11 Sales Optimization Strategies to Help Your Sales Team Succeed
Are you happy with your sales process? If the answer is "no," you probably need to invest in sales optimization. Doing so will help you connect with new customers and guarantee your team is closing deals at a consistent clip.
If the answer is "yes," you should still invest in sales optimization. Why? Because it's an ongoing process. What works today might not work tomorrow. You need to constantly evaluate your approach to sales to make sure you never settle for "good enough."
In this article, I share 11 sales optimization strategies you can use to increase sales, build stronger relationships with customers, and make a bigger impact on company revenue.
Increase Team Performance with These 5 Sales Optimization Strategies for Sales Managers
Sales optimization starts at the top. With that in mind, check out these five strategies for sales leaders. Each will help make your sales team more effective—both now and in the future.
1. Coach and Empower Your Sales Team
Your sales team is essential to the success of your company. So, it makes sense to invest in this group of people. If you don't, they'll probably never hit peak performance.
Fortunately, effective sales coaching isn't some super secret, Illuminati-level mystery. You just have to be consistent, create the right resources, and purchase the right technology:
- Aim for consistency: Sales coaching should happen on a regular basis. Look at both individual rep performance and team-wide metrics to pinpoint areas of improvement. Then help your reps get better at these things to build a better sales process.
- Create the right resources: Your team's close rate will skyrocket when they have access to proper sales enablement materials. I'm talking about prospecting plans, sales scripts, email templates, talk tracks, etc. But if you're in the early stages, don’t go crazy. Just create your minimum viable sales documentation and add to it over time.
- Purchase the right technology: The "right" technology isn't based on current trends. It refers to the specific collection of sales tools that will help your reps do more of what they're good at—and less of everything else. At a minimum, that means a CRM that reduces data entry, has automation tools, and will simplify the forecasting process. (I happen to know a reliable CRM that does all of these things, if you're interested. 😉)
2. Refine Your Sales Pipeline
A proper sales pipeline will show you where current deals stand and the specific actions your reps should take at every stage in the buying process. Analyzing your pipeline will help you identify leaks, i.e., stages of the buying process that don't convert, and potential bottlenecks.
You can then use this information to increase sales. If, for example, you see a bunch of opportunities on the right side of your pipeline but not the left, you'll know that your lead generation process needs help. If it takes longer to convert new leads this quarter than it did last quarter, you'll know that you need to focus your attention on efficient qualification tactics.
When it comes to sales optimization, you need to keep an eye on your sales pipeline. That way, you can spot potential problems before they become massive issues for your team.
3. Build the Right Type of Sales Team for Your Business
Building, scaling, and optimizing an inside sales team is tricky. How do you find the right people? And how do you structure your department for success? These hiring tips will help:
- Match employees to roles: Identify what you want each of your new hires to accomplish, then look for personality traits to fit those specific roles.
- Hire two employees at a time: This will help build friendly competition, and make your company’s revenue less dependent on individual performance.
- Hire young and hungry employees: Your first sales hires probably shouldn’t be experienced sellers. You’ll get more bang for your buck if you hire reps who are young and hungry. These people are usually eager to learn and prove themselves.
- Invest in your employees' long-term success: The best startup founders are invested in the success of their sales reps—especially in the early stages of their companies. Coach them regularly (or invest in professional sales training.)
When it comes to structuring your sales team, simple is best.
This is another area where you should avoid getting caught up in trends. The best structure will depend on the number of reps you have, their individual skills, and your market.
One popular sales team structure is the assembly line, which separates reps into three teams with different job descriptions:
- (1) Sales Development Reps, A.K.A. the Qualifiers
- (2) Account Executives, A.K.A. the Closers
- (3) Customer Success Reps, A.K.A. the Farmers
Once you build and align these three teams, leads will flow smoothly through your sales pipeline. The result? Way more sales for your fledgling company.
4. Keep Your Team Focused on Your Ideal Customer Profile
Someone wants to buy your product—woohoo!
Unfortunately, they're a terrible fit for what you sell—womp, womp, womp.
Many companies sell their products and/or services to anyone who will buy them. It's understandable. They need money. But selling to bad-fit customers will kill your startup:
- Bad-fit customers almost always churn
- Bad-fit customers will sap the energy of your support and success teams
- Bad-fit customers don't see the value and usually try to negotiate cheaper deals
- Bad-fit customers can damage the reputation of your startup
Instead of allowing bad-fit customers to sneak into your business, make it absolutely clear to your team who your ideal customers are and how to move them through your sales funnel.
In other words, create a buyer persona.
As a startup founder, you have an incredible advantage here. You created your product to solve a specific problem, right? You had a clear mission when you started. Go back to that early mission and ask yourself, "Who am I trying to solve this problem for?"
I also suggest talking to current customers. Find the ones that get the most value from your product(s) and do your best to understand them. What unique traits do they possess? To make the research process easier, get our free ideal customer profile kit.
5. Set Strategic Goals for Your Team
Here's one more for all of the sales leaders out there: get comfortable with goals.
Your goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
In other words, the goals you set should have distinct objectives that your team has a realistic chance of accomplishing. They should also have specific metrics you can use to evaluate your progress towards them in real-time and firm deadlines by which they need to be completed. Lastly, your goals should relate to the main mission of your unique organization.
You should also set short-term and long-term goals for your sales team. The short-term goals will help you and your reps make daily progress toward the overarching objectives you want to achieve. The long-term goals will help you direct your sales team toward ultimate success.
4 Sales Process Optimization Tips to Boost Revenue Growth
Why should you commit to sales optimization? Because it will help your reps become more productive while allowing you to predict future performance with greater accuracy.
At the end of the day, though, the main reason to invest in sales optimization is money. Optimized sales processes drive more revenue. Plain and simple.
Here are four sales optimization tips to help you supercharge your company's bottom line:
Unleash the revenue-boosting capabilities of CRM with insights from our article.
6. Keep Your Sales Process Simple and Scalable
I need to tell you a secret: you can't build the "perfect" sales process on day one.
You have to get out there, talk to potential customers, and figure out what works before you can build an effective process that converts. If you try to skip this step, you'll probably build an overly-complex process that doesn't actually work. And your reps will resent you for it.
Don't go down this route (I've done it. It's not fun.) Instead, keep these things in mind:
- Document what works in your current sales process: Forget about the sales "gurus" and focus on the real-world successes you've already had.
- Make small, measurable changes over time: Build a solid foundation. Then adjust your sales workflows in minor ways, analyze the results, and proceed from there.
Does that seem too easy? That's the point! Why complicate things when you don't need to? The best sales managers I know are really good at keeping things simple.
And remember, this is just a starting point. You can always jazz up your process in the future. As long as you stay agile and adjust to customer preferences, you should be just fine.
7. Set up Automated Sales Workflows
Sales optimization is way easier when you have access to automation tools.
Depending on your software, you can use automation to log contact information, such as phone numbers and email addresses, build multi-channel communication sequences that send at predetermined times, generate custom sales reports, and more—all on autopilot.
The question is, what software should you use? Close is a fantastic option in this regard!
With Close, you can build complex sales workflows that include call reminders and automated email and text sends. You can also duplicate proven sequence templates so that all of your reps can achieve greater success. Finally, Close includes a "Smart Views" feature, which will automatically source top-priority data (like recent email opens) so reps know who to contact.
To see Close in action, watch a free, on-demand demo of our platform, or sign up for a free trial. I'm confident you'll love the automation features it will give your sales and marketing teams.
8. Use Automation for Lead Generation Purposes
Prospecting is critical. If you don't source leads for your company, you'll never make sales. Unfortunately, most sales reps hate prospecting with the passion of a thousand suns.
Thankfully, automation can make prospecting tasks less cumbersome—especially if you integrate your lead generation tools with your CRM of choice. Doing so will help your reps connect with more qualified buyers, without wanting to tear their hair out in frustration.
Here are a few ways you can use automation to streamline your lead gen efforts:
- Inbound lead capture: Online forms, chatbots, and similar tech make it easy to capture contact information, which can then be synced to your favorite CRM.
- Lead scoring: Qualifying questions inside your forms will help you identify red-hot leads. And automated lead scoring tools help your reps focus on potential buyers. (See how the Close sales team handles inbound lead capture and qualification here.)
- Lead assignment: Inbound leads can be added to your CRM automatically, then assigned to specific reps. (Learn more about automating lead assignments in Close.)
- Dialing: Even dialing can be automated! When your calling system or CRM includes a Power Dialer, your reps will save a few seconds every time they call a lead. This may not sound like much, but it really adds up every month, quarter, and year.
Automation is awesome, but remember, you can't automate everything. You still need to build personal connections with potential buyers. The human element of sales matters—automation and AI can never replace personal interactions.
9. Avoid Trends and Constant Course Changes
Sales management is kind of like fashion—there are always new trends to account for. But the sales methodologies and tools you hear about today might be out of date next week.
Here's the point: don’t get lost in the noise. Focus on the fundamentals that make sales work. Things like making sure your reps follow up with prospects effectively.
Consistency is a key aspect of long-term success in sales. By consistently showing up for your prospects, helping them solve problems with your product, and delivering on what you promised, you will develop a long-lasting process that will elevate your entire team.
Another way to avoid constant course changes is to eliminate quarterly thinking.
Quarterly goals are important, but they should support your long-term mission, not supersede it. Rather than pushing your reps to do short-term, end-of-quarter sprints to make quota, focus on the long-term results. Sales is a marathon—you have to learn to play the long game.
2 Sales Optimization Tips to Get the Most out of Your Sales Data
Data is all the rage these days. But guess what—data don't mean squat if you can't use it. Sales optimization will help you get the most out of the metrics and KPIs you track.
10. Measure Your Data Accurately
Of course, to learn what’s working and what isn’t, you need accurate sales data. It's the only way to see which actions have the greatest impact on your company's bottom line.
For sales managers and startup founders, the best way to get accurate data without wasting your salespeople’s time is to automatically capture it with the right sales software. Otherwise, your team will have to input the information manually. No bueno.
To capture data automatically, just invest in a top-level CRM that will automatically log information, such as sales activity details, and generates easy-to-read reports.
11. Turn Data into Actionable Insights
Data is good, but only if your sales team uses it to improve sales performance management. To make these kinds of improvements, you need to measure the right sales numbers, which you can do by:
- Using metrics that are inherently tied to company goals
- Making sure your team’s actions have a direct impact on these metrics
When you track metrics that feed your team's goals, you'll generate more than mere numbers. You'll generate deep insights that can make a positive impact on future actions.
I teach sales professionals to start with the AQC framework—Activity, Quality, and Conversion. Here are some examples of the sales KPIs that fall into these categories:
Activity Metrics: Tracking the Actions Your Reps Take
- Calls made
- Emails sent
- Time on calls
- Meetings booked
- Demos given
- Revenue per rep
Quality Metrics: Measuring the Performance of Your Sales Team
- Email open and response rates
- Opportunities created
- Call reach rate
- Trial starts
- Pipeline value
Conversion Metrics: Determining the Success of Your Team’s Efforts
- Sales by contact method
- Conversion rates per stage
- Average conversion time
- Average deal size
- Customer lifetime value
- Retention rate
- Quote to close ratio
- Monthly and annual recurring revenue (MRR and ARR)
- MRR and ARR expansion
Track these data points to make more informed decisions regarding your sales process.
Optimize Your Sales Department & Win More Deals
True sales optimization will help you simplify and streamline your sales process.
When this happens, you'll be able to achieve more success because your salespeople will know exactly what to do at every stage in your company's sales funnel. Win!
So forget about complicated techniques and here-today-gone-tomorrow sales trends. Focus on the fundamentals, like nailing your lead gen efforts, creating cold call templates, and automating your workflows. Doing these things will naturally lead to shorter sales cycles, high-quality customer relationships, and more loyal customers. You know, the stuff you want.
Then pair your simplified (but extremely effective) sales process with a quality CRM that can grow with your sales team—even if you decide to spice things up in the future.
Close is the perfect tool for new and established sales organizations because it's both easy to use and uber-powerful. Sign up for a free 14-day trial today to see for yourself!