Sales Funnel Management: Close More Deals by Eliminating the Noise

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If you’re looking to move your prospects from possibility to purchase, it’s time to reexamine your sales funnel management. At the top of this metaphorical funnel are any people who could potentially buy. Then, as they move closer to being a client, they move down the funnel.

But how does this funnel really help the sales process? It works toward two advantages.

1. Planning Your Sales Steps

Figuring out where people are in this process helps you manage your sales steps. So, if a person is a new prospect, you know what to do. If they’re a returning customer, they’re at a different part of the funnel, and you need to take a different action step.

Related: A Sales Lead Management Process You Can Count On

See, too often people wait for the customer or prospect to tell them to go to the next step. It works better if you figure out how to get them to the next step. Don’t just wait for it to happen — make it happen.

Look at your pipeline and ask yourself, “What’s the next action I need to do?” Keep your action simple. It shouldn’t be conducting extensive research and geological surveys. It can be as easy as setting a reminder to call them tomorrow. Use your pipeline to be proactive, not reactive.

2. Balancing Your Sales Steps

Funnel management in sales also keeps you balanced. Try to spend time with prospects in each part of your funnel: the top, middle, and bottom. You should be continually prospecting, quoting, and closing. If you focus on these areas in phases, your pipeline goes dry. The key is doing all of your essential activities regularly. Maybe you start with phone calls (the top of the funnel) and schedule a lot of appointments. Well, don’t stop making those prospecting calls when you start going to appointments.

Balance every stage of the process. That way, you keep your sales steady. Otherwise, you work a few prospects through your pipeline only to realize you have no one left at the top of your funnel. Once your current deals close, you’ll have to start at square one, and it’ll be a while before you make another sale.

More Tips for Managing Your Sales Pipeline

Keep Sales Stages Simple

The way you move people through the pipeline should be easy. Know your next steps for each level. How can you get them from the top to the middle? When you have go-to sales steps, the answer is easy.

Related: How to Close More Deals by Mapping Your Sales Process

Limit Active Prospects

You only need to focus on a few sales-ready leads at a time. Now, you might have 500 prospects, but who are the sales-ready leads you can work through the pipeline? You can’t manage 500 records and move them to their next steps. It takes too much time. Instead, you need to be able to look at your sales-ready leads daily to figure out their next step. Then figure out who will fill their spot after they buy.

I used to be a sales trainer. Our first step was to look at pipeline reports. And so often, I’d see 100 people on their forecasting reports. They were proud of it. High numbers looked great on their report, but it wasn’t actionable, much less realistic. During our training, I’d ask them to get their prospect list down to seven people. Sure, they had more options than that, but they needed a smaller number to make it manageable. So they’d choose seven deals of various sizes to focus on, and they’d start closing them. It was way easier to close two out of seven deals than it was to close two out of 100.

De-Clutter Your Funnel

Most of the time, the pipeline ends up in an Excel file. Salespeople have reporting responsibilities, so they keep this file that they tweak and submit every Friday afternoon. But after a while, they become numb to it. They’re used to looking at the same data — after you’ve seen “oddball” on there for so long, it just stays. It’s natural, but not so effective for keeping the pipeline fresh.

If you want your team to get their funnel down to seven (or however many works for your industry), let them pick which prospects they want. Then they need to literally only focus on those potential customers until they close the deal or go back to another status. Delete the others from your file for now. They’re not your focus.

Your pipeline isn’t about how many prospects you can cram into it. It’s about what’s real. If you want to close deals, you want to eliminate as much noise as possible. The only people you should deal with are the ones you’re actively pushing through your pipeline.

A Complete Guide to Sales CRM Implementation

 

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You have a problem. And you need help. No, not as a person — with your CRM.

Here’s what you don’t want to do — try to set up your own CRM. It’s the first time you’re working with the system and it’s the only time you’ll ever need to do it. Instead, use a company that offers a CRM implementation plan. You want an expert in the CRM implementation process to do it for you and then provide the support you need as you learn the program.

Setting up a CRM is like tying your shoes. The first time you try, it takes a long time and you don’t do it right. But someone who’s been tying shoes for a while can do it quickly with a dang good knot!

So step one: find a CRM solution that supports you through the implementation process. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and frustration, and end up with a better result.

Essential Features of Your CRM

Beyond choosing a company that sets up your system, you need four essential features in your new CRM.

1. Easy Input

Prioritizing the features of your CRM is counter-intuitive. Rather than starting with the types of reports you want to generate, visualize how the data will regularly get in the system. How will salespeople enter the data? Once you have reliable data, you can have whatever report you want — no matter the program. Everyone has cool reporting tools and a good-looking dashboard. What they don’t have is usability and ease of use. And ease of use directly relates to adoptability. It doesn’t matter what reports you can generate if you don’t have the data for it.

So when you’re choosing a CRM, think about the daily life of the people who drive the data. How will they enter the information? If they can update info easily, you’ll be able to do anything you want with the data. However, if you think about what report you want first, you’ll have an awesome report with either no data or bad data. Great reporting is easy. Getting data is hard.

2. Sales Monitoring

When you’re managing salespeople, you need a way to monitor their activities that lead to sales (i.e. phone calls, appointments, drop-ins). Choose a CRM that lets you see these activities easily so you don’t have to dig for them.

When you can monitor these activities, you’ll be able to change your management process for the better. Rather than counseling salespeople through what they think they’re doing right or wrong, you’ll have the data to say, “This is how many activities you need to get the types of results you want.” Then monitor what they’re doing. How many phone calls do they make? How often do they have meetings? If their activity levels are there, the sales will be too.

3. Auto-Updating

You want a record of all the emails and phone calls between your clients and salespeople, right? But if it takes longer to manually update your CRM than it did to complete the task, you’re using the wrong CRM. You need a solution that integrates with your system to automatically update the CRM.

Without auto-updates, you lose record of those customer interactions. Let’s say the CRM integrates with email. Then, when you send an email to a client, the CRM automatically updates with that data. With manual input, it takes too long to enter it. People won’t send a quick email, log into the software, and update the file. So mundane tasks need to update automatically.

4. Works With Current Apps

No need to fix things that aren’t broken. If you’re happy with your calendar, you want to keep it. If you’re comfortable with your email, you want to keep using it. So find a CRM that integrates with what you’re already doing. There’s no need for the CRM to change the way you work if you’re satisfied. It can be overwhelming to learn extra programs. So find a CRM that fits with what you’re currently doing.

Now, if you’re looking for a new calendar or email system, it’s great to have a CRM that gives you an option, but it should be able to function either way.

Getting Buy-In From Company Leaders

A healthy business keeps all customer and prospect information in one spot. An unhealthy company doesn’t. Talk to an unhealthy company and ask about their sales process. They’ll say something like, “Oh, sure, we have outside sales reps and inside sales reps, but they take care of themselves. We don’t have reporting.” It’s great to leave professionals to work their strengths, but as a business leader, it’s not sustainable.

You want to run a business that makes your customers comfortable too. Let’s say you have a sales guy that’s been working for the company for 35 years. He knows everything, everyone loves him, and his sales are through the roof. In fact, he accounts for 30% of your total revenue. But he works his own system. His process isn’t broken, so why fix it? Well, if something happens to him, will you still be in business?

If your customers find out you’re not tracking your sales activities and recording customer data, they’ll start shopping for a new vendor. See, they don’t want to have to shop for a vendor at the last minute when you’re out of business. So they may start checking out their options now.

If your employees find out that you’re not tracking data, they might start looking for a new job too. If the person who represents the 30% of your top line revenue gets hit by a bus and he holds all the information on his phone, who knows if the company is sustainable after that?

No one ever got the best deal on something they needed today. But if they’re able to shop around for a while, they know they’re more likely to find what they’re looking for. And if your customers or employees fear a sudden end to your company because it isn’t healthy, they’ll start shopping now so they’re not left in a bind when those unhealthy practices catch up to you.

Transferring Data to a New CRM

When you’re ready to make the switch and transfer data to your new system, call on the help of your CRM supporter. Let a pro help you make the transition.

Also, go broad with your input. It’s better to get everything in the system at once and clean it up later than to only add the minimal.

So, if you have 1,000 contacts, but you think only 300 are good, don’t clean it up first. Add all 1,000 contacts, then clean it up in your new system. That helps in two ways:

1. It ensures all the data makes it to the new system. You won’t enter it later.

2. If you clean it up in the new system, you’ll learn how to use it.

How Long Does CRM Implementation Take?

With the right software, the CRM implementation process should only take a few days. But if you have the wrong CRM, it’ll take weeks.

You really only need to know a few things to get started with the right CRM:

1. Where to find the history with the customer

2. What steps to take next

3. How to enter the data

Then, when you leave a meeting, you can enter the data. The other details about the CRM will come with time and practice. There’s more to learn that’s helpful, but it’s not mission-critical.

The right CRM shouldn’t be hard to implement. It should come with an expert to guide you through the process, and your team should be able to enter and access their data more easily than they ever have before.

Avoid These 4 Costly Mistakes When Hiring a Sales Team

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It’s tough to find a good salesperson — especially if you’re selling commodities. And when you’re hiring sales teams, building an entire group of great salespeople seems impossible.

After all, it takes more than good commissions to make a top seller. You can’t just up someone’s pay in hopes they’ll transform into an awesome salesperson. So who are those rare jewels… and how can they start working for you?

Where to Find the Best Salespeople

When it’s time to hire sales associates, where do you start looking? In reality, the best salespeople are already employed. The best way to find a new salesperson is through referrals. Then you have to recruit them, deal with turnover, and try to keep them around.

Those better-than-average salespeople have two qualities.

1. They love to sell. They can’t get enough of the high after they close a deal, so they’re always looking for the next deal to chase. Plenty of people are good salespeople — they are the people that like to close and like chasing a sale. But the great ones love it.

2. They need to sell. The payout needs to be high enough to warrant the work that goes into closing a deal. If someone’s making enough money to be content without closing new deals, they probably won’t.

Top salespeople love and need to sell. Sales is different from account management. Great account managers are more common, but someone who can go into a business, figure out what they need, and follow through with a sale is a gem.

4 Big Mistakes in Your Sales Recruitment Strategy

Great salespeople may be rare, but they’re out there. When it’s time to hire your next salesperson, avoid these mistakes that could keep you from finding (or keeping) a top performer:

1. Hiring Too Quickly

Sometimes we’re so desperate for another salesperson, we rush the process. Instead, take time to find out more about a candidate and how they operate. Ask them about their other jobs and their lead process. Do they have a “No Client Left Behind” process? What do they do after they leave a meeting? What’s their system for follow-up? If they can’t tell you exactly what they do, that’s a red flag. Great salespeople have systems that result in closed deals.

People can busy themselves with 100 different activities that don’t equate to sales. Checking emails, filing papers, and researching software are all good organization practices, but they don’t lead to sales. So find out from the beginning if they know how to engage in activities that lead to sales, like meetings and phone calls.

2. Poor Compensation Structure

Structure your compensation in such a way that salespeople need to sell and are well-rewarded when they do. If you have a salesperson that loves to close deals, but makes plenty of money after a few big successes, their motivation takes a nosedive. So look at various pay structures to offer enough incentive to motivate your sellers.

Related: How Much Should You Really Compensate Your Salespeople?

3. Inadequate Training

Sometimes we either skimp on the training so people can get to the field, or we train so much on the product that we forget to train on the sales process. Make sure you train in the things that matter for closing deals — activity levels, how to qualify a prospect, and follow-up.

People need to know what types of work lead to sales and what to look for in a product. They also need to understand the real value of doing business with your company. What problem does the product solve? When they understand and believe in the narrative of how this solution changes things, sales happen.

They don’t need to know everything, but they definitely need enough info to identify the opportunities and solve business problems.

Related: How to Cut Your Sales Training in Half and Improve Retention

4. Lack of Accountability

We all need accountability. Even the best salespeople work more productively when they know they’ll have to answer for their schedule. So keep your team on target with their quotas. Monitor their activity and check in when the numbers are off. Some people ask their sales team to enter activities into a CRM at the end of the week, but it’s much easier to use an automated CRM like CallProof. Then your team just logs their activities with the push of a button. They’re incentivized to stay on track, and you see who’s really meeting their goals.

Hiring mistakes cost you revenue. They drain your time and distract from potential sales. So when you find the right person, don’t let them slip through the cracks. Do the prep work up front in your hiring, pay structure, training, and reporting to keep the best salespeople working for you.

4 Mobile CRM Advantages Your Sales Team Will Love

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Mobile phone use is no longer new or progressive. It’s expected.

99% of people old enough to work, own a cellphone. And 90% of those devices are smartphones. There are even more mobile devices in the world than people. So why not add an app to the device everyone has in their pocket?

If you’re not using a mobile CRM for your sales team, it’s time to start.

Keeps Your Sales Info in One Place

A mobile CRM keeps all your information in one spot. It doesn’t live anywhere else — you don’t have to upload from one system to another or worry about what information you stored where. With a mobile CRM, you know where everything is.

A Mobile CRM Boosts Confidence

Because you’ll use the CRM regularly on your phone, you’ll quickly become comfortable with it. You know the process and how it works. And the more confident you are in storing and accessing the data, the more confident you are in your delivery.

Related: How to Implement A CRM With Your Sales Team

Remember when you were scared to check your bank balance in college? You were poor, and you didn’t know how bad the numbers were. So what’d you do? Avoid it. The same happens with CRMs. If you’re not comfortable with the program, you may avoid it and skip follow-ups. But if you feel good about your CRM (and it’s helping you reach your goals), you’ll follow up.

Why Not?

As great as a CRM mobile option is, some people are hesitant to buy in. Why? Usually, it comes down to the decision maker’s needs and accountability.

Different people in the organization want different things from their CRM. Marketing and IT people want the reports and integration. Salespeople want a tool that’s easy to use. And whoever purchases the software decides which needs are most important.

Plus, a CRM mobile app is a newer concept, and some people don’t want to carry the responsibility of making a company-wide software change. It’s like my friend who was having trouble with IT equipment told me when I asked him why he didn’t change, “No one ever got fired for buying Cisco.” He knew other IT software worked better, but he was protecting his job. If a brand-name product had problems, blame wouldn’t fall on him. But if a lesser-known product messed up, he’d likely take the heat.

The Biggest Advantages of a Mobile CRM

But in reality, it’s not that big of a gamble. A mobile CRM like CallProof offers all the spreadsheet options marketing professionals love about traditional CRMs while increasing the reliability of your data and offering some great options for your sales reps. Here are its four greatest perks.

1. It Updates Data Immediately

The biggest advantage of a mobile CRM is the ability to update data as you go. You don’t put it off until later. Because you update the info right away, you won’t forget about it. After all, if you don’t have the data, you can’t get an accurate report.

Plus, you don’t miss the nuances. See, this is what usually happens: people write down their notes. Then, at the end of the day or week, they update the CRM. But they miss some things. When you wait, it’s easy to forget the details of the conversation. But if you update immediately, you keep the spirit of the message and still remember the details.

Related: Why Your Salespeople Hate Using Your CRM – And How to Change Their Minds

2. You Always Know Who’s Around You

A mobile CRM gives you the option to search by location no matter where you are. That means you can get real-time information on each business nearby. If you walk into a medical plaza, you can pull out your phone and see exactly who your customers and prospects are in the building. And if you have a GPS feature on your app, that’s even better.

3. Keeps Info Accessible

Once you see who’s nearby, you can pull up their full history. You’ll know exactly where you (or another salesperson on your team) left off and can pick up where the last conversation ended.

4. You Always Have Your Phone

A mobile device is the one thing you always carry with you. So you don’t have to think of another thing to bring to appointments. Having full access to your CRM is as simple as grabbing your phone.

Usually, you’ll use your mobile CRM immediately after an appointment. But there are some features even your customers will notice as a perk. We work with a lot of farmers. They love the speech-to-text feature (like I do) and the other hands-free options. Recently, I got a call from the VP at a farm equipment company. When I asked how he heard about us, he said, “Well, we were having a contest at an Ag show. As people entered, it took a while to get their answers to our questions and enter their contact information. Then this guy comes up to me and asks, Why don’t you have what my seed guy has?! He just hollers into the phone, and my seed shows up!’ When I talked to his seed guy, he told me about CallProof.”

Turns out, the seed guy used order forms on his mobile CRM. And not only did it make his life easier, it made the process better for his customers too.

A mobile CRM works better for everyone — it gives the salespeople an easy-to-use app where they can enter data in real time. And it gives the marketing and IT department information they can count on. Even the customers notice a difference in your efficiency. So, if you’re not taking full advantage of the device everyone already has, give us a call and see how CallProof can work for you.

How Much Should You Really Compensate Your Salespeople?

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We all need motivation to do our best work – and money is a great source of motivation.

But the structure of salesperson commissions can only matter as much as the actual amount. We aim for salespeople compensations to reward for big sales, give opportunity for growth, and keep people motivated to sell even more. Here’s how we do it.

Foster the Mini-Business Mindset

Good salespeople have spirit. When they use that spirit to operate their sales like their own mini-business, they’re successful. Start by making them financially literate about the business so they understand how and why they’re paid. That doesn’t mean you have to divulge all the company’s financial information to them. Instead, explain how the company gets paid. Does the company earn recurring revenue from a sale, or is all payment up front? Then structure their pay similarly. If it’s a one-off sale, they’ll get paid once. If it’s recurring revenue, they’ll earn a recurring commission.

When salespeople understand how the company makes money, they’ll mimic that in their sales approach. Plus, they’ll learn that what’s good for the company is good for them. The more ownership they take in growing their own “business”, the better they become at their job. They’ll foster a consultative relationship with their customers, doing whatever it takes to keep that customer satisfied and offering additional products and services that meet their needs. In turn, they understand the business on a deeper level, which makes them an even better salesperson.

But, if they don’t get paid the same way as the company, mistrust starts to grow. If you get paid recurring revenue, but the salesperson doesn’t, they feel cheated. They start to distrust leadership. And they stop treating their job like a business.

The Average Commission for Salespeople

Since salespeople want opportunities to grow their business and income, try to match commission structures to how the company is paid. As a rule of thumb, the average commission is one sixth of what the company makes. So, with every sale, the company makes six times what the salesperson is paid.

The 3 Phases of Sales & How to Separate Them

Should you offer more commission for a new sale or a retention? If you offer more for a new sale, will your retention levels drop? How you weigh salespeople compensation depends on the business. But separating types of sales strengthens your business and better equips your team.

Think of sales as three phases: hunting, farming, and account management. We want to separate those roles as much as possible so people can focus on the area in which they’re most skilled.

Hunting

Hunters are the people who go out and find new sales. They find prospects and qualify them — and they’re good at it. If you have someone who finds new opportunities, keep them hunting. You want them capitalizing on their strength of bringing you new customers.

Farming

Once a prospect becomes active, you move them to the farming category. This is the nurturing and cultivating stage. It is where you want the salespeople who can close a deal. Farmers are people in front of customers, moving deals through the pipeline.

Account Management

These are the people who keep the client happy. They provide customer service to the client, answering their questions or coordinating repairs. Maybe this is your technology person who can keep things running smoothly. Sometimes the best technology or service people aren’t great salespeople. It’s just a different personality type.

The more separate you keep these roles, the better. But also, remember to move clients between categories. You don’t want a salesperson servicing the copier, but they can still coordinate the relationship between the client and the service technician. And, when the client is up for renewal, it’s the farmer’s turn to deal with them again.

Capping Commissions

When you have a cap on a salesperson’s commission, you’ll stop making money off of them. And it’s an easy way to make your sales team unhappy. Find a solution where, if they make a million dollars, you make six million – then it’s worth it for everyone.

The exception comes when the salesperson no longer services an account. Let’s say someone just gets paid on monthly recurring revenue from something they sold but no longer manage. In those situations, limit the timeframe on the payout or scale down the commission over time. Maybe the first year they earn 5%, the second year they earn 2%, and then the third year they earn nothing. Why? Because if a salesperson always gets a piece of the pie, they’ll stop hunting. They won’t look for new prospects because they won’t need to.

Bottom line: make your sales commission structure clear to your salespeople. Make sure they know what it’ll take to succeed and that sales are worth their time. After all, when your sales team does well, your company does well too.

4 Ways to Increase Adoption of Your Sales CRM

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The biggest problem with your CRM is that salespeople aren’t using it. And without salespeople on board, a CRM isn’t much help.

If you’re ready to get the most from your CRM, here’s how to get your team on board.

1. Input Data in the System

Without data, a CRM is useless. So, at CallProof, we launch our CRM with data already entered.

We start by interviewing the management. We ask, “If I started working with you today, how many prospects should I have in my database?” If a sales rep doesn’t have prospects, that’s their number one excuse for not using a CRM and for their consequent low activity. We want to eliminate all the objections to using the system. So, once we know how many prospects a salesperson needs when they start, we enter data for them.

We first collect their current prospects’ and clients’ information and enter it into the system. Then we find more prospects from a variety of lead sources. This way, your salespeople start off with a full database of their current contacts, plus new prospects they can reach with the push of a button.

Data is key. That’s why we load the initial data for you.

2. Establish Norms

Once you have the data, establish a process for using the CRM. Every sales team has their own sales opportunity file system or “steps of selling” process. So make sure your team understands classifications of clients and selling sequences. Clarify when a new prospect goes into the CRM — when you first get their information or after you’ve made contact?

Then create norms for classification. How should you identify customers? Do you distinguish between a pharmaceutical lead and a doctor lead? Know how you plan to sort clients. Are certain lead sources classified differently — like trade show leads? When you create a way to see where customers come from, you’ll understand which of your resources work best.

A clear process for sorting clients and understanding the onboarding process is critical. So make time for a management meeting that includes key salespeople to evaluate your process before you train the entire team. First, you have to build the plan. Then you can use the CRM to deploy it.

3. Teach the Process

After you’ve established your methods, we make the CRM work for you. We’ll teach you how it functions best for your company. Via training calls, we show you what the screen looks like when you’re adding a client, what to do when you’re done with a client, how to order notes, and how to sync the emails. We’ll use the app screen and web portal so the team becomes familiar with each CallProof interface.

4. Provide Ongoing Training and Support

We also record each training call so future salespeople have access to the same information. When new sales reps join your team, you’ll be able to onboard them right away with access to the pre-recorded training. We even use a company called Thinkific to host our content and provide a quiz at the end of each video. Why? Quizzes help people focus on the training material. Without them, they aren’t as engaged. So we help you hold your team accountable.

With intentional data and training, we make adopting CallProof an easy transition for your business. CRMs don’t have to be a struggle for your sales team. When a CRM really works for you, adopting it is easy.

Are You Unintentionally Killing Your Sales Team’s Motivation?

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How many iconic inspiration posters have you seen? You know, the ones with landscape photography and some quote that’s supposed to change your life.

Sales managers: you are that poster.

Your most critical role is to motivate your sales team. Sure, it can be tough, but if you’re not lifting people up and removing obstacles from the salesperson’s path, you’re not doing your job.

Sales managers exist to manage resources (leads, time, people) in a way that secures the most sales. And motivating your team is one of the most vital ways you can manage your human resources.

But do you have any habits working against you? These 5 motivation killers may be taking your sales team’s drive.

Motivation Killer #1: Poor Timing

Bad things happen. Products defect, recalls are issued, delays happen. Of course you need to keep your sales team in the loop, but time your delivery right.

If you plan a morning sales meeting centered on the bad news, you’ve jeopardized motivation for the entire day. Instead, make morning conversations all about motivation. Start the day with sunshine and rainbows where everyone’s a winner.

Save bad news for the end of the day. If there’s a defect on a product or a tough conversation that needs to happen with a sales rep, wait until the sales day is over to deal with it. There’s no need to sacrifice a whole day of sales for bad news.

Motivation Killer #2: No Leader Board

Let’s say one of your salespeople closes a big deal. But when they come back to the office with their big win, they don’t get much appreciation. Sure, they may get compensated, but you shouldn’t underestimate the value of recognition.

When your salespeople close deals, then high-fives, celebrations, email accolades, conference call shout-outs, and leader board postings give them a sugar fix. And what happens when you get a sugar fix? You want another one. If you want to keep people hustling, you should keep handing out the recognition.

I can always tell top-selling companies based on their leader boards. If there’s no sales board, they aren’t fully recognizing good performances. Likely, their team is lackluster. But a leader board that is updated daily, where everyone can see it, keeps salespeople talking about the wins and motivated to climb the chart.

Related: 61 of the Best Sales Quotes To Keep You Motivated

Motivation Killer #3: Negative Influence

We’ve all met Negative Nancy or Negative Ned — that person who’s always bringing down the mood. When they get a lead, they immediately write it off saying, “They never buy anything,” or “This won’t ever close.” That kind of language asks for negative results. As these people spout off their negativity, it will probably lead to a more negative culture overall. These are the same types of people who underperform, mess something up, and then blame it on someone else.

You want the opposite type of person working for you. You want people who admit their mistakes and learn from them. Those people make comments like, “Whoa. I really messed up that sale. I answered his objection wrong, and I think it cost me the deal. I know better for next time.” And when people admit mistakes to the group, others learn from it too. Working in a collaborative environment results in high productivity. Sales teams in non-collaborative environments will never reach their potential.

Motivation Killer #4: Giant Lunch

What you eat is what you produce. Sure, it’s fun to go out for good food and good company. But plan accordingly. If you want your team to be productive afterwards, then choose wisely. Carb-filled, greasy, heavy food ruins the rest of the afternoon. If you want to splurge on this type of meal, save it for the right time — maybe a Friday afternoon when you don’t intend for them to make many calls after the meal. Otherwise, opt for healthy food that won’t weigh down your team.

Motivation Killer #5: Unobtainable Sales Goals

Every salesperson needs a baseline for sales numbers. If you’re new to an industry, set your goals wisely. Managers of smaller sales teams might pick one of their sales reps and ask others to replicate their performance. But how does that sales rep compare to the norm?

Maybe they’re a terrible salesperson but you have no one to compare them to. If so, you’ve created a false ceiling for someone new.

Or maybe they’re in the top 1% and the goal isn’t realistic for the average salesperson. Once someone realizes they can’t possibly meet the goal, their motivation goes out the window.

Instead, incentivize activity. If you don’t have real sales statistics to work with, then focus on the quality of calls and activities. Instead of incentivizing them on closes, incentivize them on the number of appointments made, and then deal with closing percentages. Once you discover achievable closing percentages, you can establish realistic sales goals.

If you’re accidentally making one of these mistakes, it’s time to change. After all (to quote one of those motivation posters), “Every accomplishment begins with the decision to try.”

Conference Calls Are Killing Your Sales Team – Use This Free App Instead

marco polo sales team communication

Ever feel like the phone is broken when you’re communicating with your sales team? You talk, but the words just aren’t getting through — especially during conference calls.

Conference Calls Are the Worst

Everyone hates conference calls, but why? To have a “successful” call, we have to stop what we’re doing. None of us can be busy during the time we talk. Now, multiply that by the number of people on a conference call. Each person has to stop the clock, engage in the conversation, and eliminate distractions. That’s highly unlikely — especially if it’s just to hear everyone’s weekly updates.

During a typical conference call, everyone’s distracted. Because they only have to pay attention to the audio, they can continue multitasking during the call. So you’ll pick up the background noise of each person’s location. Some people may be taking their kids to school. Others are grabbing their breakfast at a restaurant before work. By the time an entire group dials in, you can expect plenty of audio distractions.

Plus, there’s no good way to take turns talking. So you’ll deal with the awkward interruptions people experience as they reply at the same time.

Even dialing in can be an obstacle. You dial the 800 number, but then you have to enter the access code. If you’re driving, then trying to find the email, copy the access code, and type it in is extremely difficult (and impairs your driving!). Then, once you’re in the call, the audio can malfunction or someone dials in late and needs a full recap.

Bottom line: conference calls are too hard to focus on. Even the best conference calls are a poor substitute for a face-to-face interaction when everyone’s engaged.

Why Use the Marco Polo App

Marco Polo takes the age-old idea of the phone call and makes it better. Whether you’re calling a group or an individual, you get to respond face to face on your schedule, and avoid all that wasted time. Here are a few of the perks.

1. Works With Everyone’s Schedule

Instead of being stuck in a conference call, Marco Polo frees you up to enter the conversation on your timetable. So, rather than setting an alarm to dial in and going through inevitable hassle and distraction, you get the message and reply anytime.

It’s also a great alternative to individual calls. Phone calls trap us in endless loops of voicemail and call-backs. If I need to advise someone on my team, I can call, but often people can’t pick up. I leave a message, they try to return the call, I’m busy. And so the cycle begins. We end up playing phone tag until the message becomes more cumbersome than helpful.

But with Marco Polo, I plan what I’m going to say, then I say it to the person via video. They respond when ready. And if one of us forgets to respond, that app reminds us intermittently.

Related: Sales Managers: How To Get Over Micromanaging Your Salespeople

2. Offers the Insight of Face-to-Face Communication

True communication consists of more than words. As we interact face to face, we benefit from non-verbal cues. People can neutralize their voices to mask emotions, but it’s much more difficult to disguise facial expressions. If I have a conversation with an under-performing salesperson via video, I’m more likely to understand what’s going on than if we’d only talked on the phone. Audio simply doesn’t tell the whole story.

3. Reduces Wasted Time

People need time to think. When we don’t have to respond immediately, we form more developed ideas. In a conference call, there’s a pressure to reply right away. However, if you present a problem via Marco Polo, I can think through solutions and respond with more valuable input.

Video also encourages people to get to the point. Most people don’t want to send a video of themselves thinking and stalling for the right words. It makes them self-conscious. So they come to the conversation with their thoughts prepared and save everyone’s time in the process.

4. Motivates Your Team

As a sales manager, you should spend about 80% of your day motivating people. Your job is to remind your team of the obvious. Remind them what to focus on and praise them when they do a great job. Marco Polo gives you the opportunity to publicly praise them face to face.

When I look at sales data, I jump on my app and send a quick video saying, “Great job!” to my team. Then I name the people who really stood out in their sales. When I send this out to the team, the top performers feel great, while the people who weren’t named are usually motivated to win recognition the next day.

A lot of sales organizations send out emails to report their wins, but so much is lost in email. A video communicates much more.

How Do I Use Marco Polo?

1. Create a group with each member of your sales team.

Marco Polo identifies people by phone number. So just enter the numbers of salespeople to create your sales team group.

2. Check in with the team via the app.

Instead of a Monday morning conference, click on your Marco Polo app, get on the group, tap on the group, and say, “Good morning team! Looking forward to seeing your game plan today. Reply with your goals for the week!”

You can also use this to communicate other items on the sales meeting agenda, such as company updates or upcoming opportunities.

3. The team gets a message notification and replies.

Each person will get a notification when new messages come in. After they listen, they can make their own recording.

You’ll get replies like, “I’m ready to crush it today! I’ve got three appointments today and four more this week. I expect to close the Johnson deal by Thursday at 4:00.”

Related: 4 Simple Strategies for Becoming a Better Sales Manager

4. Listen when ready.

Just like that, you end up with a face-to-face report from each salesperson you can listen to right away, or when it’s convenient!

What About Reprimanding?

A good manager praises in public and reprimands in private.

With these recorded updates come extra levels of accountability. If someone isn’t meeting their numbers and closing expected deals, go back and listen to their reports. Then talk to those salespeople one on one. Marco Polo backs you up and directs your conversation. Maybe you say, “In your Monday report last week, you said you would close the Johnson deal on Thursday at 4:00. Why didn’t that happen?” You can even play back their report to fact-check.

Meanwhile, Marco Polo also gives you another way to praise your highest achievers. Give top salespeople kudos in the group thread. You want everyone to know they’re a rock star!

Why Does Marco Polo Work?

Give the app a try, and you’ll be hooked. Why? It’s a “time-shifting” app for meetings.

Meetings and conference calls force everyone to be on the boss’s schedule. Everyone stops what they’re doing to be in a meeting they don’t want to be in. Even your best sales meeting ideas keep people in the office when they want to be out selling. But with Marco Polo, you time-shift your agenda. You change the clock so meetings are convenient for the manager and the team.

But you don’t sacrifice the face-to-face benefit and can still set a schedule of expectations throughout the day. Set timelines for the meeting (maybe 8-4 on Monday) and set deadlines for status updates. Then the reps chime in anytime, and you listen when you’re ready.

Plus, if you want to emphasize something, use the text feature. You can easily overlay text on videos or pictures. Sometimes I’ll just type Goals? to remind everyone to send me an update.

Sure, traditional sales meetings and conference calls have their perks, but Marco Polo utilizes the best aspects of each.

marco polo app sales teams

On the surface, this app looks like an easy way to chat with family and friends. But it can also transform your business. You’ll be able to establish a higher level of accountability while giving everyone a little more flexibility in their schedule. Marco Polo frees up your salespeople to sell… while keeping you in the loop.

4 Simple Strategies for Becoming a Better Sales Manager

becoming a better sales manager

No one likes having a manager. People like being a manager – keeping control, checking on everyone – but very few people would choose to be managed.

In sales, we think of managers as the bosses who make sure everyone else is doing their job. They monitor the team, hold others accountable, and deal with problems. But the best managers never need to check in. Why? Because they know what happens in the field without having to ask. They follow the activity of their sales team.

Strong, active salespeople leave a trail of sales and activity in their wake. Sloppy salespeople leave a mess behind them. Either way, a manager knows what’s happened based on CRM data re: calls and appointments.

If the manager ever has to ask a salesperson what they are doing, it means they aren’t doing anything. It’s like they’re sitting in a boat in the water without going anywhere – there’s no wake, no ripples, no activity.

So, if managers already know what’s happening, then their job needs to make a shift. It’s time to stop managing and start directing.

Change Your Title

A sales director benefits the organization much more than a sales manager. These words have the power to produce very different results.

Manager implies “boss”, while director implies “guide.”

Rather than manage, supervise, and evaluate, a director coaches and cues individuals to help them become more successful. Sales directors deploy their resources strategically to get the best results.

Cue Your Team

Most people need direction. Consider movie directors. They give direction to each actor and stagehand so that everyone knows the plan and understands when to do their part. Similarly, in orchestras, directors keep everyone on the same sheet of music and cue players at the right time.

A sales director does the same thing. They give direction to their team to produce the best product. Jack Daly illustrates this in the way he teaches about objections. He knows the best salespeople answer objections the exact same way every time. So he equips his team with successful responses to each main objection. Then they hear objections as a cue for their pre-planned response. Consequently, they overcome those objections more often than not.

Strategize to Reach Potential

Directors also empower their teams in a way that’s best for the organization. They figure out the strategies for working with different businesses. Then they put in the right reps at the right time to close sales. Directors come up with a plan, and then coach their team in how to execute it.

Foster a Coaching Relationship

A sales director also fosters better relationships with the team. When you change the title, you change the team’s perspective of the role. Directors act as more of a coach than a boss. Most people in sales are independent – and sales allows freedom. They want to be their own boss, not feel like someone is measuring their every move. When you act like a director, they’re more likely to see you as someone they can turn to for guidance.

With the mentality of director comes a proactive approach to working with salespeople, as opposed to a reactive management approach that only steps in when there’s a problem. So, if you’ve been spending your time managing a sales team, it’s time to change. Become their director so you can lead both your team and your organization to greater success.

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The #1 Reasons CRMs Fail

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You can almost feel the collective shudder when you mention the words “new CRM” to salespeople. The last thing a salesperson needs is another thing to do! And adding a new CRM often feels like just one more responsibility.

Most people hate trying new CRMs (for good reason) because it gives them another task to think about but doesn’t generate profit. What they don’t realize, is that CallProof isn’t just another CRM. It’s a tool that eliminates some of their responsibilities, letting them focus on what they do best — sell!

Salesperson Buy-In

Managers — it’s time to start selling again. If you want a CRM to work, your salespeople need to use it. So sell it to them.

As you prep your team for CallProof, remember they’ve been through new CRMs before. Most (if not all) have created more work, making their jobs tougher. CallProof simplifies. It generates the reports so your salespeople don’t have to.

Here are three reasons why your salespeople will love CallProof and why it’s worth the learning curve:

1. It gives them more time to sell.

Those reports salespeople hate filing — CallProof takes care of them. Each call and appointment are filed by client and time. Then, when your salespeople need to see a client’s history, it’s at their fingertips. Now they don’t have to waste time filing reports. Instead, they can spend that time meeting new prospects and working with clients.

2. It streamlines their day.

Interrupting sales time to take notes and fill out spreadsheets diverts your salespeople’s attention. Toggling between “sales mode” and “report mode” disrupts their focus and makes them less productive. CallProof works alongside your sales team — automatically logging their appointments and calls. Also, they can voice-record notes on-the-go without ever having to sit down to document.

3. It communicates with you, the manager.

With automated reporting, as a manager you know what’s happening in real time. That eliminates the need for some of your salespeople’s check-ins, freeing them to focus on their daily sales. Then, if you see an area where you can help, you have the info you need to get the right tools in their hands.

Spend time explaining these perks to your sales team. Sure, learning a new process is a little painful in the beginning, but they’ll see a difference quickly. With this CRM, they can sell like they always do. The only thing that changes is that more tasks are automated so they can sell more.

If your salespeople don’t buy in, the CRM won’t work. But with a little time educating them about how much better their jobs will be with CallProof, you can have great reports, they can focus more on selling, and you all can reap the benefits.

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