You just ended your quarter. Maybe you made your numbers, or maybe you fell short. Rather than looking back at what went wrong, it’s a time to look forward to what you can do better in the next quarter.
Here are four questions to ask yourself to get you and your team on the right track for the quarters to come.
If you don’t have coaching set up as a regular activity on your calendar, you need to change that ASAP. Coaching needs be done regularly and 1:1. Did you know that research shows sales coaching has the biggest impact on your team’s performance? Regular coaching with reps builds trust. It lets them know that you’re on the same team with the same goals and that you’re committed to help them be successful.
If you feel you don’t have coaching skills, make getting them a top priority. Sign up for coaching webinars and, if you’re at conferences, look for tracks that can help improve your coaching capabilities. Or get an audio version of a coaching book, such as Keith Rosen’s “Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions: A Tactical Playbook for Managers and Executives” and listen to it during your commute.
Also, remember to focus on the positive. Coaching is a way to get improved results for your team. Get reps to ask the questions to help them develop their abilities. What would you do different? What topic got the prospect’s attention? Effective coaching is a skill that needs to be cultivated by sales leadership.
In today’s B2B sales, the top performing organizations are using sales tools that monitor engagement with analytics to track prospect interactions with their teams’ sales content.
These analytics show sales leaders how frequently reps are engaging with prospects and the type of engagement activities, i.e. are they sending the right number of emails and making the right number of calls that it takes in your organization to move prospects from one stage to the next? By monitoring reps’ activities in real-time, sales leaders can quickly see if opportunities are advancing efficiently. With insight into rep behaviors, sales leaders can make adjustments and course correct as needed before the quarter closes.
You need engagement analytics that show the hard data in order to more accurately assess whether prospects are engaging at the level needed to successfully close a deal in your organization. Your rep may be saying a deal will close but if engagement analytics don’t show the appropriate level of interactions, it’s an opportunity to have that conversation with your rep.
In sales, leveraging a repeatable practice is gold. It makes you and your team more effective and allows you to improve upon processes. Repeatable practices help you understand what works best in order to repeat it.
Have you looked at the activities of top performing reps versus poor performing reps? Can you identify what they’re doing that the others aren’t, so that you can change that across the team? Are they using a multi-touch approach? Is their number of touch points shorter, longer, comprised of different activities – or a different order of activities?
Research by the TOPO Sales Development Practice finds that on average high growth sales development teams have five applications in their sales stack. Additionally, research from the Sales Management Association shows that sales leaders plan to increase their spending on sales technology.
At the start of a new quarter, take a look at your tool stack. Do tools easily integrate within your rep’s existing workflow? Do these tools allow you to have a unified view across every selling stage? If not, they will take away from your team’s productivity.
As you look to the future, don’t consider what might have been but consider what might be. Ask yourself these key questions and see if there are areas where you can improve to make your next quarter more successful for your organization.
Micheline Nijmeh is the CMO for LiveHive, Inc., whose award-winning sales acceleration platform provides engagement analytics to understand buyers’ interests and improve sales follow-up. A seasoned Silicon Valley executive, Nijmeh has served as Senior Director, Integrated Global Campaigns at Salesforce.com, where she led the market launch of Salesforce’s Chatter and Force platform.