6 Tips to Ace Sales Development Challenges in 2016!
Sales development departments are nowadays playing a vital role in our yearly growth plans and activities. Most of the companies nowadays are pushing both their inbound and outbound sales departments to close more deals and get more customers on board. No matter how normal it might look to an observer, starting an outbound sales development department and bringing it up to a fully operational revenue generating machine is not a piece of cake.
Every company every product every solution is unique in some ways. This uniqueness also shapes the sales development process for such a product. If your sales development team isn’t able to find new facts, new ways, new insights and new way of doing things or reaching out to a totally new kind of niche, this means your sales development process isn’t evolving. It’s totally stagnant and there is no learning process happening. There is no doubt about you closing a few deals but you for sure wouldn’t be able to scale your closings to a higher level.
Sales emails, and sales calls are the backbone of your revenue machine. They are vital activities of your sales development process and their combination changes from industry to industry. They are like the weapons of a sales warrior. But apart from weapons, we need to decide the battlefield, challenges and goals of our sales campaigns. If you’re in the middle of developing a sales department and you have brand new sales development reps or (SDRs) dialing the first number isn’t the end of it. This is just the start of a long, tiring and a promising process unique to your product and solution.
1. Your Language Should Resonate with the need of Prospects
Unique selling proposition can’t usually change unless you overhaul your product upside down or you come across a brand new purpose that your product can serve. But this is pretty rare to happen. What evolves in your USP is the way you are going to time your pitch and the way you are going to present it. If after first couple of conversations you spot the exact need and problem your prospect is facing, and you find your product to be a good solution, then it’s all about the way you are going to present your solution. The language you will use should resonate with the needs of your prospects.
2. Explore the industries
Don’t shy away from possibilities. Sometimes you have a clear indication of your sweet spot. But sometimes your product might have a very efficient use in certain industries and this is quite possible that you are unaware of it. That’s why try to explore every industry you feel like your product fits in and can solve vital issues there.
3. Break down your plan In to measurable
If you want your sales development activities to bring something solid, you need to take it more seriously and professionally. You can call prospects all day long but it’s better to break down your approach in to measurable activities and actions. You should have a proper plan or a schedule which your sales reps should follow. All the activities should be measured and you should come up with a team chart that shows daily progress of your team members like how many first time calls, how many follow up calls, how many emails sent, how many demos conducted or scheduled and so forth.
4. Quantity & Quality
It’s not about how many leads are there in your sales pipeline. It’s up to you if you want to consider every other person you talked to a possible lead or only those who actually agreed for a follow up call next week and look promising. A good sales pipeline is always the one with quality leads; leads on which you can predict your future earnings, your ROI along with your future goals that you have to set.
5. Rectify and upgrade
If you find a mistake in your processes, you should immediately rectify it. Let it be the way one of your reps is starting a call, the way your team is measuring a certain activity, or the way your SDRs are selecting the profiles to target, if there is a problem that needs to be taken care off, just do it. No process if perfect but we make it perfect by constant rectification. Think of starting your sales development department as a newly developed prototype of engine designed for a particular purpose. After the initial planning on drawing board, it takes time to build the first prototype that functions.
Now if you already have a decently functioning outbound sales department, you should stay at top of your game. If you find a better alternative for any particular activity that enables you to be more efficient and productive, go for it. Upgrade yourself. You cannot afford to be lazy if you are operating in a market full of competitors. If you are not going to upgrade your activities, processes and analytics, your competitors would most certainly and before you know it, you’re riding fast down south.
6. Being competitive is good
Have a competitive but friendly environment. Come up with titles like “Sales Star” of the week. Encourage and support your low performing sales reps. Performance based remuneration of any kind eliminates the negativity out of your competitive environment.
Remember that role of a sales rep is always critical to companies with non-generic products and solutions. It’s not just a monetary investment in your outbound sales department but also your time, attention and effort are also key ingredients. This engine usually starts slow but once it gets running, it can turn the tables of fortune for your startup or company.
To learn more about gearing up your sales development team, visit my company’s blog.