Three Steps to Closing the Gaps in Sales Performance

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No sales organization is perfect, but to succeed, sales teams need the tools to help them close performance gaps and engage with customers.

With inadequate knowledge of the organization’s goals and antiquated methods that fail to connect sales with prospects and convert them, performance gaps will ensue. Here are three steps to help sales teams close their performance gaps:
  1. Check out the competition: Oftentimes, sales professionals will lose sight of the ultimate payoff as they work to generate leads using the skills they’ve already mastered. When companies compare their performance to others in their industry, the sales team will gain awareness of its standings and will more likely consider how their goals compare to others in their industry. Ideally, businesses should examine the current gaps between sales performance and goals with regard to both internal achievements and industry standards to develop the basis for a more strategic sales approach.
  2. Know thy customer: Because consumers now have the ability to self-educate about products and services prior to purchase, the resulting paradigm shift essentially eliminates the sales professional’s extended role as customer service and support. Instead, companies must truly get to know their customer base because having a firm comprehension of customer behavior will allow sales to identify and fill gaps between their own performance and potential revenue.
  3. Look at the team as a whole: Management must compare their team’s current skills with those required for tomorrow. This entails observing the gaps between the most and least successful salespeople to determine the skills necessary to bring the business to the next level. Simultaneously, companies must determine which sales steps must be added, removed, and improved upon so they may define an ideal selling strategy that generates leads and conversions. While the criteria differs for each company, each team must learn from its prior performance throughout the entire sales cycle in order to spot patterns and trends that reveal why some leads have failed and others succeeded. Companies must approach their assessment from a business perspective, outlining primary goals, vital skill sets, and desired outcomes. Once internal problems and issues have been identified, sales professionals can then begin to overcome such obstacles to improve individual or team performance.

For many sales professionals, improvements don’t even require technical skills or new knowledge, but an adjusted attitude and perspective that encourages both individuals and teams to think like the customer. Ultimately, the customer holds the most power in any sales situation, while the salesperson must understand and provide for their every need. Customers may offer essential feedback as to what worked and what didn’t in both the pitch and process stages. Sales professionals must look outward as they audit their internal state and abilities to keep their performance fresh with each interaction.