According to an article in HR Daily Advisor, mistakes in hiring sales managers can cost a company an average of $2 million in lost sales. These lost costs also impact recruiting, training and salary expenses.
How you hire and the processes you develop in your sales department can affect the well-being of your current specialists, the speed of processing applications, how you deal with rejections and how your sales team and marketers work together. At my current company, we have found five effective tools that have helped us double sales in a highly competitive educational technology market. I would like to share them here with you.
1. A Three-Step Hiring Process
Every year, companies all over the world spend billions on sales recruitment, training and development. The three-step hiring system can help you make reasonable decisions about applicants before making a commitment:
Step 1. The HR team conducts interviews and determines five to seven candidates with the highest motivation and relevant experience.
Step 2. Potential sales managers are invited to a group interview to talk about their experience, interests and successful cases. The interview includes roleplay simulating a real-life sales situation, which helps evaluate the candidate’s thinking and decision-making.
Step 3. We invite those candidates who have successfully completed two stages to a paid one-week probation. During this time, they study the sales department, learn more about product features and fully understand the responsibilities of the new position.
At the end of the week, we test their progress. In one test, our head of sales pretends to be a customer with multiple objections and evaluates how the manager handles solving them.
After these three stages, all that remains is to calculate the average score of each candidate and choose the best one.
2. Order Processing Speed Optimization
Rely on solid benchmarks; a good speed indicator is to aim for a 5- to 15-minute callback time. According to a Lead Response Management study, if managers call back within 30 minutes, they are 21 times more likely to successfully close the deal.
To help managers process requests faster, follow the best market practices for automating the sales process and use up-to-date tools that make a manager’s life easier. In addition to using a CRM system, which has already become a mandatory component, you can create email and presentation templates, put follow-up messages and initial outreaches on autopilot, leave a pre-recorded voicemail, etc.
3. Automation Of Order Transferring
As the number of requests increases to two-digit numbers per day or more, if you distribute load managers manually, there is a risk of errors, delays, miscommunication or time-consuming data entry. In addition, the load on some managers is much higher than on others, which also negatively affects their productivity and well-being.
Automation tools transfer requests across the team and help avoid overloading even the most efficient managers. Sales process automation tools such as LinkedIn Sales Navigator, BrainShark, Hoopla, HubSpot and others can help you.
Tools like these assist in the proper allocation of resources, which according to McKinsey, increases the chances of you closing a deal by 10%, while employee productivity on average rises by 15%.
4. Improving Objections Handling
It’s common knowledge in sales that potential customers often will say no or refuse to buy at first. That means if you want to increase sales and profits, don’t break up with lost leads, but implement a quality control department instead to organize and keep track of leads.
The quality control team can listen to sales managers’ conversations and estimate a communication score on a zero-to-10 scale using a number of criteria, including use of the script, identification of customer needs, product presentation and handling objections.
If the manager makes mistakes and gets rejected, the request is passed on to the team leads and the best managers. They can call back the potential client again and do their best to handle objections.
In our case, the quality control department and objections handling helped us return 10% of customers and salvaged almost $15,000 per month in revenue.
5. Aligning The Sales And Marketing Departments More Effectively
While optimizing the sales department, it is important not to forget about the connection of sales managers with other teams that are also responsible for aspects of sales. I think the first step is to facilitate communication between sales managers and your marketing team.
Both departments ultimately have the same goal to increase sales and profit. As a result of interaction, both parties should gain valuable insights. As they often work with the same potential customers, they can share the most up-to-date information about current objections, pains and unique selling propositions.
Ways To Support Collaboration Between Marketing And Sales
To support this communication, it is worth trying to implement the lead qualification system. This is the allocation of a potential client into one of three categories: hot, warm or cold leads. Cold clients are people who know nothing about the product or service offered. Warm clients are those, who have shown interest in your product. And hot customers are those who are ready to buy.
Based on answers, the sales manager selects a category and enters the data into the system. This information helps marketers manage the budget and adjust processes. All the processes of these two teams become interconnected.
For example, if there are a lot of cold clients on the sales team side, marketers might launch a warm-up funnel. After interaction with free articles, webinars and case studies, customers should become warm. At this stage, it becomes easier for sales managers to handle remaining objections and lead to the purchase. As a result of the interaction of departments, the overall conversion of an application grows.
By following these simple principles, you can save your company’s budget, avoid key hiring mistakes and potentially double your sales in just one year. Just be open to new techniques and don’t be afraid to take risks.