As a sales rep, you live and breathe one thing: your sales quota. If you’ve been struggling to hit your quota for the month, and your performance isn’t as consistent as you would like it to be, it’s time to switch your sales strategy.
In this article, we’ve curated five tips that you can use to hit your sales quotas each and every time.
1. Take notes as if your life depends on it
If you want to increase the chances of meeting your sales objectives, it’s important to build a strong foundation by taking notes efficiently. Mark my words: the way you take notes can make a world of difference.
Say you have a conversation with your lead and you ask them about their company size, team size, and how soon they’re looking to purchase a product.
At the end of the conversation, you’ve got to rush to a meeting, and you forget to note down their responses. The next time you speak to your lead, you can’t quite remember their answer to the third question… so you’ve got no choice but to ask them the question again, even though you know you’ve brought it up before.
Guess what will happen? That’s right; your lead will perceive you as someone who’s careless and/or insincere, and this will hurt your chances of closing a deal.
But taking notes isn’t simply about remembering the details of your deal (or potential deal). The secret sauce lies in noting down seemingly irrelevant bits of information (especially personal information!) so you can build a rapport with your lead.
For instance, if your lead mentions in passing that they can’t do a meeting next week because they’re on leave to attend their child’s piano recital, the next time you call them up, you can ask them how the piano recital went. They’ll be touched that you remembered, and this scores you brownie points. Yes, technically speaking, this says nothing about your work ethic or how you operate in a professional context, but the Halo Effect will kick in and sway the odds in your favor.
2. Qualify leads from the start
Most of the sales reps I know fall into two camps:
- They try and reach out to as many leads as possible, and widen their pool of potential customers
- They qualify and shortlist leads quickly, and focus all their energy on a few select leads
Which of the options helps you build your sales pipeline more effectively? If you think it is the second, you’re right!
I know that many sales reps believe in the adage “more is more”. On an intuitive level, it makes sense to want to reach out to a wider audience. But think about it carefully, and you’ll realize that this only applies to sales reps who have plenty of time on their hands, and can afford to chase every lead that enters their system.
If you have the capacity, it doesn’t hurt to spend your time nurturing your leads, regardless of their quality. But if you’re pressed for time, it’s worthwhile to spend time engaging five qualified leads as opposed to spreading yourself thin over 20 unqualified leads.
At the end of the day, you don’t want to be in a situation where you’ve invested weeks, or even months, in building up a relationship with a lead, only to find that their budget is way smaller than you expected, and that they can’t afford to buy your product. So, make sure you qualify those leads early. This way, you can hone in on the leads that you know can convert, and count towards your sales quotas.
Qualifying questions include:
- What’s your budget?
- Who signs off on this budget?
- How does the decision process work?
- What’s the most important factor that influences your decision?
- How soon are you looking to purchase a solution?
- What other solutions are you evaluating?
3. Track and optimize your calling efforts
As a sales rep, you’ll probably be making a lot of calls all day, including multiple cold calls to prospective customers. How do you do this in a way that increases the chances that you’ll hit your sales quotas? Simple – track your results, and try to identify patterns. This way, you can optimize your calling efforts and increase the chances of reaching your leads.
Interestingly enough, if you Google “best time for cold calling”, you’ll see a bunch of articles with conflicting information. For example, Freshsales says that the best time to cold call is between 9am and 10am, and between 2pm and 4pm. While CallHippo says that it’s best to cold call on a Wednesday, between 4pm and 5pm.
Why the variation? Well, the optimal cold calling times are bound to be different based on which industry you’re in. Bearing this in mind, you shouldn’t just blindly follow one of the “best practices” established by another company, hoping that this will help you hit your sales quota. Instead, look at your own track record and results, and figure out what works for you.
4. Tailor your approach to your lead
After you’ve successfully contacted your lead via email, should you schedule a call, or request for a face-to-face meeting?
Again, sales reps tend to fall into two camps here. Some say that scheduling a call is the way to go because it’s less aggressive, it involves less commitment, and there’s a higher chance that your lead will agree. On the other hand, others say that you should always spring for a face-to-face meeting. Their rationale? It’s easier to build a rapport, and meeting someone in person will allow you to move the conversation forward effectively.
While it’s tempting to come up with a checklist of best practices to follow, you have to remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. As such, you shouldn’t be using the same approach with every lead you speak to.
Here’s an example: if your lead is a founder or CEO, there’s a 99% chance (actually, make that 100%) that they’ve got a million things on their plate, and they won’t be able to carve out time for a face-to-face meeting. In this case, suggest a call instead.
If your lead does want to move things forward quickly and has expressed interest in getting their entire team to meet with you (so they can get everyone’s buy-in), go ahead and opt for an in-person meeting. It’s all about reading the situation and being flexible.
5. Address the discount issue right off the bat
In this day and age, most B2B buyers are pretty savvy, and they know that there’s a good chance that they’ll snag a discount if they wait till the end of a month to make their purchase. Obviously, this makes it tough for sales reps to plan, and hit their sales quotas.
How do you deal with this? You can lay your cards on the table, and address the discount issue right off the bat. Tell your lead that there’s a limited number of discounts you can give, and that you’ll push to get them the maximum amount allowed if they can commit to purchasing by a certain date.
Alternatively, you can also bring up their goals and objectives, and peg their potential purchase to whatever projects they have in the pipeline. Say your lead wants to have their new CRM up and running in time for a large-scale event they’ve planned. Work backward, and factor in the time they’ll need for installation and training. This gives your lead more context and makes it easier for them to say yes.
It is time to stop being a slave to your sales quotas. With these tips, you’ll be able to engage with leads more effectively, and hit your quotas with plenty of time to spare. Now, back to the daily grind!