March 3, 2021

Sales Strategy

How to Increase Sales by Wasting Less Time on Deals That Will Never Happen

Now more than ever, sales reps already strapped for time and the team supporting them need to foster an approach which streamlines the sales process by prioritizing the right leads. Here's how to increase sales productivity and performance.

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In today’s software driven world, B2B buyers are increasingly opting for subscription-based recurring purchase models in place of large upfront one-time purchases. For SaaS sales leaders, your signal to your sales team must be clear: All hands on deck. No longer can the overall success of your team ride on the high volume deals roped in through the stellar performance of a handful of your top sellers. This recent transformation in buyer behavior has shifted focus towards the improvement of overall sales productivity and further underscored the importance of the broader contribution of the group.

So how do teams best approach increasing sales productivity overall? The challenge lies in the complexity of the sales profession. Reps simply have a lot on their plate at any given time - and less and less of the team’s time is being spent on selling. Survey results featured in a (pre-pandemic) time management study conducted by Forbes put sales rep time allotted to selling at a mere 36%. Further data cited by Forrester knocks productive sales allotment to 25% of time on the clock.

Although a portion of this time is rooted in efficient time management, sales reps nowadays generally have more to do. According to a B2B Demand Gen Buyers Report, B2B buyers reach out earlier on within the sales process which require the sales rep to respond in a timely manner with the appropriate content. Alongside talking to and (virtually) engaging with prospects, rep’s responsibilities also span repetitive administrative tasks (sales intelligence tools and related email correspondence) which can further steal time away from revenue-producing activities.

However, the transition to work-from-home due to the COVID-19 pandemic has also cut out the commute from a sales reps workday and has allowed many to reallocate a bit of their time. This presents a golden opportunity for improvement for sales teams to capitalize on.

Dealcode will show you and your team how to increase sales by spending less time on deals you won’t close. We’ll show you how simple it is to begin prioritizing prospects with the greatest potential and improve your conversion rate.

Clearly Define Your Target Customer: Buyer Profiles and Buyer Personas

Wondering how to best increase sales? Create buyer profiles and buyer personas and help your team put the right buyers first. (CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Felipe Furtado)

Buyer Profiles

One essential step top performing teams take to improve sales performance and waste less time selling to the wrong people is creating buyer profiles. Your ideal buyer profile - or ideal customer profile (ICP) - outlines which types of companies will benefit from your solution the most and establishes boundaries for the ones which won’t. Key components which make up your ideal profile may include but are not limited to company size (determination may vary by metric, e.g. number of employees, revenue or customers), particular industries or verticals, as well as geographic locations.

Once your team has a sketch of your ideal customer, the rest is self-explanatory: Prioritize active buyers and target those who fit your buyer profile when prospecting. The further your lead profiles you’re actively pursuing stray from your targeted buyer, the lesser the chance the deal will pan out.

Buyer Personas

Now that you have established a core buyer profile as the basis for your team’s targeted selling initiatives, buyer personas (sometimes referred to as marketing personas) take better business a step further. These two terms can quite understandably be easily confused or mistook for the same concept, however, there is a distinct difference. While both denote a set of rules governing how your sales team qualifies leads, buyer personas aim to educate your team on precisely who they will be selling to, who they are creating content for, which objections they can expect to encounter, etc. so sales, marketing and service teams can better align work company-wide.

In other words: A buyer persona is essentially a semi-fictional character sketch of your ideal buyer based on data and research. When implemented correctly, a buyer persona will allow you to attract and retain the right customers and build long-lasting client relationships. Up-to-date and actively maintained buyer personas are one of the first key steps towards designing a customer centric sales process for future prospects.

In addition to determining an optimal buyer profile and marketing persona for your solution, sales reps should be on the lookout for a selection of key indicators that signal prospects may indeed be a good fit. Teams should learn to quickly identify and assess lead qualifiers such as their individual awareness of need, degree of urgency, willingness to listen, buyer authority, strategic alignment with and overall trust in your organization.

On Further Consideration: Who is the Correct Point of Contact?

When planning out how to best increase sales in your company, steps towards selecting and prioritizing contact with the right buyers is highly important and often one of the top priorities for sales teams. However, while focused on lead prioritization and reaching their target customers, reps may overlook the simple fact that they may not necessarily be the correct contact person for particular inquiries at specific points within the sales process. Maybe a colleague has recently successfully dealt with a company closely comparable in size and industry and is therefore better suited to field the inquiry or lead the conversation.

B2B SaaS buying processes can be rather lengthy and finding the right solution can be a complex process. Knowing when to pass on the baton can be crucial in ensuring the sales process moves quickly and the customer remains at the center of the deal at all times.

Waste Less Time With The Consultative Sales Approach (Customer Centric Sales Process)

Successful sellers must be able to identify buyer’s individual needs - however complex they may be - in order to provide viable and appropriate solutions. Putting the customer first is the first step. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Heylagostechie)

Another essential method used to increase sales performance across your organization involves implementing a customer centric sales process. One key aspect of a customer centric selling is the close client relationship reps establish from day one. This role, closer to that of a trusted advisor than a salesperson, is marked by direct engagement with customers, maximum transparency and mutual openness. Sales reps lead with curiosity and empathy in all interactions with the primary aim of understanding the specific challenges customers may be facing and what makes them unique.

This close proximity to the buyer and transparent communication makes it easy for sales reps to assess whether the lead is a good fit early on in the sales process. Teams are also all the more able to pull the plug on deals they deem as less likely to succeed. Prioritizing your company’s relationship with your customer (or sending the right message to your potential client) is the first step towards selling an experience instead of a product.

Sales teams who value customer experience will see improved retainment and benefit from close client relationships down the line. Existing customers make great candidates for market research. Prior customer experience presents a great source of knowledge and data your company can use to further refine and reevaluate their buyer personas.

Seller Personality Test: Play to Your Team’s Strengths and Weaknesses

Know how and where your team members and colleagues excel and you'll be better poised to capitalize on their strengths when the time comes. (CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - You X Ventures)

Solution providers no longer sell just one or two primary products or services. And no longer is your product the pivotal element of your relationship with your client. Buyers now value the experience accompanying their purchase, or the “full package” suppliers provide their customers from start to finish more than ever. And the start counts: Earlier on in a deal, sellers should make an effort to gauge which type of buyer their prospect may be and engage them in the right way.

It’s important to note that nobody fits one buyer type entirely, but a majority of people tend to show one dominant personality type. Sales reps should familiarize themselves with the psychology behind effective sales and how to best approach different types of buyers.

On the other hand, it’s essential that sales reps have an understanding of what kind of seller they themselves are in order to ensure the best fit for the customer. Take the Dealcode Sales Personality Test to discover what kind of seller you are at heart and how best navigate certain selling situations.

Marketing to the right buyers in the right way is yet another effective way for teams and sales reps to make the most of their time selling.

Set Your Team Up for Success

Sales is a busy profession. Simple steps towards choosing the right leads to follow up on can help increase sales and give your business the boost it needs. (CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Campaign Creators)

Now more than ever, sales reps already strapped for time and the team supporting them need to foster an approach which streamlines the sales process by prioritizing the right leads. Team leaders can do their part in providing healthy oversight and guidance (not micromanagement) in order to improve productive potential. Targeted efforts towards an increase in sales productivity through proper prioritization of leads can make a lasting impact and increase sales across the board.

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