With 2023 in the rearview mirror, business leaders find themselves reflecting on their Q4 results and simultaneously charting the course for the forthcoming year. And, due to the economic fluctuations of the past few years, many of these leaders are prioritizing cost-efficiency and embracing a “do more with less” philosophy.
What does this mean for sales teams? It means they might be tasked with supporting loftier business goals– without much in the way of additional manpower or resources.
Unfortunately, accomplishing this will require a bit more than a motivational speech. If you’re responsible for reaching demanding sales targets, you must be more dynamic and strategic in 2024.
In today’s blog post, we’ll cover some key tactics that will position both you and your team for success this year. Let’s get into it!
5 Ways to Achieve Higher Sales Goals at Lower Costs
In a perfect world, you’d be able to hire as many reps as your sales team needs, increasing your sales capacity in order to meet higher demands and comfortably hit your business’s revenue goals.
But, if cost-efficiency is a top priority, then extensive sales hiring is an expensive last resort– not a dependable solution. If you’re strapped for budget and can’t rely on new hires to hit your goals, here are some tried and true ways you can set sellers up for success in 2024.
1. Streamline the ramp-up process.
Sales ramp-up time can be costly, considering how much training and coaching is required to get new reps up to speed. Naturally, you might be looking for ways to decrease ramp-up time and get new reps hitting their quotas as soon as possible.
But, rushing the ramp-up process to save time and money often has the inverse effect. For one, insufficient training won’t create effective salespeople. Plus, a rushed onboarding process is a recipe for high sales turnover rates, not faster results.
B2B sales has an average turnover rate of 35% (source). If you’re striving for cost-efficiency in 2024, the last thing you want is to create an expensive turnover problem for yourself.
Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t improve seller ramp time without suffering consequences. You just need a strategic plan, one that dictates the specific steps both reps and leaders can follow to ensure the most efficient process for each new hire.
To speed up the ramp process without hurting rep experience, we suggest the following:
Standardize the ramp-up process.
For the sake of both efficiency and consistency, make sure your ramp-up process is standardized. Create a 30-60-90 plan that rigorously outlines every step of the process, from onboarding to meeting team members to job-specific training, all the way to the point of the rep reaching 100% productivity.
Eliminate points of friction.
Identify any sources of confusion or disruption that new sales reps might experience in their early days at your company. Are all their training resources accessible in a centralized location? Will they have instant access to any platforms they’ll need to perform their jobs?
These may seem like minor administrative concerns. But, if you establish a process to eliminate ordinary points of friction, you’ll enable new reps to get the fastest start possible and immediately focus on what matters most.
Prioritize interactive training.
The documentation you provide to sales reps— playbooks, call scripts, etc.— is crucial, of course, but accelerating the ramp-up process requires as much applicable, interactive training as possible.
Plan your ramp-up periods around a series of interactive training sessions, where new reps will shadow experienced salespeople, sit in on calls, study and discuss recordings of successful sales calls, and so on. The more exposure to the act of closing deals new reps receive, the faster they’ll be able to close deals themselves.
Recommended reading:Discover the 15 Best Sales Podcasts of 2023
2. Map your sales coaching strategy to your top business priorities.
Sales coaching plays a huge role in how well-equipped sales reps are to hit their targets. And, strategic sales coaching is all about zeroing in on your most urgent sales priorities.
For example, let’s say your number one priority as a business is to reduce customer churn. As a sales leader, it’s important to make sure your training and coaching sessions address the issues that ultimately lead to customer churn. In this example, you may decide to focus on expectation setting and qualification criteria.
As you analyze recent sales performance, identify your sales teams’ top challenges and determine the impact they have on high-level business goals. The more impact, the higher priority it is to address.
Recommended reading: The Sales Leader’s Guide to Using Mutual Action Plans
3. Prioritize data-driven decision making
Often, when we discuss data-driven sales, we’re speaking about how sales leaders can use data to inform strategy, planning, forecasting, and so on. But, it’s equally important to cultivate these same data-driven decision making skills in your reps.
When every rep is comfortable with analyzing data, identifying patterns, and interpreting prospect behavior, they’ll become increasingly targeted and efficient in their day-to-day selling efforts. In fact, data-driven organizations are 23 times more likely to acquire new customers and six times more likely to retain customers than organizations that aren’t data-driven (source).
Recommended reading: Asking High Gain Questions to Close Deals Faster
4. Automate non-selling activities.
You can equip sales reps with all the coaching and resources they need, and many will still struggle to hit their sales quota. Before you blame their effort or abilities, consider this: the average sales rep spends 41% of their day on non-revenue generating activities (source).
So, whatever budget you have for new sales technology doesn’t need to be spent on elaborate platforms that are difficult to implement and learn. Instead, invest in technology that can handle the tedious manual work your reps are currently wasting time on. It’s a win-win investment: your sales teams will generate more revenue, and the lighter administrative burden will have a positive effect on overall seller experience.
Recommended reading: 40 Critical Sales Compensation Benchmarks and Statistics for 2023
5. Anticipate risks with “what if” scenarios testing.
If the last few years taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected. No matter how confident you are in your sales strategies, it’s crucial to develop contingency plans for if and when something goes wrong.
Consider each scenario that might affect your sales team’s ability to hit its targets. What if you experience a period of high sales turnover? What if a valuable sales manager leaves? What if unforeseen market conditions result in unexpected customer churn or a dip in revenue?
Identify every possible adverse scenario and develop strategies in advance to navigate them. You don’t want to be scrambling to make adjustments to your sales plan, confusing and stressing out your sales reps in the process— you want to have documented fallback plans so you can make seamless adjustments and keep everyone on track.
Recommended reading: Using a Sales Leaderboard to Motivate Your Team
Achieving consistent sales success may seem more difficult than ever, considering the amount of uncontrollable variables that have been thrown at your organization over recent years. But, difficult times provide the opportunity to deeply consider your current strategies, identify weaknesses, and implement tactics designed to make the most of your sales teams’ skills and experience.
In 2024, make sure you leave no stone unturned in your efforts to make each and every seller as effective as possible. When you make the extra effort to play to your team’s advantages and eliminate roadblocks, you’ll not only see fantastic sales results– you’ll also deliver those results at a lower cost to the business than you thought was possible.
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