23. 10. 2018

7 Ways To Sell More Than Last Quarter

Actionable steps to improve quarter-on-quarter sales bookings...

1. Make smarter use of content

Whether in the form of blog articles, videos, news & PR, case studies or customer testimonials, good content helps you to sell your product by articulating and showcasing its benefits.

Reviewing your content use can be a great way to make a quick and easy impact on sales performance. Take stock of the resources available to you – what materials does your website include, what are the latest entries in your news and blog section, does your company have a YouTube channel, or has your marketing or sales enablement team created any new support materials?

Once you’ve laid out your content tools, it’s time to make them work harder for you. Simple tweaks like adding a link in your auto-signature to your company’s latest piece of content can generate hundreds of additional high-quality brand engagements for the many prospects you correspond with each day. Adding testimonial links to your LinkedIn profile can have similar results, pushing curious potential customers straight to heartfelt product endorsements by key clients.

Look for other areas of your sales process where including quality content could help shorten your discussion or consolidate your pitch and enhance your credibility.

2. Embrace incremental improvement

Many salespeople are so caught up in the ever-spinning carousel of prospecting, pitching and closing that they’re forever waiting for a chance to step back and make some wholesale changes to their sales process.

In reality, that opportunity may never come, and you might not need it. Instead of waiting for an illusory ‘break’ on the horizon where you can overhaul your sales approach, try focusing on small daily or weekly changes you can make which will have a cumulative effect across the quarter.

Just five more prospecting InMails or connections per day while you finish your morning coffee adds up to twenty-five new potential conversations in a week. That’s a hundred each month, and four hundred across the quarter.

You might choose to spend a few extra minutes preparing for prospect calls, add a new layer of detail or personalization to follow-up notes, or send a higher-value ‘check in’ email to prospects who are between phases of the sales process.

Whatever you decide, concentrating on simple bite-size improvements can keep you moving forwards and increasing your performance without suspending any improvement until you take time out for a major review.

3. Switch it up

We’re all familiar with the much-used quote (usually attributed to Einstein) that the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

While sticking to an established sales pattern doesn’t qualify as insanity (especially if it’s working), the old adage holds true with regard for the need to change something in a process in order to produce a different outcome.

Consistency is good, and it’s a dangerous move to interfere with a workflow that’s producing steady results, but it’s always important to leave some room for experimentation in sales and to keep trying new things out.

Whether it’s the way you deliver your pitch, the questions you ask in discovery calls, the length or tone of email you send, the case studies you reference or the way you conduct your prospect research, there are hundreds of points along the buying journey where you can adjust your interaction to impact the course of events.

Don’t fix what isn’t broken, but equally don’t expect next quarter to crush this one if you do the exact same thing.

4. Put yourself out there

What about creating some content of your own? It’s not only marketing who can talk expertly about your product, market or the challenges you help your customers overcome.

LinkedIn articles (such as this one right here) are a great way to get in front of prospects by talking about what matters most to them. You might also consider a short video pitch, a guest blog entry or an article on Medium.

If content production’s not your thing, you can make an effort to be more active on social media channels with likes, shares and comments, or get involved in relevant LinkedIn group discussions. The more visible you are (in the right places for the right reasons), the more you do to boost your pipeline.

5. Review your network for leads

Social and business networks grow at a rate of knots, and over the course of last quarter it’s likely that you made many new connections as well as accepting outreach from other professionals. To prep for the quarter ahead, review who’s new in your network (friends, colleagues and wider business associates) and score each one for lead potential. If they themselves don’t represent an opportunity, can they link you to someone that does? Have a look through their connections, check out their employers… It’s always surprising to find just how much potential is a few degrees of separation away.

6. Attack a weakness

If you’re serious about next quarter eclipsing the previous one, it’s not enough just to do a few things better - you need to get better too.

We’re always keen to work on what we’re good at, but the easiest place to start to see quick improvement in your performance is pro-actively working to minimize weak areas of your sales process and skill set.

Whether it’s establishing early rapport with prospects, asking effective qualifying questions, up-selling, cross-selling or closing, invest some time addressing aspects of your game where you know you’re not yet firing on all cylinders.

Ask your employer what resources the company has for internal or external training, and supplement any support they offer with your own research. On top of the countless sales books on offer, resources like Quora can be a great place to pick up insight from industry peers, as well as leading sales blogs like HubSpot or Salesforce.

7. Gather internal feedback

Last but not least, don’t forget to learn from those who know you best – your own team. If you’re lucky enough to have a hands-on VP who invests time in coaching his or her team, you may be getting some good input from your direct manager already.

What’s less common is for sales reps to go their own team members to seek our constructive criticism. Your peers are the ones who’ve probably heard you make the most calls, who know your routine best and who are most clued-in about the ins and outs of each promising deal in your pipeline.

While they may not offer it up uninvited, your colleagues can often provide some useful objective advice that helps you fix things you’re not seeing.