LevelEleven is a sales performance platform that helps you increase the capacity of your sales team. We launched in late 2012 as a sales gamification app and then found out our customers needed a heck of a lot more. So we let their greatest sales pain points evolve into an entire performance platform.
When done right, LevelEleven sales contests garner notoriety from the executive table to the bullpen. But, to create a sales contest that wins the hearts of your salespeople, sales managers and executive team, you need to consider all of the factors that impact its success. If you’re a front line Sales Manager looking to build the perfect sales contest, here’s a step-by-step guide to show you how:
Step 1: Establish Goals
First and foremost, any sales contest you create should have 2 to 4 high-level goals that coincide with your organization’s overarching executive strategy. Each goal should be written clearly, concisely and with value-driven verbiage (e.g., generate more early-stage leads or accelerate onboarding time), making them easier to share and gain buy-in when seeking executive approvals. It will also provide you with the necessary guidance to select the behaviors you want to motivate within your contest.
Step 2: Choose the Key Behaviors
Once you have your strategy in place, you’re ready to establish the key behaviors for the contest, which will be what determines the leaderboard rankings. Remember, each behavior should align with one of the high-level goals you established in Step 1. So, if one of your goals is to “increase daily touchpoints,” then “calls per day” or “emails per week” would be logical behaviors to choose.
Lastly, each single sales contest can have up to 4 key behaviors, so if you want to have more, you’re going to need to format it as a parent-child sales contest. While technically you can reward many different behaviors, don’t let it get too complicated. The more focused you can keep it the better – you can’t tell your salespeople to “focus on these 7 things.” Keep it to no more than 2 or 3 if you can.
Step 3: Select the Contest Type
Once you’ve chosen the behaviors, you need to pick one of two sales contest types: single or parent-child. Single sales contests are one-off contests with no connection to other contests, while parent-child sales contests take numerous sales contests and combine them into one cohesive contest. If you’re building a contest for the first time, single sales contests are a good starting point. But, if you’re orchestrating a quarter-long sales contest, the larger parent-child format may be the key to keeping contest engagement high.
Step 4: Pick the Contest Format
Next, you need to select one of two LevelEleven sales contest formats: individual or team. Individual sales contests are ideal if part of your strategy is to assess the individual performance metrics of each member of your sales team. On the other hand, team sales contests are a great way to build comradery and cohesiveness among your team, while rewarding a larger group of people. Either way, make sure the contest is formatted so it’s easy for your team to understand, as a poorly structured sales contest will lead to confused and unengaged participants.
Step 5: Choose a Time-frame
Another critical variable for your contest is the length, as sales contest can last as long as an entire quarter or as short as an hour (think about a quick burst call blitz at the end of the day). If you’re building this contest around an immediate internal need, like a push to move excess product or close the quarter strong, then a short contest might be best. But, if your contest is created organically, you’ll likely want to make it last at least a few weeks so that you can have a solid baseline to measure the results afterward.
Step 6: Create a Theme
Now that you’ve structured your contest, it’s time to put on your creative thinking cap and choose a theme. Remember, your contest’s theme is also its brand, and you want that brand to create buzz around the office! As such, create a theme that’s R.I.T.E. (Relevant, Interesting, Timely and Entertaining). For example, if your office is jam-packed with Game of Thrones fans, you could build a contest around the show when a new season is coming up. Or, if your team is full of hoops fans, consider creating a bracket-themed contest during March Madness. Whatever you do, make sure your theme is legitimately fun and relevant to the contest participants.
Step 7: Pick the Prize(s)
Sales contests allow you to select custom prize options to reward the contest winners. While sales contests tap into the competitive nature of sales teams, prizes are great for added motivation. Get creative, and keep in mind, prizes don’t have to blow the budget. If you need some inspiration, take a look at this e-book. Just as you did with the theme in Step 5, ensure the prize will motivate all the personality types on your team. If possible, make the prize coincide with the theme of the sales contest. After all, the more cohesive this contest is, the more engaged your team will be!
Step 8: Take it Live!
Now that you’ve mapped out a well thought through sales contest, it’s time to schedule it, and present it to your team! Remember first impressions are huge and if you want this contest to be a rallying point for your team, you need to pitch it with enthusiasm. Consider setting up a meeting or drafting a compelling launch message to your team. With the right approach, your employees will be motivated well beyond the end of the contest and the results will garner notoriety at the executive table.
Looking for ways to motivate your sales team without breaking the bank? Follow the link below to download our e-book containing 102 low-budget ideas!
As a Sales Manager, it’s important to focus the efforts of your team on the behaviors that matter. That said, it can be tough deciding where to steer the ship sometimes, as there are so many tactics and techniques that are deemed “the most important” by various sales leaders and business publications. But, ultimately, it doesn’t matter whose advice you adhere to if you aren’t putting it to work at the right point in the sales pipeline.
Here are a few proven practices to successfully guide your sales team at each stage in the sales pipeline:
Use Social Media for Lead Generation Pipeline Point: Top
While marketing is typically in charge social media engagement, some of the most successful salespeople observe and interact with prospects on social networks to help generate leads early in the sales cycle. But, with so many social media channels and some sales reps general lack of digital fluency, some of your sales reps may be hesitant to start broadcasting their business beliefs to the world. As a starting point, encourage your team to share your company’s best content and ask your marketing team which channels are the most impactful for your industry. With a little expert guidance and pre-crafted company content to ease the process, your sales team will quickly learn to “like” posting to social media and the early-stage leads it helps them land.
Focus on Revenue Generating Channels Pipeline Stage: Top
Leads can come in through a variety of channels depending on what your company’s marketing strategy looks like, so it’s important to note which channel is creating the leads that are resulting in the most revenue. For example, you may be generating tons of leads with early-stage content, such as e-books or blog articles, but those leads may not be converting into actual sales as much as your event leads. Wherever your revenue is coming from, take the initiative to work with your marketing team to figure out how you can focus more of your lead generation efforts on channels with a proven track record of generating revenue.
Regardless of how your company structures its sales team, every member of your sales team should have a solid grasp on the best practices for converting MQLs (Marketing Qualified Leads) to SQLs (Sales Qualified Leads). Otherwise, you may spring a leak at this integral point in your pipeline. Once you’ve worked with your sales and marketing team to identify the specific definitions for these metrics and the hand-off process, it’s time to start tracking. Work toward monthly goals and measure your progress along the way. If it makes sense, measure weekly. The key here is giving you and your team the visibility to see when you might be falling behind so you can immediately adapt. Additionally, measuring your MQL-to-SQL conversions will provide you with a high-level view of where your team may be excelling or falling behind.
Personalization Your Outreach Process Pipeline Point: Middle
When your sales reps start to get hung up at this point in the pipeline, they may be falling victim to changes in consumer behaviors. After all, prospects want something different and game-changing. While your company’s product may be both of those things, your team’s process for contacting leads doesn’t automatically reflect that, so it’s your job to encourage them to adapt to the changing tides and personalize their methods accordingly. One way to do that is to have your reps check Salesforce to see what brought their leads into the sales pipeline in the first place (e.g., email campaigns, event badge scans, white paper downloads) and craft a custom email based on that data. However they elect to do it, the more your team personalizes their outreach process, the less likely they’ll be to hit a sales slump at this point in the pipeline.
Engage Opportunities with ‘Closer Content’ Pipeline Point: Bottom
When a prospect converts into an opportunity, it’s prime time for your team to break out the “closer content.” Simply put, “closer content” is your company’s best stuff – the content that closes deals. It’s a tried-and-true way to connect with your best opportunities on a deeper level and paint a picture of success for their company using your service or product. This content should be both pristine and personalized toward the specific pain points of the company or the industry they call home. One way to encourage the use of “closer content” is to create a “content resource” spreadsheet filled with your best case studies, end-of-stage documents and customizable templates, then separate those resources by industry or pain points. Whatever the approach, promoting “closer content” is a proven way to close deals.
Curious how LevelEleven can help you at each stage in the pipeline? Click the button below to learn more!
Even the best sales professionals go through rough patches, or in the case of LevelEleven, red patches. It’s part of the job, and there’s no shame in hitting a bump in the road. Sometimes, you just need to reevaluate and refocus. If you’ve recently fallen into the red on your LevelEleven Scorecard, here are a series of tips that will help you go from red to green in no time:
Focus on Meaningful Metrics
LevelEleven is built on the idea that sales success can be achieved by focusing on the metrics that matter. Based on your industry and specific job duties, your manager may have set up a custom scoring system that bases your performance on metrics you might be overlooking in your daily routine. Be sure you’re clear on what the most important metrics are, how they’re being tracked and refocus your efforts on them accordingly. With a refined approach towards those KPIs (key performance indicators), you can start to build a concrete plan that will help you get back into the green.
Identify Sales Pitfalls
After you’ve clarified what metrics you need to improve upon, you’ll want to look into specific sales pitfalls you may be experiencing, and how to address them. Whatever the metric is – from calls made to opportunities won – there’s a reason you’re not hitting your benchmarks, and you need to identify that before you can move forward. Do your research and don’t be afraid to ask your boss – or even your fellow coworker – for assistance identifying them. The answer to your problems may only be a few desks away, and open communication is always a good thing, no matter how competitive the bullpen gets.
Search for Educated Solutions
Once you’ve identified your key sales pitfalls, you need to look into ways that you can address them. For instance, if your MQLs (marketing qualified leads) aren’t converting to SQLs (sales qualified leads) often enough, you may want to ask your marketing team to share some of the best practices for communicating with customers at that point in the sales funnel. The solution could be something quick-and-easy, like using value-driven verbiage in the headlines of your emails, or something a little more general that will take some digging, like placing yourself in the prospect’s shoes. Whatever it is you may need to try a few before you hit the mark, so be patient and persistent.
Add Action Items to Your Routine
At this point you have a game plan, now you just need to draw up the plays. Use the educated solutions you concluded upon to create a list of action items that lead directly to results – no fluff. Then, using that list, create visual reminders (e.g., recurring calendar invites or Post-it notes on your monitor) to ensure that you’re performing these action items day-in-and-day-out. Eventually, they will become second-nature, and the results will show up on your LevelEleven Scorecard.
Continue to Refine Your Process
As you continue to use the LevelEleven platform to increase your focus and efficiency, you’ll likely come across new process optimizations that can help further refine your process. Make a concerted effort to identify them and work them into your routine regularly. Not only will you be ready for any Sales Contest your Sales Manager throws at your team, but you’ll also be advancing yourself professionally, which will help keep you in the green and out of the red.
Would you like help identifying the right sales metrics and KPIs to focus on? Follow the link below for a full library of helpful resources!
Motivate What Matters – that’s not just our tagline at LevelEleven, it’s what we live by every day. We know that sometimes motivation is just as much about the when as much as it is the what, as specific situations can call for different approaches. Luckily, the LevelEleven team works with hundreds of sales teams with very different needs and we have built solutions to help your team stay engaged with what is most important.
Here are five common scenarios that Sales Managers see and how to properly address them using LevelEleven:
Sales Scenario #1: It’s the slow season for your industry, and your sales team is less engaged. LevelEleven Solution: Create a Sales Contest with a vacation-themed incentive.
This scenario is relatively common, as some salespeople take their foot off the gas pedal during the slow season. An excellent way to counter this is with LevelEleven’s Motivate solution. Create a compelling contest that provides the opportunity to win additional vacation time or a vacation package (if budget allows for it.) You can even make it an annual tradition, so the team has something to look forward to once your high-season is over every year.
Sales Scenario #2: One employee is continuously checked out from his work, dragging down the team. LevelEleven Solution: Build a customized Performance Improvement Plan using LevelEleven Success Plans.
Sometimes even a single member of your staff can drag down morale, and there are a wide-variety of reasons that he may be unhappy or unmotivated. No matter the reason, a plan to steer him towards success is critical, and LevelEleven’s new Success Plans allow you to address the individual needs of your employees head-on. Not only will you be able to set up a custom plan that encourages successful sales behaviors, but the employee will also likely be thankful for the additional assistance. Success Plans are included in LevelEleven’s Coach solution.
Sales Scenario #3: There’s a major campaign coming up that you need your team to rally behind. LevelEleven Solution: Create a Sales Contest focused on the Key Performance Indicator for the campaign.
Every campaign has a strategy, and every strategy has a set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that it intends to bolster. With the help of LevelEleven, you can create Sales Contests that revolve around those same KPIs. For example, if you build a campaign around a major event you’re sponsoring, the KPI could be event invitations accepted or sent out. After all, you’re going to want plenty of visitors at your booth to put those marketing dollars to work.
Sales Scenario #4: You just expanded like crazy and you want to invigorate your new hires. LevelEleven Solution: Create an Onboarding Plan that focuses on both process and culture.
Significant hiring periods can have a major impact on company culture and morale, so having a plan for onboarding is critical to growing your sales team successfully. Luckily, LevelEleven recently added Onboarding Plans as part of our Success Plans feature! Using this feature, you can build a comprehensive process for training new hires that focuses on successful sales practices while also bolstering excitement for the new job they’re undertaking.
Sales Scenario #5: Your sales team needs to hit their Month-end, Quarter-end or Year-end goals. LevelEleven Solution: Customize Your Channel11 Leaderboard to focus on team goals over individual goals.
Almost every tenured Sales Manager has experienced this scenario, and LevelEleven has helped many of them hit their crunch-time goals. But, when it comes to a team-wide quota you need the team to rally together. Creating a leaderboard that takes the focus off individual accomplishments and shines a light on team success makes perfect sense. Also, consider creating a Sales Contest that gives them a group incentive (e.g., days off for everyone, a massive team party or shared bonuses) as additional encouragement.
Want to learn more about LevelEleven? Follow the link below to take a product tour!
Success in sales starts with proper coaching and development. But, as it turns out, many organizations struggle to put a plan in place for these critical priorities. Luckily, the recent release of LevelEleven Success Plans now provides organizations with a streamlined solution to drive employee growth and managerial success!
Here are just a few ways Success Plans can develop your sales team from the top down:
Focus on Sales Activities
For many sales professionals, it’s easy to get lost in non-selling activities throughout the day-to-day grind. In fact, sales reps spend only 37 percent of their time selling. While time spent traveling, responding to customer service inquiries and writing proposals is important, it shouldn’t outweigh the key actions and behaviors that are needed to find and win business. Success Plans allow you to maximize selling time and mitigate non-selling time, which drives sales numbers up across the board. For example, a Success Plan can help a sales rep struggling to build pipeline understand what he or she needs to do to improve by providing them with applicable resources and coaching sessions in one centralized location.
Develop Knowledgeable Sales Managers
Seventy-three percent of front-line Sales Managers receive little to no management training because most Sales Managers are promoted for being successful sales reps, which has zero to do with developing other people. Unaddressed, this can lead to a severe flaw in your sales coaching strategy from the top down. Luckily, Success Plans centralize the coaching process for managers and helps them communicate with their team in a structured and consistent way. As sales reps reach new goals with the help of Success Plans, Sales Managers can continually refine their coaching skills by noting what works best.
Create Structure Around Coaching
Ninety-three percent of Sales Managers claim to spend at least three hours per month coaching each rep, but only 44 percent of those same reps feel they get that much coaching from their manager. This misunderstanding highlights the pertinent need for structure and consistency around sales coaching. Success Plans provide a centralized dashboard where Sales Managers can customize their coaching agendas to meet the needs of individual reps and give two-way transparency into individual expectations over a specific time period. From Performance Improvement Plans for struggling employees to Onboarding Plans for new hires, Success Plans improve communication from the top down.
Improve Employee Performance
Developing underperforming employees is almost always better than releasing them. After all, even underperforming team members have more product knowledge and industry know-how than most new hires. That said, it’s important to coach them to develop skills that revolve around their shortcomings. With Success Plans, Sales Managers can create a customized Performance Improvement Plan that includes coaching sessions, meeting notes and valuable resources focused on the areas each employee needs to improve. Rather than having to start all over again with a new salesperson who may or may not work out, Success Plans allow you to teach sales reps the skills they need to be successful.
Create Structured Onboarding Plans
Studies show that organizations with a standard onboarding process experience 50 percent greater new-hire productivity. So, if you want to see immediate sales success from your new hires, structure is a must. Luckily, Onboarding Plans allow you to create a standardized template for new hires that steers them toward immediate success. What’s more, if you’re hiring a Sales Engineer or another type of specialist, Onboarding Plans can be customized to meet their specific role requirements. In turn, this expedites the onboarding process, allowing new hires to produce sales faster, and make a bigger contribution to your team.
Want to learn more about how Success Plans can develop your sales staff? Watch this special webinar for an in-depth breakdown!
Anytime someone moves into a new role, there is an adjustment period to figure out how to be effective. When that transition is from an individual contributor to manager, that adjustment can be even more jarring. We all know the typical story with sales managers – they were a top performing salesperson, had ambitions to move up in their career, and then a position opens up and they are managing a group of salespeople.
High performing salespeople are often successful for reasons they do not fully understand. While their “get it done” attitude helps a great deal, it’s more than that. Simply put, they naturally have the discipline to execute successful sales actions consistently. They are regularly prospecting, networking, building pipeline, qualifying that pipeline and maintaining momentum with current opportunities. They follow a defined process, but often do not realize that they are doing it – it just comes naturally.
Excellent sales management is key to the success of every sales team. Sales managers are the front-line leaders that make or break an organization because they have the most influence on the performance of each salesperson. Research from Vantage Point Performance shows that top-performing managers generate $3.5 million more sales per year compared to low-performing managers. Let me say that again, $3.5M more sales per manager! No matter how large or small your sales staff that number adds up.
Sales managers can go from good to great as their career progresses with the help of professional advice and a proven plan for growth. Luckily, The 5 Stages of Sales Management have both!
Stage 1: Initial
Many sales managers get stuck in this stage, especially when they are new to management, or they work for firms that are “stuck in the dark ages” when it comes to technology and developing culture. This group only cares about what they are closing and how much others have sold. Nothing else matters, as they assume the sales team knows how to get there – just like they did.
With these sales managers, one-on-ones rarely happen and all they only want to know is what’s closing this month and how they can swoop in on a deal to help win it faster. While we can all appreciate the need for a resolute focus on results, the Stage 1 sales manager is blind to the process that leads to those results.
Eventually, sales manager caught in this stage realize that efficiently moving through the sales process is not as intuitive for everyone on their sales team and moves to Stage 2.
Stage 2: Motivate
In this stage, the sales manager identifies critical steps of the sales process that are being missed. For example, she may notice that some reps get easily distracted in customer service issues or proposal writing which prevents them from prospecting consistently or remaining focused on progressing existing opportunities through the buying process and towards closure.
The Stage 2 sales manager understands the process side of sales. They see that it’s their job to utilize their available resources to help maximize sales output. They are not an individual seller anymore, and they are now responsible for a larger payroll that requires a new level of productivity to meet the increased demands. In an attempt to encourage the right behaviors, Stage 2 managers will use incentive-based contests and team leaderboards to try and motivate the team. This approach works, especially if it is new to the team. It helps get people focused and keeps things exciting for the team. Unfortunately, this method typically only works at first, as it is simply not sustainable. Contests get expensive, and without variety, they eventually become stale and ineffective.
Stage 3: Engage
In Stage 3, the manager defines a more clear sales process with clear pipeline standards and sales KPIs so their sellers can be engaged every single day. These standards and KPIs are initially created based on the intuition of the sales manager. Then, once the team is acclimated to the new process and the new numbers start to roll in the plan evolves through observation and analysis. Managers look to their top-performers to identify successful practices they used and create best practices based on them. Conversely, team members who are underperforming can share their shortcomings to help educate the team and avoid future pitfalls. Any good sales manager keeps a close eye on closing, but also remembers that inputs drive outputs.
In this phase, each salesperson has clear expectations on things. For instance, how many new business meetings they need to have every month, how much pipeline they need to build, a common approach to qualifying (and disqualifying) opportunities, how much qualified pipeline should be open at any given time (a.k.a. pipeline coverage) and a solid forecast approach. Here the full team knows what is expected of them, there is a common language the team is using, and by leveraging data the manager and salespeople can add some objectivity to the sales process.
Step 3 is a big leap forward from the “just close deals” approach, with metrics and reports being leveraged and best practices being created, refined and replicated. Unfortunately, many salespeople still tend to lose focus and stray away from even the most proven practices if the sales manager is not reinforcing their importance and holding people accountable.
Stage 4: Coach
In Stage 4, the sales manager starts running what I like to call a “Closed Loop Management Process.” The idea being that in Stage 3 the new sales manager has defined key metrics to manage around, and ensures that these metrics should be regularly reviewed with each salesperson – their weekly team meeting and in one-on-ones. As they begin to fine-tune their craft, sales managers begin to realize what being a “coach” really means in Stage 4.
Now, with operating measures in place, the manager can keep an eye on them regularly, and salespeople clearly understand their importance and that they will be held accountable. It is not all about the numbers, but these metrics are effective guides to use during coaching conversations. For example, if a rep isn’t hitting his monthly new pipeline goal, the manager knows this is where to focus that person’s sales coaching.
As manager and sellers become more comfortable and familiar with where they need to focus their time and attention, they also start to get curious about data practices and optimizations. They want their data to be more personalized, in real-time and even more expansive.
Stage 5: Align
In Stage 5, sales teams reach a new level of alignment from the top-down. From executives to the latest new hire, there’s a common language around the critical steps and measures of the sales process, metrics and goals are personalized for each salesperson, and everyone has a real-time view of where he or she stands. At any given moment, any sales manager can see if their team is ahead or behind on key metrics, which empowers her to make corrections and get things back on track.
Salespeople are not waiting for the next team meeting or one-on-one to find out how they are doing. They always know where they stand. This stage also allows for rapid onboarding as new hires come in with a set of clearly defined metrics to immediately execute (e.g., meetings and pipeline needed). Even better, goals can be set to scale up as reps gain experience. Rather than waiting 3-to-6 months to close a deal and feel valuable, reps can start executing immediately and know they are on track to hit their quota!
At LevelEleven, we practice what we preach and always strive to take our product to the next level. As you kick off 2018, we have a new set of features we’re introducing to the LevelEleven Sales Management System to help further maximize the productivity and output of your sales team.
Here’s a breakdown of LevelEleven’s newest features and what they stand to offer your sales team:
Success Plans (Coaching Feature)
• Identify time-based goals during key training periods
• Identify start and end dates for onboarding or performance reviews
• Track coaching notes during training periods
• Structure your onboarding and performance plan processes
Success Plans help sales managers provide their team with a concrete training plan which includes comprehensive action items and goals. For example, when onboarding a new employee or implementing a performance review, you can now define milestones toward those goals so your team can stay on track. No matter the training requirement or the employee’s tenure, Success Plans live up to their name by optimizing training and streamlining employee development.
Action Items (Coaching Feature)
• Create specific actions for members of your sales team
• Synchronize them with tasks in Salesforce
• Add action items outside of coaching notes
Whereas in the past you simply had to meet and discuss tasks with your team, you now have the ability to assign Action Items directly in Salesforce. This means all of your coaching related comments and actions are stored and managed in one place. Acutely named, Action Items are short-term tasks that specify an action for specific individuals. This could include things like following up on a key prospect, reading an article or connecting with an internal teammate to learn something. They allow you to further guide your team through any given task or project and provide more finite assignments. From training exercises to sales processes, Action Items are a more granular means of management for teams of Account Managers, Account Executives, Customer Support, Customer Success or Sales Development Representatives.
Count Distinct (Scorecard Feature)
• Measure sales reps against a unique “count” of activities
• Set specific time-frames to measure within
• Filter reps against any key metric
The new Count Distinct feature gives new business and account management sales leaders the ability to report on UNIQUE counts for a type of activity. For example, have at least one meeting with all of your accounts each quarter or ensure there is at least one activity in the last 30-days on all open sales opportunities. While standard Salesforce reporting allows you to see which Accounts or Opportunities have a certain type of activity, it doesn’t allow you to unique count how many have been touched at least once. This new feature is available on your Scorecard metrics.
Want to learn more about LevelEleven’s latest features? Register for our upcoming webinar for an in-depth breakdown!
When you’re in sales, the most important metric is always closing business. But to reach that result, certain fundamentals need to be in place and happen with consistency.
“Many people miss on the basic fundamentals that they already know they need to do that will lead to success. People get lost in the whirlwind of the day or week, and miss on the basics. We do this in our personal lives too – we know should exercise 5-times a week, but just don’t do it,” said Bob Marsh, CEO of LevelEleven.
Luckily, LevelEleven is built to help keep those fundamentals front-and-center and provides easy ways to reinforce them for organizations of all shapes and sizes. Here’s a quick breakdown of five of the most important sales fundamentals that tend to be forgotten and how LevelEleven keeps them top-of-mind:
1. Call the Right People
This is the oldest fundamental out there, and one that even with today’s technology keeps getting missed – you have to pick up the phone.
“Some salespeople have an aversion to hammering away on the phone to get through a list and keep calling people when most of the time nobody picks up. But it’s a key fundamental and you just have to do what you can to create conversations,” said Bob.
This is a good example where any salesperson will understand this concept, but then just not do it regularly. But we all know salespeople are competitive and are wired to pursue a goal when it’s put out in front of them. This is why it’s important to be clear about expectations that are based on what it takes to be successful.
“Reverse engineering your sales process with your salespeople involved is key here so they can map it all together. For example, if you have a $1 million quota, you need to build $4 million in pipeline, which will require 40 new business meetings per month, which will require making 50 calls a day to get those meetings. When it’s mapped out that way, salespeople will start seeing each call as the step toward hitting quota,” said Bob.
LevelEleven helps this by giving each salesperson their own personal Scorecard of how they’re doing against their call goals, including if they are on, behind or ahead of pace. When making those goals front-and-center versus needing to go hunt down a report and trying to decipher what it’s saying, salespeople respond and change their behavior accordingly.
2. Talk to People
Another key fundamental is the need to talk to people consistently. Similar to making calls, for many sales professionals this can often be often forgotten throughout the daily grind, especially when it seems like there are lots of email exchanges going on with prospects.
“Salespeople can get very busy writing proposals, researching contacts, or planning their trips but they’re simply not talking to enough people. There are all kinds of sales and marketing technology that can feel like a sales rep’s silver bullet, but the reality is that without actually talking to people consistently you’ll never get the success you want,” said Bob.
“LevelEleven helps you identify how many people you need to talk to per day, per week, per month – whatever it might be that will help you reach your sales goals. If you want to generate 10 opportunities per month, how many people do you need to talk to create 10 opportunities? LevelEleven answers that question and helps you meet your ‘talk time’ goals.”
So, how does LevelEleven make this sales fundamental more actionable?
“With LevelEleven, the most common and consistent metric used by sales teams are meetings or conversations. By helping companies set conversation-based goals you can help keep a salesperson on track. It’s similar to how a FitBit tracks your activity to help you reach your health and fitness goals,” said Bob.
3. Build Pipeline
Next, you need to be building pipeline from all those conversations.
“Many salespeople go through ebbs and flows and build up a whole bunch of pipeline over a couple of months. Then they get hyper-focused on closing pre-existing opportunities that they forget to continue to build pipeline. As a result, they have to start all over again once those deals are finalized and the cycle happens again,” Bob said.
“You need to build pipeline consistently because you always need to be developing for the future. With LevelEleven a common metric we build for clients is what we call a Waterline metric because the salesperson can see if their total open pipeline is above or below some defined waterline. For example, if a rep should have 4x their quota in pipeline that is at stage 3 or later, we can tell the rep exactly where they stand. Through our pacing algorithm color coding, it’s very clear to the rep that when the waterline metric goes in the red, they need to start building pipeline. Without this front and center, you just don’t know,” said Bob.
4. Advance the Sales Process
“Once you have an opportunity, you need to build a plan to take it to the next stage,” said Bob.
“Sometimes salespeople get so hung up on getting to the win and what can they close this month, they aren’t thinking about the next step in the process for the early stage opportunities. They should be asking themselves, ‘What’s the next best step to take here? What do I need to do to move this opportunity one step further, and therefore closer to winning it or qualifying it out?’” said Bob.
“It’s important to build a customer-centric process. I like when companies have their opportunity stages in Salesforce.com mapped to the buyer’s process, versus the company’s desired sales process. It’s a nuance, but in today’s age, you just have to be focused on helping the customer buy – not selling AT them. Sometimes salespeople don’t see the sales stages as something that can help them, rather they see it as a corporate measurement system to track them. But the process is actually there to guide the salesperson based on historic wins and losses. It allows them to focus on what’s in front of them, and not get tunnel vision focusing on the end goal,” said Bob.
“As a salesperson, you have to operate like a project manager because sometimes what you want to sell your prospect isn’t their top priority at the moment – it’s a big deal to you, but just a small list of to-do items for them. By staying in front of the customer as a project manager would you can lay out the steps to help them move through the process effectively,” Bob said.
5. Track Your Progress
However, no sales process can thrive without proper tracking of key metrics. Something even the most established companies overlook at times.
“Companies want to know, ‘How do I keep track of key metrics?’ Some companies try to do this through Salesforce reports and dashboards. The challenge is those can be difficult to decipher and not every salesperson takes the time to go find them, let alone decipher what they are saying and the resulting actions they should take,” said Bob.
“This is the place where LevelEleven shines,” Bob said.
“You need to track progress, but most importantly you need to put that information in front of sales reps so they know where they stand and what actions they need to take. After all, they want to be successful, hit their goals and make money. But if that information isn’t front-and-center it’s far more difficult for them to do that,” said Bob.
LevelEleven provides that front-and-center visual for salespeople, sales managers and sales executives. With that type of visual aide into the sales process, the entire team can identify which fundamentals they excel at and which they need to improve upon. The end result – a synchronized sales team that’s operating at maximum productivity.
Would you like to learn more about LevelEleven? Visit the link below to explore our success stories!
At LevelEleven, our best indication of success doesn’t come from a dataset or a spreadsheet – it comes from the happiness of our customers. At LevelEleven, our best indication of success doesn’t come from a dataset or a spreadsheet – it comes from the happiness of our customers. So, being named to G2 Crowd’s list of Top Software Companies 2018 means just a little more to our team in Motown because this particular award came straight from the customer.
The Best Resource for B2B Reviews
G2 Crowd is the world’s leading business software and services review platform. With more than 300,000+ reviews from business professionals across the globe, G2 Crowd provides purchasing transparency for over 1 million buyers each month. In today’s hyper-connected world, G2 Crowd breaks through the static so companies like LevelEleven can let the quality of their product speak for itself.
Double the Required Reviews
Unlike other awards, there’s no self-nomination or costs involved in the G2 Crowd awards. The winners are determined by the customers and if a product doesn’t have at least 100 reviews, they aren’t applicable for any awards. LevelEleven doubled the criteria, with 206 reviews to date. Each company also receives a score based on G2 Crowd‘s algorithm that measures success from the prior year.
In 2012, as a fresh new startup out of Detroit, being named a Top Software Company by G2 Crowd seemed worlds away. Now, in 2018 with sales automation taking the tech industry by storm and our recent strategic partnership with Geopointe – the premiere Salesforce geolocation platform – the future seems limitless.
About Level Eleven
LevelEleven is a Sales Management System that managers and executives trust while keeping salespeople engaged in the right behaviors that lead to closing more business. Level Eleven does this through real-time leaderboards and contests, the ability to put live sales data up on your office TV’s, sales KPI and goal management, and sales coaching application that helps companies coach their salespeople with structure and consistency.
Do you use LevelEleven? Leave us a G2 Crowd Review so we can continue to improve LevelEleven with your feedback!
During my time at LevelEleven I have met and/or worked with hundreds of sales teams and I have seen many of the pitfalls they experience in their day-to-day work. With that in mind, I have consolidated these learning into 5 common sales pitfalls that I see salespeople make every day and some suggestions on how to avoid them. Enjoy!
1. Not practicing urgency
Too many sales organizations never insist on closing a deal for fear of being a nuisance. If you truly believe in your company, solution, and the value you provide, don’t be afraid to act. Drive urgency to your prospects around the use cases you have uncovered and business cases you have developed. To add structure, agree upon a sequence of events or close plan. Many times, I’ve failed to practice enough urgency early on and further delayed deals that were slowed down by events beyond my control. Don’t let that happen.
No one buys a price – ever! I have been in sales my entire adult life and have been tricked by thousands of buyers who said “price is the only issue”. Your buyer may seem obsessed with price, demand your lowest price and claim the budget cannot be violated. Despite all this, every one of them will pay a higher price if you convince them your product is worth their investment.
I have seen salespeople spend hours creating sales decks and presentations. They become so dependent on the content in the deck that they are no longer aware of vital buying signals or red flags in a sales process. Absolutely, you want a great deck, but never become so reliant on it that you are unable to see what is important.
It is my experience that salespeople miss opportunities to build trust by not asking the hard questions. This either comes from naivety or a lack of proper training. I witnessed this on a sales call with one of my top people. While he was presenting to the group, I sensed that the decision-maker wasn’t buying what he was saying. The tough questions were not being asked.
Here is an example: “Why would you do business with me when you have been working with our competitor for so long?” It might feel awkward at first, but if you don’t get answers to the hard questions upfront, it will hinder your ability to close the deal down the line.
A mistake I’ve made many times is putting too much attention on the decision-maker and not enough on the influencers. To avoid this, ask the prospect, “Who else, other than yourself, will influence your decision and/or offer final input?” Find out why they are important to the decision and what is most important to them. Influencers are critical and often have the authority to push a deal across the finish line or far away from it – and quickly.
I hope you have found this overview helpful. If you have additional questions or are looking for a solution to keep your team focused on what really matters, then I encourage you to take a look at a Sales Management System like LevelEleven.