Sales Acceleration Strategies: Tips from 28 Experts on How to Accelerate Your Sales Process
Whether you’re a seasoned sales professional or new to the game, it’s always good to improve your skills. The business world is constantly changing and if you’re not innovating and learning new strategies you’ll soon be left behind.
Having a few tricks up your sleeve can help boost your sales and make the most of your business. With that in mind, here are 50 expert tips that can help you accelerate your sales process.a
1. Know your client.
Knowing your client’s needs, history and understanding future plans thoroughly can help you tailor your pitch and boost your chances of closing the deal. “You wouldn’t present to Donald Trump and Oprah Winfrey the same way would you?” – Kevin Frigon, Kelowna Daily Courier, Twitter: @KevinFrigon
2. Understand your product.
It’s pretty hard to pitch and sell if you don’t understand what you’re selling. Thoroughly understanding your product and how it can help clients is key to closing the deal. “’Knowledge’ is the facts and figures, while ‘understanding’ is about realizing how those facts and figures affect the product owner.” – Wendy Connick, About.com, Twitter: @AboutSalesGuide
3. Have a quality product.
People want to feel like they’re getting their dollar’s worth, and one sure fire way to make them feel that way is by having a quality product to offer them. Take the extra time to add any finishing touches to your presentations and interactions to really dazzle a potential client. “High quality content helps you to capture and retain your audience’s attention as you lead them down the funnel.” – Jeanne Hopkins, CustomerIntelligence360.com, Twitter: @jeannehopkins
4. Know how to deliver on KPIs.
Have a game plan when it comes to reaching your client’s key performance indicators (KPIs). Develop and understand how to implement strategies for boosting commonly requested KPIs so that you can clearly explain to a client how you’ll help them reach their goals. “The wrong KPIs bring the danger of pointing people into the wrong direction and even encouraging them to deliver the wrong things. Always remember, the reason why KPIs are so powerful is that ‘you get what you measure’.” – Bernard Marr, LinkedIn, Twitter: @BernardMarr
5. Keep expectations realistic.
A client is likely to be incredibly frustrated if they were promised something you didn’t end up delivering on. Avoid this situation by helping your client set realistic goals. “In other words, under promise and over deliver is the best policy.” – Barb Lyon, ManagementHelp.org, LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=2992412&trk=tab_pro or @FreeMgmtLibrary
6. Ask for referrals.
Probably one of the most frequently underutilized opportunities for finding new clients is to ask your existing ones for a referral. Don’t be afraid to tap into your current pool of clients to expand your network of potential new ones. “Ask your customer to make the introduction for you. This can be via email, social media or face to face. Would you ignore a recommendation from a friend or colleague, someone who you trust?” – SAS Huntwood, Sales Acceleration Strategies, Twitter: @sashuntwood
7. Sell remotely.
Gone are the days of solely selling face-to-face. In today’s modern age, take advantage of advances in technology to interact with clients all over the world, no matter where you’re based. “The hybrid model of combining remote sales or inside sales with outside sales is even more powerful than either one separately.” – Ken Krogue, Forbes, Twitter: @kenkrogue
8. Tap your team.
You never know where a potential lead or hit of inspiration might come from, so keep an open mind when it comes to referrals. “Your sales team, customer service, and even accounting or finance specialists within your organization may all have different types of interactions with prospects and customers.” – Jeanne Hopkins, CustomerIntelligence360.com, Twitter: @jeannehopkins
9. Don’t be pushy.
It’s probably one of the first lessons any sales professional learns, but it’s worth repeating. Don’t be pushy. No one likes someone who tries too hard. “You identify the need of a potential client and approach them with the information they need to make a decision and then let them make a decision.” – Kevin Frigon, Kelowna Daily Courier, Twitter: @KevinFrigon
10. Show respect for your client.
Sales is ultimately a relationship of trust and mutual respect between two people, so if you don’t have a solid foundation there, you can’t expect to accelerate sales. “This doesn’t mean you won’t have difficult customers who will push the limits and try everyone’s patience. But if you don’t have a company philosophy to respect and appreciate your customers, the opposite tone will infect customer interactions from all departments.” – Barb Lyon, ManagementHelp.org, LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=2992412&trk=tab_pro or Twitter: @FreeMgmtLibrary
11. Evaluate ROI needs.
Figure out what the minimum sales need is to get the return on investments you put into hiring, training, etc. Then, align your business accordingly. “In many cases, the cost of recruiting, hiring, training and retaining an inside sales team is higher than the cost of outsourcing the function so weigh your options carefully.” – Andrew W. Sallay, Demand Gen Report, Twitter: @DG_Report
12. Explain your benefits.
Whatever it is you’re selling, and whoever you’re selling to, you want to show that there is a clear benefit for a client using your product or services. “Once you can explain to people how using your product or service can benefit them, the easier it is to get them on board.” – Dave Navarro, The Launch Coach, Twitter: @RockYourDay
13. Stand out from the crowd.
Chances are a potential client can get what they need from you and a number of others, so what’s going to make them want to choose you? This is where being really in tune with your business, and how it can best help your clients can pay off in spades. “Identify your niche, know how you and your company and product or service are different and be clear about it. Potential customers want to know what makes you different and why they should be doing business with you.” – Kevin Frigon, Kelowna Daily Courier, Twitter: @KevinFrigon
14. Become a specialist.
If you’re really good at something, keep doing it. If scoring a lead is your thing, then by all means keep bringing in potential clients. Conversely, know where your skills lack and seek out help or hand things over to someone who’s a specialist in what they do. “Now specialties include lead research even before setting appointments, and taking inbound marketing calls from leads to making outbound dials on lists. Specialists are even optimized by size of account and vertical market.” – Ken Krogue, Forbes, Twitter: @kenkrogue
15. Track results.
It’s hard to know where you’re going without knowing where you’ve been. Keep track of what is and isn’t working so you know where you can improve and what you’re already doing well on. “Closely tracking and evaluating your results will show where you can improve every aspect of lead generation and nurture.” – Jeanne Hopkins, CustomerIntelligence360.com, Twitter: @jeannehopkins
16. Start small.
Understanding where you’re starting, and having a detailed plan for how you want to grow your business and what success looks like, is key to long-term profitability. “Before any business is able to truly forge ahead with a comprehensive strategic plan, managers must first sit down with employees and fully deconstruct existing operations.” – Scott Williamson, Revenade, Twitter: @Revenade
17. Embrace virtual events.
Hosting events online cuts out all the logistics of travel, catering, A/V setup and more – not to mention your potential clients having to carve time out of their busy schedules to attend. Take things online to save everyone the hassle. “You’ll be able to achieve better/faster/cheaper and leverage the audience engagement impact of online communication.” – Tricia Heinrich, InsideSales.com, Twitter: @theinrich
18. Hire top talent.
Getting great sales results starts with having a great sales team. One of the most important things you can do to accelerate your sales long term is to select your team wisely. “Interview your top performers to determine what they may be doing differently to perform at a higher level. This information is not only vital to the characteristics of new hires, but can also be used to improve the performance of your existing team.” – Melissa Laverty, Pipeline Management, Twitter: @MelissaLaverty
19. Increase accountability.
If sales reps and managers have clearly defined targets that are time-sensitive, it makes it a lot easier to evaluate when someone isn’t meeting their goals – and to act accordingly. “It can take six months to identify and terminate a low-performing telemarketing employee.” – Andrew W. Sallay, Demand Gen Report, Twitter: @DG_Report
20. Develop a strategy.
You’d never go into a pitch or a meeting blind – there’s less chance of having a successful interaction. Instead, make sure you’ve done your research, so you can close the deal. “Get a clear strategy in place by also specializing the approach to each key element of sales and marketing.” – Ken Krogue, Forbes, Twitter: @kenkrogue
21. Customize, customize, customize.
Different people respond to difference messages across various formats. Don’t be afraid to try new things or different approaches in order to accelerate your sales. “Different kinds of visitors behave in entirely different fashions. Your “winning variation” may have won overall but it may be performing sub-optimal for some visitor segments.” – Paras Chopra, Online Behavior, Twitter: @onbehavior
22. Don’t forget about after-sales service.
Your relationship isn’t over once you make the sale, you also need to provide quality support to your clients after the sale – otherwise, why would they increase their spend with you? “Only happy customers result in repeat buys and quality referrals. Do not forget the fact that word of mouth is still the best mode of establishing a brand and increasing sales.” – Adarsh Thampy, ConversionChamp.com, Twitter: @ConversionChamp
23. Partner with marketing.
It used to be that sales and marketing departments were firmly separated, but that’s no longer the case today. Sellers are often having to wearing multi-faceted hats in order to succeed in today’s market. “With increasingly self-educated buyers, the roles of sales and marketing are becoming harder to define and distinguish. The most successful teams marry the two functions as closely as possible.” – Leo Dirr, Insidesales.com, Twitter: @mclinklove
24. Tailor your interactions.
Know what formats and delivery methods appeal most to your audience – blog posts, social media, tip sheets, etc. This way, you’re putting your energy into initiatives that are likely to deliver results. “Deliver your content over a broad range of formats and channels, to reach more people in ways they want to receive information.” – Jeanne Hopkins, CustomerIntelligence360.com, @jeannehopkins
25. Understand their level of commitment.
There’s no sense wasting your efforts on a lead that’s likely to go nowhere. Save your time and theirs by nailing down who’s likely to commit by asking strategic questions at the outset. “There can be a host of reasons for the sales prospect to blow you off. How can you be sure the person is sincere? Are they really going to run it by their boss, or are they just trying to brush you off as courteously as possible so as not to offend you?” – Paul Cherry, Performance Based Results, Twitter: @PaulCherryPBR
If a prospect is still unsure about working with you, take the time to educate them on what it is you do, the value your service will provide, and how a relationship can be mutually beneficial. “The best content is literally the information your prospects need to have about your industry, company, and product to move them from awareness to curiosity to interest to need.” – Ken Krogue, Forbes, Twitter: @kenkrogue
27. Invest in training.
Continuing education is important no matter what field you’re in. Invest in your talent and it will pay back into your business. – “While some people may possess an extroverted “sales personality” that makes them a natural fit for the career, effective selling is still a skill that must be developed.” – Chris Joseph, Demand Media, Twitter: @byChrisJoseph
28. Align your whole team
Having all your ducks in a row and everyone on the same page, so to speak, can help make the machine run smoothly, ensuring efficiency and a unified effort. “Over-communicate with your people so they understand why they are doing things, not just what they should do and how to do it.” – Ken Krogue, Forbes, Twitter: @kenkrogue
29. Be persistent
As the old adage goes, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. This is true in sales where it can often take multiple attempts to close a sale. “Sales usually take 5 or more contacts before a looker turns into a buyer.” – TickleTrain, Twitter: @TickleTrain
30. Ask the right questions.
Asking the right questions can not only show a client that you’re hearing them, but it also gives you the opportunity to better understand any potential objections they might have so you can ultimately overcome them and close the sale. “By asking the right questions you can listen for the validity, the depth, the clarity behind their words. Can they pinpoint elements about your solution that they like? If they can, that’s a good indicator that they’re genuinely interested in working with you.” – Paul Cherry, Performance Based Results, Twitter: @PaulCherryPBR
31. Offer rewards.
There’s a reason customer loyalty rewards programs are so popular and successful, people love getting a little extra value for their dollar. Consider offering some sort of reward or discount program for your customers, based either on volume or loyalty. “You really don’t need to be a fortune 500 company to run a rewards program. Just make it a simple program where people can get discounts for being a customer.” – Adarsh Thampy, ConversionChamp.com, Twitter: @ConversionChamp
32. Not all questions are equal.
It’s important to know that not all questions are created equally when it comes to getting the information you need to accelerate your sales. Some will trigger an emotional response while others let you test the waters to determine how serious a client is. “You’ll fare much better if you create a conversation around your prospect’s answers. Show that you empathize with them and understand their pain and needs.”- Rishi Patel, Monazu, Twitter: @monazu
33. Ensure your team understands YOUR business.
You need to make sure your team is on board with your product and company, not doing things how they’re used to doing it at their last job. Make sure they’re fully on board with what you’re trying to build in order to boost success. “You’ve hired terrific sales reps – now it’s time to train them on how to sell YOUR product. Familiarize them with your collateral materials and introduce them to your product development, marketing and customer service departments.” – Melissa Laverty, Pipeline Management, Twitter: @MelissaLaverty
34. Use the right tools
Just as a contractor wouldn’t build a house with rudimentary tools, so too should sales professionals not be expected to close without the right tools. Salesforce, LinkedIn and others are all great tools to have in your sales belt. “Sales has their industry equivalent to Henry Ford’s assembly line and conveyor belt with cloud-based CRM software like Salesforce.com, contact profiling like LinkedIn, and power dialer technology which is the remote sales version of the nail gun.” – Ken Krogue, Forbes, Twitter: @kenkrogue
35. Make them feel you care.
Human beings at their core want to be heard and understood, so take the time to nurture your relationship and show a client that you care about them and their problems. “If you really want strangers to visit and spend money with you, you need to make them feel – at least subconsciously – that you really do care. Otherwise why should they take the risk?” – John Coulter, Shop Talk, Twitter: @TargetShopTalk
Any good business knows that in order to move forward you need to continually be testing, evaluating and realigning. Get in the habit of doing this. “Impose the urgency to create value on your team that is typically required of an outsourced partner.” – Andrew W. Sallay, Demand Gen Report, Twitter: @DG_Report
37. Test new things.
If you’re not innovating, you’re stagnating and will soon be obsolete. Don’t be afraid to try new things, whether it’s changing up marketing materials or implementing a new pitch technique, it could just make the difference for reeling in that big catch. “Experiment with your ad copy, your price points, your website structure, promotions you are running and so on. Only after a lot of testing can you come up with the most effective way to increase sales.” – Adarsh Thampy, ConversionChamp.com, Twitter: @ConversionChamp
Today’s generation knows nothing about waiting by having everything they want at their fingertips, thanks to our connected world. What goes for information also goes for services – don’t make your customers wait. “As consumers seek the quickest path to information and entertainment, their loyalties lie not with the product, but with the provider. The key is to get them what they need when they need it.” – Guy Borgford, Luxury Daily, Twitter: @Hipcricket
39. Don’t be afraid to collaborate.
No man is an island, and sometimes it takes partnering up with another relevant or complementary business in order to boost your offering to really catch the eye of clients. The more you can offer them, the more interested they’ll be in your services. “When companies come together with a common audience, or goal, or a common mission or interest, they can band together in any number of ways to create an influence and a presence that is greater than the sum of its parts.” – David K Williams, Forbes, Twitter: @DavidKWilliams
40. Measure your work.
You need to understand your outcomes in order to improve your work systems. Once you’ve figured out your KPIs, keep track of how you fare against them in order to improve next time and adjust if necessary along the way. “We like to watch what we call leading indicators. Measurements that are indicative of what is about to happen. On the football field they are called first downs. You don’t score touchdowns if you don’t move the chains.” – Ken Krogue, Forbes, Twitter: @kenkrogue
41. Make it a game.
Using gamification can help accelerate your sales by making the whole process fun and enjoyable for your reps. There are many apps and programs that can help you motivate your team in this way. “Gamification is all about using people’s desire for competition, status, achievement and closure to help achieve your business objectives.” – Mark Hayes, Shopify.com, Twitter: @allsop8184
42. Real-time data.
Using real-time data can help you uncover and understand in an instant who you should be targeting and where you should be putting the effort in, media-wise. This saves you time and money in the long run by really focusing your efforts. “The analysis of real-time data enables real-time marketing, which simply means marketing to prospects and customers when they enter your market.” – Lisa Fugere, Radius, Twitter: @lisafugere
43. Predictive analytics.
Analytics are a powerful tool in your sales arsenal, none arguably more so than predictive analytics. They can not only increase the quality of your leads, but can help boost your potential for cross selling as well. “Rather than relying on a hunch, predictive analytics tools put businesses in control of their own destiny.” – Nick Mann, BusinessBee.com, Twitter: @BusinessBeeCom
44. Make the most of your time.
Focusing on your goals and creating (and sticking to) a schedule can help you make the most of your time while avoiding the traps of time-wasters. “Remember, just one hour a day used more productively adds up to more than six extra weeks of productive time a year.” – John H Dean, SellingPower, Twitter: @SellingPowerMag
45. Use visualization techniques.
Much like elite athletes use visualization to perfect their game, so too can sales pros use it to increase their success. “Your prospects don’t have the time to waste on unproductive sales calls with sellers that do not provide them anything of value, that do not help them move closer to making a decision.” – Andy Paul, Zero-Time Selling, Twitter: @ZeroTimeSelling
46. Role play.
Practice makes perfect and that is why role playing can be an effective tool for accelerating sales. Not only does it give you a chance to test out your skills, it can also help identify areas of improvement. “If an employee has performed proper role-play training they will almost never be presented with a question, concern, or comment from a customer that they haven’t already received in their training.” – Marcus Sheridan, The Sales Lion, Twitter: @TheSalesLion
47. Use the ANUM model.
It’s a basic acronym but it can have a major impact on all your potential sales. “Find the right people who have Authority to buy. Find out early if people and companies have Need for what you offer. The greater the need, the more Urgency and Money appear.” – Ken Krogue, Forbes, Twitter: @kenkrogue
If you’ve set realistic expectations for what you can deliver for a client, this shouldn’t be a problem. Also doing little add-ons and modifications can help show your client that you’re willing to go above and beyond to help them achieve their goals. “It really makes your customers smile when they get something extra. You want your customers to smile and be happy for them to come back to you.”- Adarsh Thampy, ConversionChamp.com, Twitter: @ConversionChamp
49. Ask for the sale.
It might seem like common sense, but one of the simplest things you can do to accelerate sales is to simply ask for it. As uncomfortable as it might be, especially for those new to the industry, “You MUST overcome this hurdle if you want to…well, sell anything.” – Rishi Patel, Monazu, Twitter: @monazu
50. Follow up.
Lastly, one of the most important things you can do to accelerate your sales is to follow up after your pitch or presentation. Often times all a client needs is a little nudge or encouragement to get them on board. If you don’t follow up, you could just be missing out. “The Follow-Up Sales email also creates a successful image of your business and yourself. It shows your prospect that you are taking the time to follow up with them personally, which conveys reliability and enthusiasm for the relationship.” – TickleTrain, Twitter: @TickleTrain
Written by Cóbhan Phillipson
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