Sales are the meat and bones of a business. There’s no way around it. If you don’t meet your sales quotes to make a profit for your business, you’re likely in trouble. However, the inefficiency that still exists in most sales departments is staggering.
Here is a sobering statistic for you: on average, a sales rep only spends 36% of their day selling. 36% is a terrible percentage for a department that holds the responsibility of ensuring your business is profitable.
If life were a classroom, that would mean that most businesses would be failing. And with only 36% of sales representatives’ time being spent on sales, you might be suffering financially.
In fact, how is it people in management ever let a statistic like that come into existence? After all, is it not the responsibility of management to guarantee that each area of the business is running at peak efficiency to maximize profits? Well, there might be issues with how sales are managed, what sales representatives’ responsibilities are, and how they practice their selling tactics—which will be discussed later in this article.
For many companies, most of their revenue comes directly from their sales force, which makes this waste of salespeople’s time more upsetting. And if your business is not one of those companies, you may assume that this statistic only impacts those who deal in direct sales. After all, a sales department may not need to make calls all day to ensure sales in your business.
If you’re a marketer of a channel sales, broker/dealer model, or any other audience that is not captive, why do you need to be worried about (or attempt to improve) this statistic? The answer to that, of course, depends on what they are doing the other 64% of the time.
Some owners or managers may dismiss this premise as unimportant to their business. But even if your sales team is spending more of its time on sales than an abysmal 36%, are you sure that they're spending their time effectively?
The key to staying at the top of your industry is constant improvement. With these essential tips offered by Fusebox One’s financial experts, you may find that your sales department will be running better than ever.
Getting to the Meat of Sales
When entering the selling business initially, any driven person will first become educated on what the best practices of the time are in regard to selling. After that, they’ll continuously learn what selling strategies will help them become the top seller in their industry.
An even more observant person will soon realize that best sales practices go beyond the individual seller but extend into the organizational structure. What should be an obvious fact, is actually one that is forgotten or overlooked by both sellers and management. As marketers, we understand that the old-fashioned “shotgun selling technique” is outdated and no longer works well in the current markets. But the same cannot be said for many people still working in sales.
Sales and marketing are different—obviously. But these differences can extend into how sales deals with and is monitored by any organizational structure. In many sales departments, there is some necessary chaos.
Every step of the selling process cannot be automated or scripted, as this would facilitate unnatural selling practices that would be off-putting to customers. This does not mean that sales reps—especially those that have to drive to meetings or customers directly—shouldn’t be upheld to any structure.
No structure in a workflow can lead to unnecessary chaos. These are things like:
- Taking extended trips for gas when fuel stops can be taken outside of work hours.
- Driving long distances to capitalize on leads, that aren’t directly contributing to sales, or could be contacted in a more efficient way like a phone call or e-mail.
- Not having selling materials or helpful resources organized and accessible.
- Not having essential login information easily assessable.
- And many other inefficiencies that have no purpose in a well-functioning workplace.
While some room for spontaneousness is essential for effective sales, cutting out the superfluous pit-stops and interruptions in sales can help salespeople make better use of their time on the clock. But how do you implement a system that can cut out the nonsense? And what does that have to do with marketing?
Implementing Management Tactics
Above all, this warning about how your sales department might be ineffectually using the time they have on the clock should tell you to take active solutions. This will ensure your business is running effectively.
We here at Fusebox One are fellow marketers. We understand the powerful relationship that exists between the sales and marketing departments. In fact, your marketeers can be the key to organizing what can be constantly un-organizable, but how you ask?
Letting Marketing and Sales Align
Instead of letting marketing and sales exist in their own fields, the world of management is beginning to understand just how interconnected the processes of these two departments are. As marketing becomes more integral to the customer experience, they must work hand in hand with sales to ensure that sellers are doing their best to reach the customers with the right tactics.
To do this data must flow easily between departments and the business must encourage and incentivize communication. Elsewise, you won’t receive all the benefits they come with having marketing and sales on the same page.
Developing Proper Personas
Many benefits come with mixing your marketing data and your sales strategies. One of them is the ability to build more effective sales personas for different kinds of customers and products.
Sometimes the way to the sale is making the conversation with the customer more personable and relatable to their demographic. This may be how peppy or serious you talk about a product depending on who you’re selling it to. You’ll take on a different attitude with a school when trying to sell cheerleading equipment to them than you would talk to a sports team or a mom with triplets.
Where does marketing step in?
Marketing can help you get the data your salespeople need to market themselves, and thus the product, directly to clients. This can be data salespeople learn about in meetings regarding demographic and customer engagement, and it can extend to special resources made by marketing those salespeople can reference.
This can be about the ads a potential customer might have seen and other vital pieces of information a business needs to know about their customers.
These questions include:
- What is our target market?
- What are their issues, and how do we help solve them?
- How can our product meet their needs instead of just wants?
- Where are the people who need this product or service?
Marketing is responsible for a lot of the research that goes into answering these questions, like market research, creating surveys, and getting customer feedback. All of this information can be used by sales to increase the effectiveness of their sales techniques which means making more profits for the business.
The Key: Marketing Assisting in Generating Leads
In the end, the most vital function of marketing is, in essence, finding leads for salespeople. It’s the content marketing produces that attracts customer attention in the first place, but not only that! It’s also often what keeps their attention before they reach out to a sales representative.
Let’s explore this in more depth.
First things first, you want to generate more leads overall. Even if you’re getting decent engagement on your website, you want to increase these numbers or make them more stable. These can both go a long way in increasing the number of sales and return customers you have.
A good general rule you can use to see if you have enough leads is by looking at your lead to customer conversion rate. To keep the math simple, let’s say you have 100 people come to your website, and about 5 of them—so 5%-- turn into customers. If you want to increase that to 15% you have to entice at least 3x more people to become customers. Or, you’ll have increased the number of people you’re currently reaching out to.
There are a few ways to do this. Think about how you can increase the value of your website. Offer eBooks, webinars, or guides that help customers see your business as something that offers them more worth than others. Also, having a variety of landing pages can get more people interested in your website. This is because you’ll find yourself in the path of people with a variety of interests instead of several specific interests.
A great way to ensure the quality of leads is by categorizing leads by how valuable they are to your company. If you’ve done the research, then your marketing department knows exactly what kind of customer you’re trying to get your product or service to. That means that some leads will better fit this category better than others.
Some issues can occur between marketing and sales when marketing gets directly involved in lead generation. One of them is the generation of too many low-quality leads. These leads waste your salespeople’s time—and this whole article is dedicated to maximizing the use of sales representative time, so we don’t want that!
So, what’s the solution? A lead scoring system.
When you get a lead, you also get information about the customer. If they are or aren’t in your industry or if they will obviously benefit from your product or service. By assigning values to your potential leads, you can address new clients that will be more likely to turn into customers than others. This maximizes a salesperson’s time and allows for high-priority clients to get service faster.
If These Strategies Aren’t for You, Try These Rules of Thumb
Your business may not require an overhaul when it comes to how you managed your sales department with marketing as a focus. However, you may still want to know some tips to ensure your sales department's continued effectiveness. These simple rules of thumb can be kept in mind to make sure that, as your company grows, they continue to be as efficient as possible at selling your product.
Keeping it Simple
When it comes to management and outlining workflows, over complications make for confusion. By having your system be as simple as possible, employees and salespeople will understand what they can and cannot do. They will also understand what is expected of them over time. This will limit questions and will also make it clear when someone has stepped out of line.
In other ways, simplification will help with increasing the quality of communications that occur between sales and marketing. Sometimes, especially when sales and marketing are first becoming more integrated, they can still remain separate in key aspects. Marketing may share their information but not take the opportunity to learn things from sales, or vice versa.
The critical part of a successful sales enablement system—or a similar plan—is direct continued communication that provides valuable information to both parties.
Overall, this helps ensure that both marketing and sales are dealing with the reality of the market, rather than continue operating in their own worlds.
Make the essential data both teams need easy to find. This simplifies the resource gathering processes on both sides. Say, if data collection through your CRM is crucial to determining what sales personas are the best fit for your organization see if you can simplify the fields. Can you find a CRM like Hub Spot that will automate the sourcing of company information off the web?
Choosing to use organizational methods and programs that address these data-sharing issues will make your new sales initiative far more effective.
Find Ways to Minimize Outside Platform Usage and Logins
Now, we’ve just recommended you use a program to help streamline how data gets to and from marketers and sales representatives. However, as is with all things, moderation is key.
Many businesses can have over a dozen programs that their employees have to juggle to get their jobs done. This can cause issues if one of those programs stops functioning properly or is simply not as useful as you’d thought it would be when you invested in it. That’s alright. Experimentation is good! What’s not good is stringing along and paying for a program that simply isn’t adding any value to your company and has a diminishing ROI.
Even if you can (or can’t) eliminate some programs from your businesses roster, consider investing in an SSO (single sign-on) service. A single sign-on service will help eliminate a lot of the little time wasters that can occur during the day as your employees have to log in and out of the programs that they need to work.
By streamlining the process with an SSO, you can cut out having to remember complex passwords, resetting passwords for forgetful employees, and stop being so hypervigilant about password security. When you have a one-and-done sign-in system, it’s easier to control who has access to your files.
While these programs can be essential for the correct functioning of your business, they can end up being a distraction and a waste of time and money. Your business isn’t about using programs, it’s about selling goods and services, so remember to not get caught up in these parts, rather look at the whole business when making program decisions.
Always as yourself, is this product or program really worth the investment? If the answer is no, then it’s time to move on and leave outdated and unnecessary businesses elements behind.
Make a Hub
This is the biggest reason why so many businesses fail to effectively implement a sales enablement system that integrates marketing and sales tactics into each other’s workflows.
All this data that both teams have needs someplace to go. And if the information is difficult to find, then the benefit each department should be getting by communicating is lessened. At worst, it could even decrease the overall effectiveness of your employees even further.
If you have a database, you want it to be as well organized and as easily searchable as Google is. You want your employees to reliably be able to search the archives with specific search terms and be able to find the information they’re looking for.
If this is not the case with your archive, then this could be what is contributing to your sales team only spending 36% of their time actually selling.
This problem often occurs with marketing departments are using digital asset management as their sales enablement. But what is well organized for marketing needs is not as organized as it could be for sales. This is because these two groups need the same data for different purposes, so both needs should be considered as more assets are added or when reorganizing any archive.
For example, a sales rep should not have to spend their morning looking through servers and other platforms to find a brochure. All while constantly filtering through materials that have nothing to do with their needs. With an easy search engine with assets that are carefully labeled, your employees should be able to find the resources they need faster. From a script, a logo, to a business card, it should all be in one easy-to-find spot.
Getting Back to the Bottom Line
Sales are the backbone that supports the whole business by facilitating profits and reaching out to customers. That means you want your sales department and representatives to focus as much of their time on sales as possible.
Unfortunately, so many businesses are not taking full advantage of their salespeople’s time. Lack of management or business inefficiency can stop them from completing their most vital function.
While a digital asset management system is a great way to get your business content in one easy-to-use place for marketing teams, when you integrate marketing and sales, it’s not enough to simply give your sales associates access to this resource. This can create ineffective data communication between departments and make finding the right resources more time-consuming.
Instead, focus on making a strong Intranet for your business that makes all data and resources a sales rep needs easy to find and convenient. Find a CRM that can automate data collection and organize their tasks. Then consider how you can downsize the number of programs your business is currently using. Once you know that your business has what it needs to function without wasting resources, consider using an SSO to help streamline your daily operations.
Or utilize one of the many other tips shared in this article!
Get in front of more customers and maximize profits when you consider how elements of marketing and marketing management can extend to your sales department. When these two elements begin working in tandem, each can better reach the customers and make effective strategies for better sales.
So, stop wasting time and resources and start enjoying a business that has highly effective salespeople leading the charge to future success.
Fusebox One Has Tools to Help
If you’re a business and you need help integrating a sales enablement strategy or a marketing asset management system, Fusebox One has the tools to help. We offer a wide variety of programs and services that can help businesses that are just starting or companies that have existed for a while and are looking to modernize.
Fusebox One has experts on hand that are ready to help you with brand management or even commercial printing endeavors.
Don’t hesitate! See if we can help you today!