How do we increase sales? Use these eight focus points of sales ops

In our last post we discussed selling time and suggested its importance for the entire sales organization. In this piece, we’re going to cover how an increase in selling time can help address a common question we get from leadership, “How do we increase sales?”

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Here are eight areas that every company must be focused on to increase selling time:

  • Analytics – In today’s selling environment, sales reporting is key to a sales team’s success whether that’s product, pipeline, or behavior related. However, it can be challenging to organize and produce actionable reporting whether using excel or other tools. It can also be a challenge to remove the reporting responsibility from the sales manager or reps. Now it’s easier said than done, but to push additional selling time, an organization has to move that task out of the hands of sales and into sales operations. If your organization hasn’t reached the sales ops tipping point, find someone that can wear that hat, but it can’t be your sales manager or rep.
  • Training – In terms of increasing selling time, training might be a tough one if your team doesn’t currently receive training. If you do, there are a couple ways. One, take it out of the hands of the sales manager. They should be selling too. Hire a consultant or an internal trainer. Two, make the most of what your team is learning with a reinforcement tool like TrackLeft. TrackLeft’s work-paced approach will keep the training content in front of your reps while they conduct sales related activities.
  • Tools – So many tools. Find the ones that your team supports in using and doesn’t complain about. To drive selling time, focus on integrations of email, calendar, and CRM. Also, proposal generators, e-signature (concord), and marketing content management. Document templates work too.
  • Client onboarding – Key to the success of any company is the process in which your prospects become customers. Whether this onboarding process resides within an excel document or is driven by workflows within your CRM, the focus should be towards reducing the amount of time that sales is involved. With that said, sales will always be involved from a relationship standpoint, but if operations can set up the automation of contracts, forms, delivery items, etc., the time to success is improved and so is selling time.
  • Quota management – The creation of quotas is a pain. Most companies struggle to create and deliver quotas to their team on a consistent basis. As it relates to an increase in selling time, the method of creation has to be supported, understood, and simple. Your team can’t be trying to figure what and how they’re getting paid every commissionable time period. If your company isn’t to a point of working with a firm like xactly, just focus on simple to create the extra selling time for your managers and reps.
  • Compensation management – If your organization doesn’t have a tool like xactly, a formal sales ops department, or if finance doesn’t maintain the comp structure, keep your comp structure simple, clear, and manageable. This will allow your sales manager to spend more time with his or her team whether that’s in coaching them or trying to win more deals. And not buried in comp reporting.
  • Support – What does your sales team get frustrated with? Fix that stuff. Do they hate forms? What about expenses and receipts? Focus on what they consider the little things. It will add up.
  • Process and communication – It all starts and ends with process and communication. Do you have a refined sales process? And not just the prospecting or contract phase. What are the mini-steps? Are they defined? Does everyone use them in every deal? Don’t bake these in the home office. Get in the field and know what goes on. If you know exactly what occurs in the field, you can apply that knowledge to things like the quota and comp plan. Sales supports and understands the process and strategy because it’s fair and equitable. And now they’re excited. So they sell more. Organic selling time.

Don’t wait

For the readers that have a sales ops department or the elements are placed throughout the organization, you’ve probably started tracking, measuring, and improving your team’s selling time. For those of you that don’t, start with making “selling time” a company focus or value.

If you’re interested in how TrackLeft can help with selling time or other sales initiatives, please email us at sales@trackleft.com

 

We’re trying to build a company here. And it’s software. Both are tough.

Stay tuned.

 

Team TrackLeft

5 Ways Your CRM Impacts Selling Time

Perception

Roughly 75% of businesses today have invested in a CRM. It is assumed that most of those companies set out to simply track contacts and to move off of Excel as their choice of record keeping. Or in other words, they were looking to satisfy the purpose of a data repository. The conversation probably didn’t start with, “Man, we’ve got to give our team a better tool to close more deals.” As a sales operations guy, I hope I’m dead wrong with that assumption.

Selling Time

There is an interesting challenge in today’s sales environment of increasing selling time and achieving company CRM goals.

While the CRM’s general concept of managing one’s contacts and sales opportunities is necessary at some level, sales professionals are having issue with how their employers are addressing sales performance management through the CRM.

The communication between the sales professional and manager can sound like:

  • “You’re telling me I have to enter activities.” – Sales behaviors and activities are important for the success of a sales professional, but the time it takes to enter certain activities into the CRM software is painful. The better CRM’s reduce the amount of time spent by the sales professional is this module of the software.
  • “Yes, my pipeline has been updated, both leads and opportunities.” – Sales leadership should have visibility of what their team is working on, but the time it takes to input the information into the CRM can be lengthy or proper workflows aren’t set up to drive consistent data.
  • “CRM usage is part of my commissions?” – To drive usage and data, some companies create commissionable KPI’s that are based on CRM activities and completion. This is tough when the sales team doesn’t believe that the tool leads them to more closed business.
  • “We have more training?” – This isn’t to suggest that CRM training isn’t important or necessary. What I’m suggesting is that maybe the tools are a little complicated if we need to train our team as much as we do.
  • “When should I talk to prospects? It feels like I’m spending all my time updating CRM.” – It’s challenging for leadership to walk this line of required information and hitting quota.

The common theme is reduced selling time. As we talk to clients and prospects it’s still surprising to hear comments related to the above. Surprising because of the exploding markets in sales enablement and sales acceleration. Isn’t the core of those markets to increase selling time?

The Irony

Funny, TrackLeft is one of these sales tools that falls into sales enablement or acceleration. And supports a CRM.

TrackLeft is a digital playbook for sales that reinforces the methodology or process that is followed by the sales organization or entrepreneur. Contact us at sales@trackleft.com to learn how we’re increasing selling time.

 

We’re trying to build a company here. And it’s software. Both are tough.

Stay tuned.

 

Team TrackLeft

After further review, the play call stands….sort of

cropped-tl-300-46-1.pngHey, we’re back! It’s been several weeks since we’ve posted. Our apologies.

During the last few weeks we took the time to review the path we were headed down. We started with the idea that the sales professional needed a better way to follow the contents of a sales process. And we’re still going in that direction. However, it appears there is room for us to help different areas of a business with the concept of work-paced learning. Stay tuned as we’ll begin to share about those other segments.

We also evaluated the look and feel of the tool, which led to making functionality changes, which led to what ifs. Bottom line, we got some new stuff coming, but the core will still be there.

 

We’re trying to build a company here. And it’s software. Both are tough.

Stay tuned.

Team TrackLeft

Welcome to the Team

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For most of us, we’ve started a new job and were handed an agenda for the first week in addition to a checklist for your first three months. The agenda usually includes items like:

  • Meet with HR
  • Meet with manager
  • Team meeting
  • Company history
  • Tour of office
  • Department training
  • Executive lunch
  • Intro to software applications
  • Meet with mentor

The 90 day checklist has goals or items like:

  • Product knowledge
  • Budget review
  • Set up on all applications
  • Compliance training
  • Department processes

For Sales

In addition to the points above, how do we prepare sales to do their job? In most cases, sales is taken through the standard onboarding, given a laptop with the appropriate software, shown where to find marketing material, emailed the forms to do business, and given them a list of accounts and leads.

How do they learn the process?

How do they know the words to say?

How do they know what’s worked before?

Our expectations lead us to giving them the tools and sending them off into the field to grow the business.

However, every company has a unique history of how they are using the current process and saying the right words to earn business and grow the business. How is that tribal knowledge transferred? What if they had a tool that shared this history and process with our new hire in the first week? Or maybe even before they started? And they could apply it to each conversation and start selling right out of the gate.

Curious in how TrackLeft can help? Contact us at sales@trackleft.com

 

We’re trying to build a company here. And it’s software. Both are tough.

Stay tuned.

 

Team TrackLeft

Are we there yet?

We’ve all gotten in the car without directions, thinking we’d figure it out on our own. Sometimes it’s fun to wing it, or not. We make it there, it’s just the amount of time it takes that differs.

To plan a trip 15 years ago we would’ve used a triptik. For you young readers, ask your parents.

triptik1

Now we use a GPS with the help from an annoyingly calm voice that tells you when to turn, which also reduces the amount of profanity coming from your passenger because you missed a turn and now you’re on a turnpike going 35 miles in the wrong direction. Not every trip is as easy as driving up I-75.

Whether a triptik or GPS, someone else has done the work for you. Someone has told you where to turn, when. However, sometimes you have to go left to go forward. Sometimes you have to back track to be sure you get it right and reach your destination. At least you knew how to get there.

What if you had that sales road map every time you talked with a prospect or client? What if that road map told you which steps to take and which words to say? I think it’s fair to say that your rate of success would go up.

TrackLeft acts as that road map helping you reach your destination more consistently.

 

We’re trying to build a company here. And it’s software. Both are tough.

Stay tuned.

Team TrackLeft

Do you have a sales Trapper Keeper?

So in the spirit of Back to School season, we thought we’d talk about the Trapper Keeper.

Trapper Keeper

You know they still exist? And they’re back and better than ever. The next thing you know kids are going to be wearing back packs with one strap again and Girbaud, Z Cavaricci, and I.O.U are cool once more. Is this when I say, “I digress”?

For most of us (student or parent at the time), it was the binder where you kept everything for all classes or most.

Binder in the Cloud

Sales professionals are busy. The good ones are methodical about their routine, organized, and detailed as hell. Some of us struggle to stay 100% organized. By no means, was this just discovered. There are several markets that help the sales professional do well: CRM, sales enablement, sales acceleration, e-learning, business intelligence, sales intelligence, and some more.

It can be overwhelming for the sales leader, sales ops manager, or business owner to put the right tools in front of their team. There are so many flipping tools. And yes, we’re one of them.

However, here at TrackLeft we’re trying to bring back the simplicity and organization of the binder. And maybe even be that binder.

Whether it’s the notes you take during the sales bootcamp, weekly training, or a client meeting, you need a place for them to go. What’s your binder? What do you use for your “sales homework” before a meeting? Where do you keep the draft of that essay (the talk tracks, the 30 second commercial)?

T minus

Schools around the country are starting school over the coming weeks. As someone whose mother was a teacher and wife is a teacher, I know the chaos that is going to ensue.

So go find your binder (whatever that might be), try to get organized, and enjoy the ride because here we go again…it’s Back to School.

 

We’re trying to build a company here. And it’s software. Both are tough. And so is teaching…so say thank you to those that teach your kids or the kids of the next generation.

Stay tuned.

 

Team TrackLeft

The Prototype

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Hello.

Some share the opinion that a prototype is a must no matter how much funding exists. This view is simple, the prototype allows you to quickly present and get feedback.

Others share the view that it’s a waste of time. Why not build the real thing from the get-go?

For us, there was a blend of the two theories. Luckily, we ran with the prototype approach and we were able to utilize the prototype for the first version.

This is how we started.

Our First Pitches

To tell our story initially, we had a few slides and some wireframes.

Our vision of TrackLeft at the time:

TrackLeft believes that an organization’s CRM is not a sales process nor does it consistently drive a sales person’s success. TrackLeft seeks to be the tool that drives sales process repetition, data collection, sales team success, sales objectives, and business results.

The problems addressed:

  • CRM usage rates are low
  • CRM is not a sales process
  • CRM data collection is inconsistent
  • CRM does not increase win rates

The solution presented:

  • Tool is a sales acceleration and sales process management platform
  • Step by step configuration of sales process
  • Provides a personal sales coach perspective with talk tracks
  • Forces sales professional to capture data during sales call
  • Visibility for sales leadership and onboarding teams
  • Role play tool
  • Speeds up new hire onboarding

Today

TrackLeft today isn’t much different…I know, it was only four months ago

Our vision of TrackLeft today:

TrackLeft believes that an organization’s CRM is not a sales process nor does it consistently drive a sales person’s success. As a work-paced training platform, TrackLeft will allow the sales professional to learn or reinforce their dedicated sales process or methodology. TrackLeft seeks to be the tool that drives sales process repetition, data collection, sales team success, sales objectives, and business results.

The problems addressed:

  • Low win rates
  • Lengthy ROI (time or money) on sales process/methodology training
  • CRM is not a sales process
  • Clarity of whether sales process is being used
  • Client conversations still on paper
  • Time to onboard new hires with dedicated sales process
  • Physical playbook or notes that represent sales process and talk tracks

The solution presented:

  • Tool is a sales acceleration and sales process management platform
  • Step by step configuration of sales process to win more accounts
  • Quicker ROI on training
  • Ability to know if a process is being used by sales professional – easier to coach
  • Provides a personal sales coach perspective with talk tracks
  • Forces sales professional to capture data during sales call
  • Notes within each step – Visibility for sales leadership and client onboarding teams
  • Pre-call planning and Role play tool
  • Speeds up new hire onboarding – learning occurs on day one of talking to prospects

 

We’re trying to build a company here. And it’s software. Both are tough.

Stay tuned.

 

Team TrackLeft