Here are my 5 simplest ideas to quickly improve sales performance.  They don’t solve bigger problems, but they usually work — and work quickly.

  • Concentrate leads in those who can close. If you have a rep or two that just can’t close, that doesn’t work in the early days. Leads are too precious. Let them go. Not to save money, but to concentrate the leads you do have in those that can close them.  After 10 reps or so, it often becomes a bodies / numbers game on some level.  You do need “quota capacity” as you scale.  But at least until then, you’re better off with 5 reps that can hit and exceed quota than 10 reps where half or more are struggling.  Once you have a great VP of Sales, you can let her own the whole number and figure it out.  Decide who to hire, when, and how.  But fewer, better reps is the way to go for almost all of us at least until we have a strong VP of Sales.  Because the best reps close 2x-9x more than “ordinary reps”.  They really do.  That math here.
  • Be more involved as the CEO with sales. Prospects and customers love to talk to the CEO.  They love it.  If you get more involved, at least in bigger deals, you will close more. A top mistake I see CEOs make is to scale back the amount of time they spend in sales once they hire a few reps. It doesn’t work that way. You never get that time back. 😉 It’s just, the reps now do more of the grunt work. But you still have to be out there. Zooming with prospects and customers, at least the bigger ones.  And visit as many in person as you can.
  • Build them better collateral and get them more air cover. Most sales reps are pretty bad at building sales decks, tear sheets, etc. They can do it, but it’s pretty awful.  Most sales reps don’t know how to put on a webinar for prospects and customers. Do more marketing for them.  Help them on more deals.  A lot of reps sort of panic when deals get harder to close, as they have recently for many.  Give them more support.
  • Put an SLA in place. Make sure every lead is called back — fast. Prospects inbound when they have a need. Get back to them ASAP. Get back to them right now, ideally. Time kills deals, on all levels.
  • Pay more — per deal closed. Are you paying enough per deal? It’s OK to overpay per deal in the early days, when sales is harder. As long as the sales rep is profitable, or even break even, that may be enough. Everyone needs to build up their confidence and earn a fair wage.   Later, reps need to bring in 3x-5x what they take home.  But not necessarily in the early days.

Why a Great Rep Can Close 9x More Than a Poor Rep, and Even 2.5x More Than a Good Rep

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