A successful career in sales requires you to have a thick skin and a stable emotional state. Average days can range from jumping up and down upon landing a major sale, to feeling like the bottom has dropped out from underneath your desk the minute a promising lead decides to go with a competitor.
The volatile nature of sales inspires many of us to try absolutely everything we can think of to succeed—even the utilization of under-performing strategies. Casting an unnecessarily wide net on lead sourcing, for example, can sink your productivity. Instead, I recommend establishing a strong focus on the leads that are closing and where they are coming from. Then let the underachieving sources drop off.
Take a minute to write down your sources for sales leads. Maybe you run regular Google ad campaigns, Twitter ad campaigns, email marketing initiatives or attend in-person networking events. Once you have your list, zero in on each strategy and how it is producing for you.
Let's say you receive 100 leads from one source. You connect with 30 of those leads and 40 percent of them convert. For many companies, those numbers would prove the source exceptionally valuable.
Conversely, another source produces 75 leads and only five of them end up closing. That means that you and your team spent time with dead 70 leads. The return on your time investment doesn’t add up to the first example in this case.
In order to be productive in sales, it is vital to track the sources of your best and most successful leads. Understand the time you spend connecting with a lead and eventually closing the deal. Track this effort and the success and failure that comes from each lead source.
This doesn’t need to be a scientific process. It also doesn’t mean you should change your lead sourcing every day or even every month. I do suggest, though, keeping it top-of-mind on a daily basis. Depending on your sales cycle, be prepared to switch gears and go with a new lead source if one is proving unsuccessful over time.
In the case of a very small business, owners can track this information themselves. But as your company grows, I recommend employing a CRM system (I’m a big fan of Salesforce). A professional CRM will help you gain an understanding of your activity, time spent, number of touches you make with each lead and, most importantly, the number of closings.
Generally speaking, an employee’s productivity is closely tied to their individual level of motivation and engagement in the sales process. The concept of gamification of sales is catching on for this reason. The more fun you make the job for your sales reps, the more they will be excited to sell.
One of the best sales gaming companies out there right now is Ambition, an exciting startup that launched in early 2013. The technology makes sales contests more appealing by breaking reps into teams—functioning in a Fantasy Football-style format. As the business owner, you determine the key benchmarks to track. Your team can then log into the system and see where their productivity and success ranks in relation to colleagues.
Using a gaming application to monitor performance and regularly tracking your lead sources will help improve your team’s productivity in no time.
Yaniv Masjedi is the vice president of marketing at Nextiva (@Nextiva), a leading provider of cloud-based, unified communication services. In his role, Yaniv manages the firm's marketing and branding efforts by working to create strategies that drive awareness, strengthen the Nextiva brand and share the story of the company's unique customer-centric culture (dubbed "Amazing Service").
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