The F-Word You Need to Improve Sales

Written by Rob Malec

If you are seeking optimal revenue generation results (and who isn’t?), you need to look carefully at certain aspects of the business. There are a few common red flags to look out for if you want to improve sales but aren’t sure how.

Focus is Crucial to Improve Sales

The main thing to be wary of is job role diffusion and the wasted time that can result from it. Unfocused efforts are a key culprit of poor sales results. For maximum revenue generation results, each of your sales team members should be keenly focused on just a few core tasks. In my role as a Fractional Vice President Sales, there are some classic issues that I see all too often that are red flags for poor sales performance.

Top 4 Red Flags to Look Out for When Trying to Improve Sales

Here are a few telltale signs that you might be hindering your sales instead of increasing them. 

1. You Have a Sales Manager Who Is Selling  

If your sales manager is expected to bring in new customers (which will earn them commissions) along with managing your salespeople, the management part will invariably suffer. This is unsurprising because the temptation of bringing in a new customer is simply more appealing than that of supporting a salesperson looking to be managed. 

If you feel your business is at the point that it needs a dedicated sales manager (and I’ve posted before about how to know when you need a sales manager), then hire one. But don’t have that person perform a dual role. If their main job responsibility is to teach and manage others, then clear their plate of direct selling duties to free them up to focus on that. When it comes to increasing sales, the benefits of hiring an outsourced sales manager are worth considering.

2. Your Salespeople Have Customer Service Responsibilities

When faced with the prospect of bringing on new customers or keeping existing ones, most salespeople will focus on keeping what they have. Even when commissions are at stake, salespeople are more prone to maintaining existing customers with whom they have formed relationships.

Remove this dilemma by relieving your salespeople of their customer retention duties. Turn your customer service department into a customer success department in order to not only retain clients but grow them over time.

3. You Have a Salesperson Focused on Marketing Ideas

If one of your salespeople is continually feeding your marketing team with new marketing ideas, that is a sign that their focus on sales has been lost. Any precious time and brainpower that could have been spent looking for prospects or closing deals has instead been applied to coming up with ideas for another department.

Making sure your people are on what Jim Collins would call the “right seat on the bus” is one way to deal with underperforming sales reps. If you have a seller who is notably marketing-focused, consider moving them over to the marketing department and backfilling their sales position. If they remain a salesperson who would rather be doing marketing tasks, they will underperform compared to their more focused peers.

4. Your Sales Funnel is Filled with Unqualified Opportunities

 Have a look at the sales funnel for each of your salespeople. Are some filled with opportunities that don’t match your ideal customer profile? It can be tempting for salespeople to seek either the elusive home run deal or the small deal that will hopefully grow into something bigger over the years. Or, they may pursue the diamond-in-the-rough deal that will never fulfil their quota.

The salesperson pursuing these types of deals will never make their quota. The large deals take too long to close, and the small ones take too long to ramp up to full revenue for success to occur. Carefully defining your ideal customer will help boost sales by ensuring your salespeople are focused on the right prospects.

Although these red flags are easy to spot once you know what you’re looking for, figuring out how to mitigate and deal with them can be a bit more complicated. If you’d like to learn more about how to boost sales by improving your team’s focus, please contact me.

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