How can I improve the performance of my sales team?

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To grow a business, you need to sell your products and services. Estée Lauder, founder of the cosmetics brand of the same name, said it best: “I have never worked a day in my life without selling. If I believe in something, I sell it, and I sell it hard.

Here are some tips on how to boost the performance of your sales team.

1. Hire the right salespeople
Finding the right talent is probably one of the biggest challenges for a business owner, but it is critically important because these are the people who will represent your business and your products. In addition, they need to meet targets to ensure future growth of the enterprise. Look for people who will add value to your business by being strongly customer focused, have a demonstrated ability to build relationships, have proven they can overcome obstacles and rejection, and are goal-driven.
Find people who love what they do, and who do their jobs with honesty, integrity, passion and pride. Ensure that they can believe in your product and how it can make your customers’ lives better,” says Bradley Taylor, managing director for South African jobs listing website PNet.

2. Document the sales process
The sales process is a set of repeatable steps or concrete actions that salespeople go through with every prospect in order to close the deal. It should detail how your business seeks and identifies prospects, how to initiate contact with them, how to run formal presentations and demonstrations of your product and, finally, how to achieve buy-in.

3. Segment your market
To drive sales your need to understand the market. This means building knowledge of the entire size of the market for your product or service at a specific time, usually measured either by sales value or sales volume. It’s an exercise that will inform you about where your clients and prospects are, what their needs and requirements are, and how much they have available to spend.
A deeper understanding of your market means you can also adjust your products and services to meet the needs of very different market segments. You can segment your market in several different ways, including demographics, geography, lifestyle, and behaviours, for example.
Market segmentation is critical. Each customer segment can be vastly different, which is why it makes business sense for the sales team to have a carefully designed internal segmentation system that is specific to its own users and products,” notes Oscar de Weijer, sales and business development executive at medical software company Healthbridge.

4. Measure performance
Sales team performance measurement is the only way to keep an eye on how well individuals are performing, and it is an important step towards getting better results – because you can’t manage what you can’t measure. Setting clear expectations for activity and performance gives the team goals to work towards.

5. Recognise and compensate top performers
Compensation is one of the most powerful tools for a sales manager. The right compensation plan can motivate salespeople not only to sell more, but also to generally perform in such a way that supports a business’s overall strategy. Current thinking advises rewarding star achievers for their performance across the entire sales process, in order to promote behaviours and activities that lead to closing – which is what every sales person is measured on – rather than focusing only on the sale itself.