Looking to reach a lofty sales goal? Chances are you are using your power of influence to make that goal a reality, right? Those influential powers you are drawing on to meet that goal likely took hold in your life when you were a youngster and have since continued to evolve well into your adulthood, affecting everything from humdrum choices like what to eat for dinner to more significant choices like where to open a new business location.
In our youth, we likely first discovered our power to influence as we begged our parents to buy us that beautiful, red Schwinn bicycle. As we got older, we might have used that influence within our group of teenage peers. As adults, our personal and professional lives often revolve around influence. In business, I now use my persuasive skills to recruit employees and encourage workplace motivation, especially when acquiring new accounts. With that understanding of the power of influence, especially in sales, it’s imperative to not compromise your integrity. Yes, use your best influential tactics, but don’t sell out. By following these three business strategies, you can achieve success in sales without selling out.
1. Protect commissions, even at the expense of sales incentives. Traditional sales incentives, like iPads, TVs, concert tickets and vacation packages, for example, may be fun short-term motivators, but when it comes to long-term success, commissions should always be protected and even, when possible, increased. When trying to build a business during the depths of a recession, my company’s own sales vice president eliminated those traditional sales incentives, explaining to employees that the intent was to ultimately preserve commissions while still responding to budget concerns. Not only did our salespeople respect that decision, but they were instantly motivated to sell harder and better.
Looking for other ways to increase the power of commission? Consider lowering your base salary, employing a 90/10 commission ratio, and developing a tiered structure to incentivize your sales teams while further adding to the company’s bottom line.
2. Invest in your customer support team. It’s often understood that customer service is your best secret weapon for retaining customers, but investments into that support team can also lead to additional sales opportunities. Vanessa Quigley, co-founder of Chatbooks, an app that transforms Instagram images into photobooks, is quick to credit their non-traditional customer support staff for their growing success.
With more than 100,000 subscribers, Chatbooks utilizes a pool of working moms, located around the globe, to field questions from their customers. Dubbed the “Momforce,” these women are not only employees—they were first some the app’s most loyal customers. Because of that loyalty, these women are actively solving customer problems while also using their influential power to secure the company’s brand that, in turn, results in increased sales.
While it may seem tempting to cut customer support teams when fighting to make plan at the end of the fiscal year, those teams can be trained to not only keep hard-won customers, but they may eventually be responsible for renewals, add-ons and upsells. In fact, at our company, we give commissions to all employees based on the company’s overall performance. This encourages everyone from developers to salespeople to work together as a team. When empowered and provided with the proper training, companies may discover that their sales team has been significantly expanded.
3.Use customer data to drive sales. Your salespeople likely spend a great deal of their day gathering business-specific information on every one of their customers. But what happens to all that valuable information once the business deal has been finalized? While businesses must respect and ultimately protect that valuable, sometimes confidential, information, that data can be used to drive sales in a high-touch, personalized way.
Every quarter, our sales team reaches out to all clients, making personal calls to follow up on their product experience. The goal of these calls is to suggest ways the client might tune-up the software—what tools to add, what options or upgrades to consider, and even ways to downgrade service to conserve costs.
When we use the data this way, customers are generally happy to give us progressively more, which leads to increased revenues. In fact, we’ve estimated that 42 percent of our revenues are won (or retained) as the direct result of our use of this specific customer information.
No matter what your product or service, sales teams are noticing increased revenues. “Websites, e-commerce sites in particular, have started to recognize the role that customer data plays in increasing profitability,” said to Ashley Chavez, in her article titled Increase Sales by Leveraging Customer Insights. “With past-purchase, customer interests and geographic location data, retailers can determine the right products to offer each customer at the right time.”
By not compromising on commissions, empowering a customer support team, and getting the most from customer data, your sales team is bound to reach new successful heights without compromising standards.
How to Achieve Success In Sales Without Selling Out (Forbes.com)