How to review your sales process and structures in order to increase turnover
Q I am reviewing the sales process within our business with the objective of growing sales during 2015. We deal with both the public and trades people. Can you give me any tips on how to go about putting the right structure in place.
A Sales is all about structure and process. Start at the top of the business and put in place overall targets that you want to achieve for the year. Be realistic, but also stretch the business a little bit by increasing the current rate of growth.
Next, ensure that the team are aware of the target and how each one can contribute to achieving it. Ideally set individual sub targets for departments and allow them to update themselves on progress each week. Involve everyone, even those not directly dealing with customers. By knowing what the weekly or monthly sales/profit target is, it then ensures that managers and supervisors have a clear point of focus and know what is expected of them.
You also need to question how good your team are at the sales process. For those dealing with the retail side, new skills like upselling and related sales will be important. For those dealing with trade customers, showing them different tools in the sales process will be beneficial.
If your sales team doesn't know your product/service front to back, even the best listeners will fall short in closing a sale. Salespeople need to understand product/service details to boost their confidence when selling, especially new recruits. With sufficient training, they can identify specific client issues and understand products' or service details well enough to position them as the perfect solution.
I am a big supporter of further education and we subsidise many programmes to enhance learning. We are also very open to employees suggesting bespoke upskilling as and when they require it.
Staff members love to be given a challenge and get a great sense of achievement once results are delivered. You could consider putting in either group or individual incentives to reward times when targets are exceeded to add to the focus.
Rather than focus on some big sales number to achieve, break this down into figures which are easier to comprehend by staff eg, average spend per customer. This will allow staff to easily recognise how they can influence the process.
To some degree the target becomes the policeman/woman who ensures the business stays focused on the task in hand and acts as an alarm when targets are not being achieved so as to refocus initiatives being taken, and in some cases reformulates the strategy being used if the current one isn't sufficient.
Finally, you need to demonstrate that profitable sales growth is key, so make sure that it is the first thing on your weekly management meeting agenda.