You want to grow your business. After much consideration, you decide the best way to do that is to increase sales of your products or services. But where do you start?
Do you redesign your sales process to increase your “opps to closed-won” conversion rate?
Should you level up your digital marketing budget to get more leads into the sales funnel?
Or is it smarter to focus on customer retention (in hopes that happy customers buy more)?
There are myriad ways to increase sales at your company. From placing Facebook ads to redefining your ideal customer profile, there are a number of strategies you can implement to move the needle in the right direction. Here are three:
3 ways to increase sales at your company
Here are three ways to drive sales and business growth, listed in order of highest to lowest impact:
1. Identify the behavioral profiles of top-performing salespeople—and hire against that target.
The 2020 State of Talent Optimization Report found only 49% of last year’s hires were good hires, according to the 600 executives surveyed.
Researchers also asked the executive panel the following question: “When companies terminate employees for performance-related reasons, what is the most common thing those people are lacking?”
The top answer was The right behavioral makeup for the job (31%). In second place was The intelligence required for the job (30%).
In other words, 61% of executives say employees are terminated due to poor behavioral and cognitive job fit.
The key to great hiring is understanding the behavioral traits and cognitive ability a person needs to succeed in a given role. To increase sales, identify the behavioral profiles of your best-performing salespeople, and hire with this target in mind.
The idea of hiring based on behavioral fit might sound complex. But it’s actually quite simple.
Let’s say you need to hire a good sales manager.
If you’re a business leader at a large company, look at the behaviors your top-performing sales managers have in common. Are they adaptable? Do they inspire followership?
If you’re a small business owner or manager, you might not have a top-performer to look to. That’s OK. The PI Hire solution lets you tap into the wisdom of the crowd. It’s a treasure trove of job benchmarking data—based on the targets other managers set when hiring for sales roles.
Don’t forget to measure cognitive ability.
The PI platform also walks you through setting a cognitive target for the role. Even if you’re hiring for the same role—sales manager—the product and workplace environment may necessitate two very different cognitive targets. Selling shoes in a B2C retail setting is less cognitively demanding than selling procurement software in a B2B tech environment. That’s because technology is always changing. And so salespeople are constantly learning and adapting.
With the behavioral and cognitive job target set, hire against that target. Have each candidate take a behavioral assessment and a cognitive assessment. The PI Hire solution stack ranks candidates according to job fit. This is your interview shortlist.
From there, you can examine other candidate data points—like resume and references. Building a five-star sales team has never been easier!
When you think of hiring new employees to increase sales, don’t forget about your marketing team! After all, sales and marketing work hand-in-hand to attract potential customers and close deals.
When it comes to making better marketing hires, the same logic applies. First, identify the behaviors that are common in top-performing content marketers. Next, identify your cognitive target. Finally, hire against that target.
2. Uncover why your salespeople are underperforming—and take action to fix the problem.
When your sales team isn’t selling your product at the volume you need them to, it’s easy to assume they’re just an underperformer.
However, the talent optimization discipline argues you can’t tell what the problem is from the surface level. You must dig deeper to understand why the problem exists.
Ready to uncover why your people aren’t hitting their targets? Here’s how to do this:
First, speak to each underperforming employee in a 1:1 setting. Ask the following questions:
- What do you need right now to perform to the best of your ability?
- What is the most defeating/motivating part of your job?
- Are you clear on the impact of your work and how it serves the business?
- How are we going to prevent similar issues from arising in the future?
- Are we utilizing your talents effectively?
Next, administer an employee experience survey that lets employees provide anonymous feedback. This will generate more candid insights. And it will help you figure out what the real problem is so you can address it.
Finally, measure and analyze people data via talent audits, behavioral assessments, or cognitive assessments. Do your current sales employees match the target you set for hiring?
You might find the problem is pretty simple to correct. For example, your AEs and BDRs weren’t aligned on the value proposition. You could then redesign your pitch deck and talk track.
Or if your sales manager isn’t motivating the team, help them build their leadership capacity with a leadership rubric.
Or maybe the issue is more complex to solve. For example, your company culture fails to motivate your people to do more than the minimum. Fixing this may require developing new core values or even redesigning your culture from scratch.
In any event, when you know what’s driving your sales team’s lackluster performance, you can take steps to correct the issue. Before you know it, your goal of increasing sales will be a reality.
3. Revise your marketing strategy to generate more high-quality leads.
You post on social media, have Google and Facebook ads running, and send out press releases to announce product launches and company events. But despite all the effort, you aren’t getting your desired results.
Some months, you don’t generate enough leads for sales. Other months, you hit your lead goals—but your salespeople struggle to convert those leads to opportunities. It’s clear you need to revise your marketing strategy to generate more high-quality leads: people in your target audience who are likely to have purchasing intent.
Start by creating or refining your buyer personas. What industry publications or websites do these people read regularly? Do they struggle with common business challenges? What queries are they typing into the search engine? With a clear understanding of what makes your prospects tick, you can create web content, emails, and ad copy that will resonate better.
Of course, you’ll want to write SEO blogs around the topics your audience is searching for so you’ll get found in the search results. And of course, you want to embed CTAs in your blogs that drive prospects to landing pages where you can collect their information.
But beyond the basics, increase sales with new marketing strategies like:
- Investing in podcast pre-roll ads
- Launching a referral program
- Hiring a growth hacking specialist
- Creating interactive in-product experiences
- Conversational marketing
And don’t forget to train your sales team to capitalize on selling at tradeshows and events!
Increase sales by aligning all employees around a common goal.
The last tip is to align all employees around your strategic business goals. While sales and marketing are primarily responsible for generating new business, all employees play a role in increasing sales. For example, when a client reaches out to customer service with a question, if they receive excellent service consistently, they are more likely to renew a contract or upsell.
Be sure employees across the company understand their role in helping your company achieve its common goal of increasing sales.