Many sales leaders believe that they will achieve their sales goals by increasing the number of new opportunities their sales team creates. The reason they demand more opportunities is because they know their sales reps will lose deals. However, demanding more coverage in the pipeline is a sign that the sales force has a low average win rate.
It doesn’t make sense to create more opportunities because you plan to lose most of them. This practice ensures an even lower average win rate because it does not address the true problem, which is sales effectiveness. You do not make your numbers simply by having more opportunities. You make your numbers by winning deals.
If you have trouble winning deals because your team isn’t effective, how would having more deals help you? When sales leaders believe that sales is a numbers game that can be won by pursuing more prospects, they get punished.
Sales is a game of effectiveness, which explains why your top two salespeople generate more revenue than their peers. Wouldn’t you want to replicate the success of your best salespeople?
We use a salesperson’s average win rate as a proxy for their sales effectiveness. You can also determine the entire sales force’s effectiveness by using the average win rate. Because winning is the key to success in sales, sales effectiveness should be your most important priority.
The longer you go without improving your sales effectiveness, the harder it will be for you to succeed as a sales leader or sales manager.
Many sales managers are anxious that their team won’t reach their goals. They worry about their team’s ability to create opportunities when they should worry about winning opportunities.
Each quarter starts another race to win the deals the sales manager needs to succeed. The way to stop being anxious about reaching their goals is to build their team’s effectiveness. The greater their effectiveness, the easier your job as a sales leader. The lower your team’s effectiveness, the harder it is to achieve your sales goals.
The First Change for Effectiveness
To improve your sales forces’ effectiveness, you first need to replace your outdated legacy approach to sales with a modern sales approach. Buyers complain about the legacy sales experience, which wastes their time. No decision maker wants to listen to a salesperson talk about their company, their clients, and their products and solutions.
There are new B2B sales methodologies and strategies that create value for the client in the sales conversation, improve the sales experience, and increase win rates. For a lot of sales forces, making this change is enough to improve their sales effectiveness and increase the percentage of deals they win. This change alone removes a giant obstacle to success.
The Second Change for Effectiveness
Training is the second change that can increase a team’s sales effectiveness. With so many salespeople working from home, few organizations have sales floors. This means salespeople cannot listen to one another. Young salespeople in particular suffer from this because they lack a model that can help them understand how to improve their results. If younger salespeople are unable to sit beside their successful, experienced colleagues and learn through osmosis, they will need more sales training and development to improve their sales effectiveness.
Training your sales force should not be a major source of concern because it should be relatively easy to implement on a regular basis. For example, in one of our programs, we have sales forces go through a 25-minute course focused on a particular strategy or technique and require them to practice the skill over the next two weeks. This provides them a chance to work on the competency, before moving on to the next course. During sales training, salespeople are put into cohorts led by sales managers. This allows the leader to guide them through an explanation of what worked and what didn’t. They can also share talk tracks and good language choices.
The Third Change for Sales Effectiveness
On surveys, salespeople say they want more one-to-one coaching, which leads us to the third change to improve sales effectiveness. Sales managers complain they are overwhelmed and cannot make time to coach their salespeople. However, coaching their team can help managers to get back their time because it can improve the sales team’s win rate, which makes the sales manager’s job easier.
Not every salesperson needs the same help to improve their results, so individual coaching can be targeted. Coaching allows you to help each salesperson explore new strategies that might improve their results in a safe environment. By leveling up each salesperson over time, you help them become more effective, making it easier for them to win.
How to Make Sales Management Easier
When someone suggests you can make sales management easier, you should be skeptical. It takes a lot of time and energy to make something complex easy. I wrote this post because I see too many sales managers struggling to succeed. Instead of obsessing over the potential revenue in their B2B sales pipeline, they should obsess over win rates.
I was fortunate enough to build a very small, very effective sales force. That team won deals at a win rate between 85 and 90 percent. My life as a sales leader was infinitely easier because I didn’t have to worry about our ability to win deals. I did, however, take my sales reps on calls to every major client I pursued. This helped them model my approach and allowed me to transfer my talk tracks and language. This is how I learned to sell, but it is one of the faster ways to improve your results by developing a sales force.
You can replicate these results by adopting a modern sales approach and strategies that buyers consider to be a better sales experience. By adding sales training and sales coaching, you move your average win rates up.
However you decide to increase sales effectiveness, know that you are doing the work necessary to consistently generate net new revenue while also improving your sales force’s success as a team and as individuals.