Stagnating sales. Even seeing those two words written next to each other is painful but, when you’re a manager having to tell them to a salesperson or you’re a sales person having to hear your manager voice them out loud, it’s even worse.
There are key misconceptions over the reasons why sales can stagnate and in this article, we’re about to cover some of the most critical and commonly overlooked reasons to find yourself in a state of sales stagnation.
For examples, it’s all too easy to start blaming a seasonal downturn, not enough price discounts being offered or some kind of issue with strategy. By understanding where the problem truly lies you can both get out of the rut and ensure you don’t find yourself there again in the future.
Put Action before Strategy
This is the key component stagnating sales in a nutshell. As above, too many people start focusing on the wrong thing without first considering whether or not the salesperson in question is lacking action. If you’re running your sales force effectively, you’re probably measuring statistics such as call times, number of calls made, appointments booked and sales closed. These action points are where you should start.
Usually, the latter metric is the result witnessed after plenty of the first three. You’d be amazed at how often your stagnating sales are a direct result from a dip in action in any one (or possibly all) of these. On the other hand, if action is very high, then you know immediately and without question that it’s simply further training that’s needed for the dipping salesperson.
Correlating Periods of Action with Your Sales Cycle
The length of the sales cycle varies from company to company. While some cycles can be as little as a few weeks, others can be up to 3 months or even 18 months between the lead being received and when it’s successfully closed.
Likewise, the sales cycles of some companies are more obvious than others and understanding your own cycle is an important piece of the puzzle. When you’re looking at a dip in results, correlate it with the action taken at the appropriate time in your funnel.
Likewise, if your sales are going well right now, it’s worth keeping track for periods up to 18 months ago (or whatever the length your sales cycle is) to ensure solid sales figures will continue to flow in the future. Avoid the stale stages before they happen.
Holding the Sales Manager Accountable
Remember, it’s not just the sales team who must be tracked and held accountable for their sales action, it’s the sales manager, too. The sales manager’s role can include anything from monitoring sales funnels, keeping track of ready-to-close deals and, of course, the action taken by the salespeople.
All of this tracking can take some time but, provided it’s done accurately it’s an invaluable investment that pays significant dividends. Without knowing exactly where you, your sales manager and your sales team are, you’re infinitely less likely to get where you want to be. This is why CallProof is such a powerful tool in your target-smashing arsenal.