Salesforce Best Practices for Sales Reps
- Sales is a constant work in progress. Customer demands are fluid, competitors are disruptive, and management always wants more from the sales team. So, even when sales programs are working, it's smart to be improving.
- For most companies, their Salesforce application is an under-utilized technology. Research published in the CRM Benchmark Report found that companies, on average, use less than 23 percent of this application's capabilities. That leaves a lot of upside potential to use more of the technology you already have to ratchet up top line revenue growth.
- Salesforce best practices for sales reps advance the application to improve staff performance and achievements.
5 Powerful Salesforce Best Practices for Sales Reps
For many companies, their Salesforce implementation plan was designed to capture customer data and deliver simple reporting. Two important tasks for sure. But only a small portion of the application's capabilities.
Here are 5 high impact Salesforce best practices for sales reps to accelerate the most important performance outcomes and at the same time improve user adoption, software utilization and technology ROI.
Sales & Marketing Alignment
Sales reps wants more and better leads. Marketing wants revenue attribution credit. They both get what they want with sales and marketing alignment. This best practice is achieved when the Salesforce (SFDC) application integrates and automates the lead acquisition, lead management and lead conversion processes for both marketing and sales organizations.
SFDC should calculate lead scores, transfer qualified leads to the sales team, measure lead-to-opportunity duration and conversions and return stalled leads back to marketing for continued nurturing. It should then go a step further and measure sales and marketing performance results pursuant to a Service Level Agreement. These efforts will reduce the hidden but very real lead leakage problem, grow the pipeline and increase sales conversions.
Alignment also grows company revenues. Forrester Research reports that companies with aligned sales and marketing departments achieve an average of 32 percent annual revenue growth while less aligned companies earn an average 7 percent revenue decline.
"B2B companies inability to align marketing and sales costs 10 percent or more of annual revenue." — IDC
Sales Methodologies Increase Conversions
SFDC can sequence sales steps but that's not really going to help you sell better. Well, that is, unless you integrate a sale methodology within the app.
A sale methodology aligns the sellers sales process with the buyers purchase process. That shifts the sales strategy from what you sell to how you sell. Below is example using the Challenger Sale methodology.
Research published in the Sales Excellence Report reveals that sales reps with optimized sale methodologies achieve an 11 percent higher sales win rate than those with informal sales methods.
Sales success is further increased when an optimized sale methodology is integrated with a predictable sales process and SFDC technology. These three components create the sales trifecta and increase sales win rates 6 percent above sale methodologies alone.
According to authors Bob Kantin and Michael Nick in their book, Why Johnny Can't Sell, sellers that use a formal sales method are up to 40 percent more successful than those who do not.
Strategic Account Management to Grow Customer Share
SFDC has lots of customer data. But that data has little value until it is organized and contributes to a business goal.
Growing customer share and lifetime value are very important business goals that can be enabled with CRM software and customer data.
For most companies, a minority of customers deliver most company revenues and profits. These customers are the company's strategic accounts. And even with their larger spend, they offer plenty of financial upside growth if correctly pursued.
Strategic Account Management (SAM) is a proven approach to increase revenues and customer share from key customers. It also contributes to deeper customer relationships and increased retention.
You can configure SFDC for SAM with a strategic account plan that identifies future sale opportunities, schedules the actions to realize those opportunities, and applies customer data to make the plan highly personalized and contextual.
The Account Plan is a system facilitated and dynamic forecast. It aligns the company's products or services with the customer's vision and goals. It identifies upsell and cross-sell opportunities over an extended horizon to help customers achieve their evolving priorities.
Use SFDC to Improve Salesperson Productivity
Most salespeople will tell you they spend more time on administrative activities and internal meetings than selling to customers. Most sales managers already know that but are unsure how to take care of activities and permit sales reps to spend more time with customers.
There is no single answer, but there is a proven 3 step response. Business process design, technology automation and sales analytics are the three tools to save salespeople time, reallocate time from low to higher value activities, and increase salesperson productivity.
There is no sense in automating processes before they are effective, so business process (re)design is a precursor to the other two. Popular tools that bring structure and acceleration to this activity include Agile Value Stream Mapping and the Component Business Model.
Your technology can then be applied to automate sales processes and deliver supporting analytics. Most default dashboards look good but don't get sustained adoption because they deliver generic information. But these dashboards are easily modified to deliver buyer digital footprints, sale cycle insights, competitive intelligence and much more, which then makes them indispensable.
A good SFDC or Tableau dashboard helps sales reps prioritize information based on what is most important at any point in time. It displays what should be done, in a sequenced order, to aid time management, create a work rhythm cadence and maximize staff productivity.
Use Einstein for Guided Selling
SFDC Einstein can automate and bring highly relevant insights and recommendations to your sales strategy, sale opportunity actions, sales cycle interventions and a variety of other selling execution activities.
Einstein provides the intelligence for guided selling. It fuels prescriptive sales processes that replicate the actions of the top sellers so that other reps can achieve similar results. It accelerates sales actions and decision making. AI can suggest relevant and personalized Next Best Offer suggestions, such as upsell, cross-sell or bundle recommendations, or next best action based on sales cycle dynamics.
Einstein is the app to shift CRM from being a repository of data to a provider of data-driven recommendations and insights. Data is the fuel, Einstein is the engine, and insights are the destination.
Each of these Salesforce best practices for sales reps advances the application for continuous improvements to user objectives such as productivity and personal performance outcomes; customer objectives such as improved customer experiences; and company objectives such as increased customer acquisitions, share and retention.
These 5 Salesforce optimization examples are intended to show how expanding SFDC can deliver significant and sustained performance improvements. But these are only 5 examples. There are dozens more to explore. Things like social selling, configure-price-quote automation, omni-channel customer engagement, internal collaboration tools and mobility to name only a few.