There are many things you can do to improve your sales results, and nearly all of them conflict with the current fads and fashions. Doing the opposite of the prevailing advice will help you stand out and hit your targets and reach your goals.
Forget Efficiency and Focus on Effectiveness
If we described the focus of sales today, we could sum it up with a single word: efficiency. Like Mordor, Silicon Valley casts a dark shadow across sales organizations, driving them to use technology and transactional strategies to improve performance. To be efficient, salespeople must spend a small amount of effort to produce a specific result. In sales, most attempts to produce efficiency simply increase activity, most of which doesn’t lead to positive outcomes. Rather than increasing efficiency, most of these efforts result in waste.
You can improve your sales results by focusing on increasing your sales effectiveness. Looking at results rather than effort can help you improve your sales results while doing less and yielding more.
Lean Down Your Tech Stack
You need a CRM and a data source. These two technologies provide the minimal viable tech stack. If this is all you have, you have everything you need. If technology could improve your win rates, you would have reached your goals every time you added something new.
Technology is expensive, not only in terms of monetary cost, but also in terms of the amount of time the sales force spends using and maintaining it. Remove anything that isn’t essential. Technology will not cause a client to buy from you or your sales team.
Reduce the Amount of Coverage In Your Pipeline and Focus on Quality
The reason win rates are in decline has little to do with buyers wanting a “salesperson-free buying experience.” The reason win rates are so low is because sales leaders require their teams to have 300, 400, or even 800 percent of their goals in the pipeline. These sales leaders are planning for their teams to fail most of the time. For example, the sales leader who requires 300 percent of their goal in the pipeline is literally planning for their salespeople to lose two-thirds of their deals.
You are better off focusing on the quality of your deals and the sales effectiveness of your sales force, collectively and individually.
Stop Playing the Prospecting Numbers Game and Choose Your Targets
Every day, automated prospecting sequences spit out spam that stuffs people’s inboxes. These emails are irrelevant to most of the people who receive them, but the flood continues. The reason these bulk messages are ineffective is that they are going to anyone who seems to fit an "ideal customer profile,” which typically means anyone with a certain title or profile on LinkedIn. This spray-and-pray approach has been weaponized to be a spam bazooka.
Improving your results begins with carefully targeting your dream clients, meaning the companies you know would benefit from what you offer. A list of 60 dream clients in your strategic pipeline is enough from most sales reps to reach their goals, but even your standard pipeline will produce more wins than spray and pray.
Discard Your Legacy Approach and Adopt a Modern Sales Approach
It is easy to believe that the way you sold in the past will be as effective today. While some principles are still sound, the underlying strategies and tactics have lost their efficacy. Your legacy approach is like a 1970 Oldsmobile Cutlass, while the modern sales approach is more like a 2023 Tesla. Both are cars, but one may be much better than the other.
This sales transformation isn’t nearly as difficult as you might believe. You do it by replacing your sales methodology and training your team on new strategies and tactics that create value for your clients and eliminate your competitors.
Remove Transactional Strategies and Tactics
Because sales leaders and sales managers want deals, they promote transactional approaches. For example, a salesperson recently asked me if I could buy on Friday. In doing so, he projected that he needed the deal more than I needed his solution. Many of these strategies are self-oriented. They cause buyers to reject the salesperson and their self-centered attempt to win a deal.
There are alternatives to these tired, old strategies. You and your team will win more deals with a set of modern, other-oriented, and client-centric strategies and tactics.
Forget Velocity and Have Reps Spend More with Their Contacts
Trying to speed up the acquisition of a deal is a mistake because you can never go faster than your client. Depriving them of time and direction, risks a deal you might have won if you weren’t so desperate.
This idea may cause you heartburn. To increase your sales results, increase the time the salesperson spends with their contacts and stakeholders. The more time your client gives you, the better your chances. If you don’t capture client time in your CRM, start measuring the amount of time each salesperson spends sitting across from a decision-maker.
Spend Less Time on Internal Issues and Spend More Time with Your Reps
If you are a sales leader or a sales manager, get out from behind the CRM dashboard and spend more time with your sales reps in the office and the field. You must constantly evaluate who needs your time and how you can use it to reach your goals.
Dedicating more time and attention to your team will always produce better results. This may be one of the more difficult changes you pursue, depending on your existing time commitments and what you are responsible for inside your company.
Don’t Structure Your Sales Force Like a Tech Company
If you are not a tech company, there is little reason to copy their sales structures. Suppose you notice the tech giants use SDRs and BDRs, and pay less for the prospecting function. Because you are not a tech company, you might be better off with a structure built on consultative, full-cycle sales reps.
It is best to structure your sales force to reach your and create value for your clients. Do what is right, not what is popular.
Ways to Improve Your Sales Results
If you want to improve your sales results, go against the current fads and fashions, starting with increasing your effectiveness and giving up on the idea that technology will improve revenue. Stop playing a numbers game and increasing the coverage in your pipeline to ludicrous numbers. Remove your legacy approach and transactional strategies and tactics. Most of all, spend more time with your team.
These nine changes will result in better sales results.