Sales Force Optimization: The Secret to Long-Term Selling Success

You have a good sales process in place. Prospecting, lead qualification, closing deals… everything is clearly laid out, and your sales team follows it to the T.

You're doing well, but you know they can get more prospects and win more deals—they can be more.

So what's the issue? Where's the loophole?

It's your sales process—or more specifically, it's your stagnant sales process.

Expert Note:
Sales is an outcome, not a goal. It's a function of doing numerous things right, starting from the moment you target a potential prospect until you finalize the deal.
Jill Konrath

You cannot just “set and forget” your sales process. You have to update it regularly according to your customers' changing requirements and preferences.

This is where sales force optimization comes into the picture.

Sales force optimization ensures your sales process stays dynamic. It involves figuring out what's working and what isn't with your current sales strategy and then fine-tuning your sales process to win more long-term customers.

What Is Sales Optimization?

To create a world-class sales organization, you need three things:

  • The right people on the right jobs in the right territory
  • Lean and effective sales and sales management processes
  • Regular sales training to polish and update selling skills

Sales optimization involves improving and refining all the above three factors. It's the process of helping you maximize sales performance and increase close rates.

You analyze past customer interactions and sales data and then use the insights to sell more effectively and manage future sales incentives.

Sales Force Optimization Case Study: TAMI

sales force optimisation

TAMI (formerly known as SalesOptimize) hired Simon Drew as the sales manager to scale their sales function.

Upon auditing the sales process, Simon quickly identified the company's biggest challenge: finding quality prospects and opportunities. While TAMI's sales team had an endless list of contacts to target, they didn't know how to process them. In addition, reps were also having a hard time handling a large volume of prospects.

Simon decided to build a team of business development reps, who would carry out all sales functions. This included prospecting, sending follow-ups, demoing, sending proposal follow-ups, negotiating… the whole shebang.

Simon and his team then realized the workflow was still manual, inefficient, and clunky. It's why they decided to introduce a sales engagement solution into their system to streamline workflows and reduce sales tech stack costs.

The result? TAMI's reps are currently executing 3,400-4,900 activities each month, 5x the original 1,000-1,400 activities. Also, the productivity skyrocketed to more than 300%!

Modifying and refining your workflows can optimize your sales process—just like how it helped Simon and his team.

6 Strategies to Optimize Sales Process

Examining sales processes, sales culture, and establishing an effective communication strategy is an excellent place to start optimizing your sales performance.

There are six steps to increase sales force optimization:

  1. Building ICP
  2. Defining Goals
  3. Fine-Tuning Sales Pipeline
  4. Analyzing Sales Data
  5. Automating Sales
  6. Reducing Churn Rate

Read on as we cover the six best strategies to help you implement effective sales force optimization.

#1 Build an Ideal Customer Profile

Building an ideal customer profile or buyer persona is critical for effective prospecting. This way, you can get past demographics and dive deeper into buying behaviors and emotional characteristics, such as:

  • Buying patterns
  • Likes and dislikes
  • Motivating factors behind purchase decisions
  • Common objections and tactics to handle them
  • Feelings and emotions that will trigger them to buy

Creating buyer personas is particularly effective. Having a fictional characterization of your ideal customer puts a face to details. This will help your sales team understand the kind of leads they should pursue, boosting sales productivity.

#2 Define Your Long-Term Goals

In the words of Brian Tracy, “goals allow you to control the direction of change in your favor.”

This is why ignoring quick wins and establishing long-term goals is the only sustainable way to increase sales.

Align your professionals to deliver optimal revenue from the market they prospect.

You have to prioritize creating the right sales culture. For instance, you should celebrate long-term milestones like upsells instead of emphasizing short-term goals like hitting monthly quotas.

We aren't saying that meeting quotas shouldn't be appreciated, but the priority should be long-term milestones that support long-term growth.

Take LinkedIn, for example. One of the company's core values is to “act like an owner. “This is an excellent initiative to empower employees and encourage them to behave and make decisions as it was their company.

At the same time, your sales goals should be laser-focused on quality.

Let's understand what we mean by laser-focused on quality.

  • Bad Goal: To double the number of leads
  • Better Goal: To double the number of leads per month by December 2025.

This gives you a clear deadline for achieving a realistic goal. Having a clear goal will better help you understand what needs to be done. Plus, a little pressure doesn't hurt most salespeople's performance.

#3 Identify and Remove Bottlenecks and Leaks in Your Sales Pipeline.

You want to create the “perfect “pipeline. But before getting there, you'll have to pinpoint bottlenecks and leaks in your sales process.

A bottleneck is when a phase of your sales process is “jammed. For example, “Your leads and prospects get stuck in Stage 1 and never move forward to Stage 2.

To make matters worse, bottlenecks are time-sensitive. So the longer your leads and prospects remain stuck in your funnel, the more challenging it'll become to convert them.

On the other hand, leaks only occur when there's a significant drop off in your conversion rate from one stage of your sales funnel to the next. For instance, if your sales team is good at qualifying leads but cannot move most of them past the demo, it's a leak.

Leaks can be because of technical problems or communication breakdowns between your reps and leads. They can be attributed to bottlenecks in some instances too.

You can fix bottlenecks and leave by analyzing long-term sales data. Consider the following questions:

  • How long does it take for you to close a deal on average?
  • How long do your prospects and leads spend time in the different phases of your sales pipeline?

Identify and break down all the low points of your sales process, and then devise a plan of attack to remove any inefficiencies in your sales funnel.

#4 Track and Analyze Relevant Sales Data

Tracking and analyzing data is a critical aspect of sales force optimization.

Expert Note:
“If you're a manager listening to this, stop tracking prospecting volume. I know you're probably thinking ‘my reps are lazy'. Here's what you need to track, track your prospecting efficiency. See how many touches it takes for a rep to get a meeting and track that number religiously.”
Ryan O’Hara

It'll provide you access to valuable metrics related to your sales process, including what needs doing and what has already been done.

We highly recommend tracking sales data with reliable tools to simplify tasks. For instance, HubSpot Sales Hub is a powerful CRM that has robust sales analytics. It can be your single source of truth to boost unprecedented sales efficiency.

#5 Leverage the Power of Sales Tools and Sales Automation

Repetitive tasks are dull, tedious, and time-consuming. The only thing they do is kill productivity. For context, an average salesperson spends two-thirds of their time on busy work, AKA activities that don't bring any value to prospects or help advance deals to closure.

Basically, useless stuff.

You need to streamline workflow and optimize sales performance. And the only way to do that is by eliminating redundant or unnecessary tasks. You should also ask your sales management to provide the right sales tools to automate any repetitive processes.

Create a sales stack that tells you who and when to call and what content to present to improve sales execution, sales automation, and sales excellence.

You can then use the free time to focus on core selling activities.

#6 Lower Your Churn Rate

Aiming to get more customers is excellent. But this shouldn't be at the cost of your current customers.

Did you know acquiring a new customer is five times costlier than retaining the ones you already have? So when you lower your churn rate, not only do you optimize your sales, but you also ensure more money in your pocket.

Talk about killing two birds with one stone.

But how do you achieve this?

Adopting customer relationship marketing principles is a good starting point to reduce your churn rate. You should frequently check in with your customers to provide post-sales support, but more importantly, understand what solutions they might be looking for in the future.

In sales, relationships, personalization, and customer retention are interconnected. Having meaningful conversations can go a long way in helping you understand what your customers truly want, build long-lasting relationships, and become a better sales professional.

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