Sales efficiency and pipeline health are top-of-mind for growth-focused business leaders today. With many customers delaying purchase commitments due to the economy and forecasted recession, selling has become increasingly challenging. But waiting for ideal selling conditions to return is not an option; the only solution is to adapt your existing sales approach. As organizations everywhere attempt to adjust to changing economic conditions, everyone is trying to do more with less.
Six Steps to Sell More During a Recession
The organizations that continue to successfully sell during this time do so by employing the right tools and leveraging them effectively. Adapting your sales strategy starts with focusing on the right opportunities. It requires visibility to keep your team members accountable. These six steps will prepare your team to be successful in today’s difficult selling environment.
Focus: Identify customers that are most likely to purchase from you. By targeting your ideal buyers and top-tier customers, you can generate quality interest instead of spinning your wheels.
Assign: Make sure each member of your sales team knows who they are personally responsible for and hold them accountable. Implement a comprehensive activity tracking process in your CRM and tie actions to a campaign for easy reporting.
Message: Update your organization’s messaging and content to be relevant in today’s market conditions. What does your ideal buyer care about? What are their top concerns?
Effort: Ensure each member of your team is involved and completing enough sales activity to reach your sales goals. Dynamic reports and visual dashboards, for example, are a great way to measure progress and efforts.
Track: Implement forecasting and other sales metrics that make it very clear to the whole team if the organization is on pace with your set goals. As the saying goes, what gets measured, gets managed. Use your data to ensure you’re managing to the right areas.
Support: Increase your sales efficiency and effectiveness through real-time coaching and participation in sales calls, deals, and strategy sessions. Regular stand-ups are a great internal tactic to keep everyone on the same page and moving forward in the same direction.
Improve Sales Efficiency with Forecasting
In addition to increased communication and visibility, sales forecasting is an effective way to develop a plan when conditions are unclear. Using sales forecasting reduces uncertainty and leads to increased responsiveness. It also acts as a mitigation measure by highlighting potential problem areas proactively. Using data to uncover obstacles makes them easier to avoid. Additionally, sales forecasting enables easier decision making by aggregating pertinent data. Sales leaders can feel more confident about the direction they are leading their team because they’re making data-backed decisions.
However, in order to generate and interpret sales forecasts accurately, you need the right tools. Without a CRM and consistent data inputs, sales forecasting can be both unreliable and unscalable. CRMs like Salesforce can leverage AI technology to improve forecast accuracy, predict results, and track your sales team’s performance. Regardless of your solution, the data you use to build your forecasts needs to be consistent and reliable. Without the right sales processes and inputs in place to combine sales activity, closed won opportunities, and aggregate that information against marketing campaigns and tactics, you’ll never have the visibility and access you want out of your sales pipeline.
There are three forecasting performance indicators that can help drive better sales results. The examples provided are specific to Salesforce and the Einstein Forecasting solution, but the foundation of these key metrics can be translated into any organizational CRM solution.
- Einstein Prediction: Using leading AI, Salesforce Einstein’s can generate a prediction graph for your sales team’s forecasted deals this month, calculate the median predicted amount for each manager’s team, and then provide a performance summary graph to visualize goal completion.
- Prediction to Quota Gap: This metric highlights the difference between the predicted forecast for your organization and your current sales quota, so you can “manage to the gap” with your sales team more effectively.
- Closed to Quota Gap: This measures the difference between your team’s closed deals and their current sales quota, so you can see who is falling behind and may need additional support to reach sales goals. This can be particularly effective when combined with sales activity reports to see if certain tactics are driving better results.
In short, with the right key performance indicators and technology in place, you can take the burden of predictions and forecasting off your shoulders so that you can make strategic decisions that enhance the customer experience and support your sales team.
Sales forecasting can feel complicated, which is why most organizations work with consultants to ensure their investment is implemented and leveraged correctly by their organization.
The Role RPA Plays in Sales Efficiency
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) can help sales and marketing teams do more with less by taking over tedious, manual processes and enabling sales professionals to spend more time building relationships with customers and prospects. Entire sales cycles can be automated, from creating an opportunity in your CRM to closing won and all of the steps in between, including monitoring RFPs and generating proposals.
If the scope of automating your entire sales cycle seems too big, it’s important to remember that small automations can have a big impact, too. Simply automating contracts and invoice processing can save time, reduce manual errors, and eliminate inefficient paper pushing processes.
Watch the video below to see an end-to-end automation of an invoice approval and entry process.
Trying to prepare for the year ahead is hard when there is so much uncertainty. Our team of professionals can help you build a platform that engages your customers and creates resiliency in your sales.