales objectives and then work out if you can achieve these through a force of sales agents or if they can only be achieved by in-house employees. Typically, the main deciding factor is whether you are willing to give up some control of the sales process in return for lower costs - the more important control is to you the less advantageous it is to hire a sales agent.

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SalesForce Search specializes exclusively in sales recruiting across North America and serves small, medium and Fortune 500 companies. SalesForce Search helps companies find qualified sales people who will have an immediate impact on their sales targets.

3 Apps Sales Professionals Must Have

  
  
  

3 apps sales professionals must haveMost sales professionals today come equipped with a smartphone, tablet or both and should be using them effectively to help them increase their sales. There are plenty of apps that can help but with thousands available aimed at the busy professional, it can be hard to know which ones to use. The best apps will help your salesforce be more effective by saving them time and helping them stay organized and on top of all their information. It is recommended that you choose a standard set of apps for your company and get your whole team using them. When everyone uses the same apps, you'll be able to reduce training, allow data to be shared easier between sales professionals and reduce the number of technical issues. To help you choose which apps you recommend your team uses we've collected 3 of the best apps that sales professionals need.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) App

A CRM app is the most essential tool a salesperson can have. A great salesperson needs to keep track of a lot of information about their customer beyond just their names and addresses and forgetting one bit of crucial information can be the difference between making a great impression and losing a sale and damaging a relationship. There are several different CRM systems you could consider using with two of the most popular being Salesforce and 37 Signals. Any good CRM system should come with a fully functional app that can be used on a phone or tablet and using one of these CRM apps will enable your sales professionals to have all their data to hand. By not trying to store all their information in their own memory, they'll also have the added benefit of releasing some brainpower to focus on selling more of your products.

Evernote

With your sales professionals constantly traveling from one meeting to the next, it is essential they take excellent notes of what they've said to each client as they are unlikely to remember everything that has been said. Evernote can't be beaten as a tool for taking notes in meetings with team or with clients, trumping any system of handwritten paper notes by keeping everything you write safe in the cloud and easily searchable - your data will never be lost and your sales professionals will never waste time searching for a note or piece of information again. Those that still like to create notes by hand can use the Penultimate add-on app for Evernote, which integrates digital handwriting functionality. Instead of typing notes can be written and diagrams drawn by hand and saved into Evernote.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn remains one of the best ways for your sales professionals to communicate within their professional network. The status updates from business people and companies you are connected to can help you keep up-to-date with your clients and give you insight into how their businesses work. While data about what people are working on and whom they're working with can help you pinpoint the real decision makers within each company to avoid wasting time pitching to the wrong person. LinkedIn can also be used to reach out to new potential clients by searching for contacts in specific industries or locations.

These 3 apps are just a few of many excellent and useful apps your sales professionals could be using to make their lives easier. No matter how many apps or how much technology they use, your sales professionals must remember that ultimately it is their ability to understand their client's needs and provide them with solutions that will govern their success as a salesperson. While the technology is useful, it is still only a tool to be used and will never be more important than building excellent working relationships with customers.

Find Sales Jobs

SalesForce Search specializes exclusively in sales recruiting across North America and serves small, medium and Fortune 500 companies. SalesForce Search helps companies find qualified sales people who will have an immediate impact on their sales targets.

5 Powerful Tools for Every Sales Manager

  
  
  

5 powerful tools every sales manager needsThe best way to turn around a sales team is to get the sales manager headed in the right direction. Sales managers are in a position to have enormous influence over their sales reps, and when this influence is positive and motivating, great things can happen to a sales team. Unfortunately, it's all too easy for a sales manager to become overwhelmed with the busyness of day-to-day worries and distractions. When this happens, sales managers neglect their own professional development, and the work of their sales reps suffers.

By using the following five tools, however, sales managers can regain control of their own careers and, in so doing, propel their sales teams to new heights.

Tool #1: Leading Instead of Managing

This can be a tough paradigm. After all, you're called a sales manager, not a sales leader. If you can concentrate on finding ways to work alongside team members and motivate those using social formats, you'll find that they're much more inspired than when you rely too much on metrics and deadlines. "Managed" sales reps don't take as much ownership of their work as those who are led by leaders. They don't feel as if they have as much control either. Inspire your sales reps with your leadership, and help them to rise to new heights.

Tool #2: Hiring Skills

As a sales manager, you will be most effective if you have dynamite sales reps working for you, and the only way to hire the best is to develop effective hiring skills. When a sales manager can distinguish between mediocre sales reps and excellent sales reps, the overall team will perform better, have better morale, and have the ability to reach team goals. To improve your hiring skills, learn how to write excellent job postings, learn what to look for in resumes, and practice your interviewing skills.

Tool #3: Setting the Team's Pace

A proactive sales manager is much more effective than a reactive sales manager. What's the difference? A reactive sales manager is always playing defense, trying to put out fires and keep up with directives, new ideas, and problems within the sales team. A proactive manager follows regular standards and schedules, staying ahead of the crises that can beset the team. Real time tracking and instantaneous feedback are the best methods a sales manager can use to set the team's pace and monitor progress.

Tool #4: Coaching

A sales manager that coaches sales reps does more than just ensure good sales for the team. Coaching helps sales reps to develop their careers and gain confidence, and everyone benefits from such improvement. Schedule regular times to meet with sales reps to discuss their concerns and accomplishments, but don't limit coaching to these regularly scheduled meeting times. As problems or new situations arise, put on your coaching hat and use these times for teaching and mentoring.

Tool #5: Looking Ahead

An effective sales manager looks for little trends among the sales team before those little trends can become big problems. For instance, you may notice a slight decrease in sales. Many sales managers would shrug off the decrease as just a difficult week, but wise sales managers will immediately try to find out what's going on and fix the problem before one bad week turns into a couple of bad months. Always be looking ahead to what you can do to make next week a little better than this week.

By using these five powerful tools, you can improve your sales team's performance over the short term and also for the rest of your sales reps' careers. Remember to celebrate successes along the way as your use of these tools helps you to meet your goals and enjoy your work.

5 Traits of a Great Sales Manager

SalesForce Search specializes exclusively in sales recruiting across North America and serves small, medium and Fortune 500 companies. SalesForce Search helps companies find qualified sales people who will have an immediate impact on their sales targets.

5 Reasons Why You Should Use a Reputable Sales Recruiting Company

  
  
  

5 Reasons Why You Should Use a Reputable Sales Recruiting CompanyA great business with a great product won't get anywhere without a great sales team. As your business expands and you look to hire better sales talent you might want to consider working with a sales recruiting company to help you with your search for the best sales people. A sales recruiting company will publicize your job and advertise to help attract new quality talent to your firm, by allowing a sales recruiting company to weed out all the weaker candidates you can save time and money by only looking at a select few candidates who have already gone through a selection process. However handing over part of your recruitment process to another company means it is essential that you choose a reputable firm if you want to attract the best talent as poor sales recruiting company will cost you more in time and effort than recruiting yourself.

Reputable Firms Attract More Talent

A reputable recruiting company will have a good reputation not just with hiring companies but with people looking to be hired as well. This will bring in a broader range of talent than a smaller, less-reputable firm and means you are more likely to be presented with possible employees who will fit both the skill-set required and your company culture. The more people they have to choose from the more likely a sales recruiting company will be able to find talent that fits with your team; it is unlikely the perfect employee will be found if the pool of potentials is small.

Reputable Firms Attract Better Talent

The more reputable your sales recruiting company is the more likely that it will attract star performers to your jobs. Since star sales people are just as serious about finding the right company as you are about finding the right employee a reputable company is the best opportunity for being matched. If your recruitment company has a bad reputation you're going to be presented with a list of poor performers who may not even be serious about the job you are offering - the serious candidates will have applied for jobs from a better sales recruiting company.

Better Understanding Of Your Ideal Candidate

To present you with the best possible candidate for your sales role the sales recruiting company first needs to understand exactly what you're looking for. A reputable firm will work with you to narrow down exactly what your requirements are and then work hard to produce candidates that will meet those requirements. A less reputable firm is less likely to understand your needs and will instead try to produce candidates quickly, regardless of their suitability, with the hope of filling the position quickly.

Reputable Firms Will Have More Experience

Larger, better, sales recruiting companies will have a better understanding of the nuanced set of skills required to be a sales person. Many great sales people have vastly different styles and experiences and it requires a knowledgeable recruiter to understand whether they're a great sales person or just good. Since you want to hire the best there is no point outsourcing your recruitment process if the staff involved are not as skilled as people on your own team would be at picking out talent.

Reputation Is An Indicator Of Success

A sales recruiting company with a great reputation is likely to be a well-run business. This is vitally important since you can't afford for your recruitment company to go bankrupt part-way through the recruitment of key staff roles with your firm. It takes time to build a relationship with a sales recruiting company where they understand exactly what you are looking for and if you have to keep changing companies, you'll be costing yourself time and money - choosing to invest in a relationship with a firm who can help you in the long-term is the best choice.

The B2B Sales Essentials Assessment

SalesForce Search specializes exclusively in sales recruiting across North America and serves small, medium and Fortune 500 companies. SalesForce Search helps companies find qualified sales people who will have an immediate impact on their sales targets.

How to Prevent Recruiting the Wrong Sales Person

  
  
  

how to prevent recruiting the wrong sales personRecruiting the right sales person can be a challenging task for even the best of managers. Sales is equal parts art and science, and an excellent pedigree can turn out to mean nothing when you put a fresh recruit on the phone with prospects. Fortunately, there are key traits you can look for to help you spot the best candidates and filter out anyone wrong for the position. In this article, we'll tell you five ways to avoid recruiting the wrong sales person and pick up a truly excellent candidate.

Personality Traits to Look For

A few years ago, the study was conducted at Harvard, which analyzed thousands of top sales people to find the traits most associated with success in the business. It came up with seven personality traits that correlate strongly with success in sales--traits you want to keep an eye out for. Now, not every recruit needs to hit all of these, but if they hit none? They might be in the wrong business.

  • Humble. This might be a surprise, but the aggressive, arrogant sales person stereotype has little to do with what works in the real world. An overwhelming majority of top salespeople score high in humility and modesty. Humble salespeople work well with others and get the job done without letting their ego or desire to shine undermine the endeavor.
  • Conscientious. The best sales person is one with a strong sense of duty and responsibility. You don't want to hire someone who pushes the blame on others and doesn't take their job seriously--this may be the single most important trait to look for, as a conscientious sales person will make an effort to improve on their failings where another may not.
  • Achievement Oriented. An individual who measures their performance and maintains their focus when pursuing goals will always make for a better sales person than one who cares little for such self-analysis. An achievement-oriented sales person will find out what they need to know and who they need to talk to, and then efficiently work to accomplish those tasks with a zeal others lack.
  • Curious. Sales is an ever-changing art, and the best sales person is one with the intellectual curiosity to continue learning, continue innovating, and never, ever, fall behind their peers. Knowledge of products, customer problems, and unique approaches to the industry also make for superior salespeople, so curiosity benefits your team on multiple levels. A sales person without that drive to learn may start out well, but will quickly fall behind their curious peers.
  • Hard to Discourage. This is an obvious one; the best workers in any field are those who take their failures, learn from them, and push on. Failure is inevitable, so avoid recruits that crumble when that failure comes.
  • Not Self-Conscious. Sales people can't afford to be easily embarrassed or bashful. In fact, less than five percent of top sales people score as highly self-conscious--it's simply too great a hurdle to overcome, barring genius-level talent in other areas.
  • Not Overly Gregariousness. This might come as a surprise, but a sales person who is overly friendly can't establish the dominance they need to close deals reliably. That's not to say you want to hire jerks--rather, you want people who are not critically dependent on the friendship of strangers. A sales person who rolls over for every customer can't do his job effectively.

Trust Your Instincts

Don't get too caught up in 'ideal candidates'. Instincts aren't always a reliable tool in hiring, but a sales person is a different sort of hire. In essence, all job interviews are 'selling yourself'. Your instincts telling you to hire a plumber may not be useful, because selling isn't his job--but if your instincts tell you to 'buy' a sales person, then he or she can probably sell just as well to other people.

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SalesForce Search specializes exclusively in sales recruiting across North America and serves small, medium and Fortune 500 companies. SalesForce Search helps companies find qualified sales people who will have an immediate impact on their sales targets.

3 Sales Tips to Winning Back Lost Customers

  
  
  

3 sales tips to winning back lost customersFew things sting as much as lost customers. Whether you've been out marketed by a competitor, messed up a product, or simply lost your position on the customer's priority list, having a success become a failure can damage morale and the bottom line in a way other failures can't compare with. Fortunately, lost customers need not stay lost customers--instead, they represent a high-value opportunity, a set of very-well-vetted leads that you need only figure out a proper approach for. In this article, we'll offer you three sales tips for winning back lost customers, restoring your morale and pushing that bottom line back up.

Prioritize A Subset

The first sales tip we're going to discuss here is one of leads; not all lost customers are created equally. Studies have shown that you have the highest chance of making a sale to a current customer and the lowest chance when selling to a new prospect, with lost customers sitting between them--and covering a much, much wider range than either of the other two groups.

Within lost customers, there are subsets--those who left because they didn't think they needed your product, those who went with the competition, and those who left in spite of their needs because of some tangential problem, like customer service issues. You need to figure out which group you can target most easily--this will depend largely on what, if anything, has changed since you lost the customer.

Once you know who you can approach most successfully, you can sort your lost customer leads and work on the most likely to reward your time.

Accept Responsibility

Chances are your lost customers were lost for a reason. That reason may or may not be something you had control over (or even something reasonable at all), but when you're trying to win back customers you should take responsibility. This is actually build on the same foundation as countless other sales tips--individuals who assume responsibility for outcomes and strive to improve get better results, whether the outcome was really their fault or not.

If you acknowledge the fact that a problem existed in the past, and articulate the steps you intend to take or have taken to rectify that problem, you'll get the attention of your lost customers. Fail to do so and your ex-customer will have no reason to expect anything better than they received the last time they bought from you.

Personalize Your Approach

As with any sale, you want to personalize your approach towards lost customers. Mass mailers will have a far lower success rate, no matter how good your copy--you need an approach that says, "I know this was your problem, I think this is your solution, we would love to have YOU as a customer again" and feels genuine.

It's amazing how many customers drop companies not out of dissatisfaction with the product or service per se, but because they feel unimportant and unattended to. You only serve to reinforce that mindset if you don't take the time to personalize. The more personal, the better--if you can sit down, read up on your lost customers, and craft personalized approaches to each one, you'll see amazing results. If you only put a token effort in, you'll get a token response. It's that simple.

Find Sales Jobs

SalesForce Search specializes exclusively in sales recruiting across North America and serves small, medium and Fortune 500 companies. SalesForce Search helps companies find qualified sales people who will have an immediate impact on their sales targets.

How to Know if Sales Training is Necessary

  
  
  

how to know if sales training is necessaryRevamped sales training could be exactly what your program needs if you're seeing plateaued or weakened sales from your sales reps. When you hire sales reps, you often choose people for their record of great experience, so is it really necessary to provide them with additional sales training? In most cases, yes, and here's why.

Technology Moves Fast

If some or all of your sales reps are unfamiliar with the latest technology that affects your industry, you need sales training.

Focusing training on technology can help your organization to blend old school techniques with today's newest technology. Some of your sales reps probably automatically incorporate new technology into their presentations and methods of operation, but others need to be shown how today's technology can help them to be more productive. Also, clients and potential customers are impressed when sales people are knowledgeable about the latest and greatest technology that affects their industries. It makes your sales reps more trustworthy and valuable in their eyes.

Measurable Outcomes

If you don't have a simple way of measuring outcome, you need sales training.

Sales training isn't just for rookies; veterans need periodic training as well. And one of the reasons for instigating a training program is to develop a measurable outcome from which both the sales reps and the company can benefit. Consider what can be measured, and develop a training curriculum around those items. The following items can get you started as you think about measurable outcomes:

  • Total revenue
  • Total sales
  • New accounts
  • Number of appointments set
  • Number of leads generated
  • Number of mentor meetings witnessed

Follow Up Coaching

If you don't know how your past training has affected your sales reps, you need follow-up sales training.

When you take precious time out of your sales reps' days to train them, it's important to follow up and see how they're implementing what they learned into their day-to-day work. Too many sales reps learn a new skill in a classroom but then forget about it as soon as they get back out in the field. This is because of a lack of accountability by their managers. If you considered the training important enough to develop and present it, then it's important enough to periodically check in and measure their progress.

Peer feedback and accountability can be very important when it comes to follow up coaching. When sales reps are accountable to each other as well as to their managers, they benefit from the friendly competition you engender in your program, and they give each other valuable ideas gleaned from their experiences with clients.

By using sales training to help your sales reps keep up with changing technology, to discover and use measurable outcomes, and to follow up with past coaching, your organization will improve its sales and reach prospective customers like never before. Find out what kind of sales training is necessary for your reps, and provide it without delay.

Sales Management Worksheet

SalesForce Search specializes exclusively in sales recruiting across North America and serves small, medium and Fortune 500 companies. SalesForce Search helps companies find qualified sales people who will have an immediate impact on their sales targets.

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