6 Proven Strategies to Maximize Sales Without Adding Headcount
Today’s economic reality has companies looking carefully at budgets, especially regarding staffing. Yet, despite the challenging headwinds, these same organizations ask their sales leaders to drive increased revenue. Let’s look at what managers can do to increase sales without adding headcount by focusing on six proven strategies.
#1 Make Sales Coaching a Priority
Sales coaching is one of the key ways a manager can improve sales team performance. Industry research shows that coaching can help increase revenue by over 20%. Yet, managers are often too busy for productive coaching sessions or confuse sales coaching with having one-on-one meetings.
Effective sales coaching requires the manager to be patient, listen, and not be so quick to “fix” the problem. It takes a collaborative approach with a long-term perspective that engages each sales rep to provide feedback and take ownership of their development. When the salesperson has input on improvement areas, they are more likely to commit to making the necessary changes that improve their selling skills and increase performance.
#2 Take Control of Your Time
High-performing sales managers should spend 25% to 40% of their time coaching their teams. Most frontline sales managers, however, believe they are too busy to coach their team. For most over-worked sales managers
That is why evaluating how you spend your days is essential to identify distractions and eliminate time-wasting activities. Use this exercise from Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Successful People” to help you work smarter by prioritizing your time.
Another way to take back your calendar is to stop solving all your sales reps’ problems and teach them to resolve things independently. The SBAR framework is a helpful model to teach your team to take ownership of their problems.
#3 Create a Winning Sales Playbook
Creating a Sales Playbook (or improving an existing one) is helpful for improved problem-solving and closing more deals. This valuable tool contains a consistent framework, common terminology, key sales processes, case studies, and more.
The benefits of a Sales Playbook include ensuring your team knows the most effective sales methods and techniques, learns the best practices, and stays aware of industry insights. On top of that, having an easy-to-access resource guide helps new reps quickly get up to speed.
While it may seem time-consuming, many playbook components may already exist across Marketing and Sales and only need to be organized in a central location.
#4 Focus on Your Current Customers
If you want to do more with less, you must implement strategies allowing your team to laser-focus on sales opportunities with the biggest potential to generate results. Existing customer relationships typically offer significant growth potential with shorter sales cycles since sales reps are not starting from scratch.
Most accounts have opportunities to grow and expand their sales presence. This includes growth through selling additional products or service offerings and expanding your presence into other business lines, departments, and divisions.
Mapping accounts helps sales reps identify the key decision-makers and stakeholders to create a more targeted and effective growth strategy, such as developing customer coaches who can share insights on corporate priorities and provide referrals to the stakeholders you identified.
#5 Target Accounts that Meet Your ICP
To succeed in a recession, sales reps must engage with the right clients to develop compelling solutions that address real business needs.
Focusing on customers that meet your ideal client profile helps save time on opportunities with a low probability of closing that often serve as a distraction, which is vital when faced with limited resources.
As a starting point, focus on accounts in industries where you have been successful and personas that represent key influencer or decision-making roles. Narrowing the lens helps reps become more purposeful about whom they talk to and how they plan for these conversations.
#6 Qualify Opportunities in Your Pipeline
When sales professionals spend too much time working on unqualified opportunities, it takes valuable time away from the ones with better solution alignment. That is why conducting an opportunity analysis and focusing on higher-quality opportunities is essential before investing more time and energy in deals that aren’t likely to close.
As a starting point, consider BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, and Timing) to qualify opportunities with an emphasis on “Need” first. If the “Need” isn’t compelling, the opportunity is not likely to close, especially in a challenging economy.
Tracking velocity is also essential to help avoid a bloated pipeline. Unfortunately, many opportunities tend to stall or lie dormant, so removing unqualified leads from the pipeline helps your team use their time more effectively.
Navigating economic challenges and boosting sales performance without increasing headcount requires a strategic approach.
Managers can foster long-term development and engagement among their teams by prioritizing sales coaching and effective time management with frameworks like SBAR, which help streamline efforts and eliminate distractions.
Creating a comprehensive Sales Playbook will equip your team with a consistent framework, industry insights, and best practices. This, combined with a focus on existing customers, allows you to tap into additional growth potential and shorter sales cycles.
Lastly, laser-targeting ideal client profiles (ICPs) narrows your sales efforts to the most promising opportunities. Further qualifying those opportunities in the pipeline ensures that they will turn into viable deals, saving precious time and resources.
About David Jacoby
As a Managing Director at Sales Readiness Group, A Part of SBI, David helps large B2B sales organizations improve sales performance. Previously, David was a Principal at Linear Partners, a sales consulting firm providing sales strategy, sales operations, talent management, and interim management services to emerging growth companies. In the past, David has served as Vice President of Business Affairs of Xylo, Inc., where he was responsible for the Company's business development, sales operations, legal affairs, and financing activities.