Successful companies are maniacal about customer service. Organisations that do everything they can to delight customers will keep their churn rate low, build strong brand recognition and attain a strong bottom line.
However, while many organisations spend a great deal of time and money on resources, systems and facilities to take care of customers, they often neglect their own employees, particularly their sales teams.
To remedy this problem, you should consider the key components of your customer strategy — acquisition, growth and retention — and apply them to your sales hiring process.
1. Employee acquisition
If sales is the lifeblood keeping an organisation alive, then customer acquisition is what keeps that blood flowing.
Without a steady stream of new customers to backfill the sales pipeline, organisations will quickly burn out.
There are a multitude of tools to help with this process, but one of the most revolutionary is lead scoring technology.
Lead scoring allows you to analyze your prospects and determine which have the highest chance of closing.
But what about hiring? If you are going to acquire the very best customers, you’ll need the very best employees.
One of the most important people in a sales organisation is a “scrappy sales manager,” someone who has a clear vision of the company’s direction and goals and who works tirelessly at following that direction and reaching those goals.
Too much time is wasted by employees who either don’t know these things or simply don’t care. You can remedy that by hiring a sales manager who knows, cares and carries that message to the rest of the sales team.
Alongside a strong sales manager, you need to acquire the right talent to support him or her. Right now, the standard procedure is to read a few resumes, conduct a few interviews and use intuition to make a best guess at who should be hired.
Instead of taking an approach that relies on instincts, you should use data-driven hiring techniques to ensure you are hiring top performers who fit the culture of your business. This becomes more important when we consider even the best recruiters tend to be successful in only 50% to 60% of appointments.
2. Employee growth
Acquiring new customers isn’t the only way to grow a business. Many organisations will also try to grow their customers, using specific strategies around upselling and cross-selling to sell new products and additional services to existing customers.
This is typically less expensive than acquiring brand-new clients.
At XANT, our customers define our success. We build our platform and applications so that companies can increase sales and grow their revenue.
Employee growth works the same way.
In order to meet the needs of employees, organisations must help them grow in their roles and develop their careers.
One of the best ways to do this is through proper employee training and coaching.
According to Lisa Clark, VP of marketing and business development at Qstream, proper coaching is one of the biggest drivers of sales effectiveness.
Unfortunately, far too many organisations invest little time in it, using busy schedules as an excuse.
To fix this, leadership must make this a priority and provide managers with the tools they need to provide the right coaching for their teams.
Personalized coaching will boost individual confidence and lead to substantial increases in performance.
3. Employee retention
Acquiring and growing your customers is useless if you can’t keep them.
For many companies, especially those in the SaaS industry, the cost of acquiring a new customer is higher than the revenue that customer initially provides.
It isn’t until after a few years that customers start to become profitable. If too many customers leave before that point, you won’t be operating much longer.
A similar phenomenon exists with employee retention. Depending on the role, organisations can spend a lot of money acquiring and training a new employee before that investment pays off.
Again, keeping that employee around is key.
In order to reduce turnover rates, employers can do a number of things. As mentioned earlier, job growth and career development are vital in this process. If employees can’t find the growth they need with you, they’ll find it elsewhere.
Another big factor driving job satisfaction is proper motivation. Far too many companies rely on compensation as their only motivational factor, but that isn’t enough. Even if employees are paid well, if they find the job dreary, they won’t stay long.
According to a 2013 Gallup poll, only 13% of employees are engaged at work. How do you keep your reps engaged when the job can be repetitive and difficult?
It turns out that feedback and scorekeeping are essential in keeping employees engaged and motivated at work. One of the simplest ways to accomplish both of these is adopting gamification into the workplace.
Gamification simply means incorporating game elements, like achievements, badges and scoring, into daily work process. For example, sales teams can rank reps by call volume or appointments set.
Using gamification with a dashboard that displays scores in real time provides instant feedback into rep performance compared to their peers, and pushes them to improve.
XANT’s research has found that by incorporating real-time points and leaderboards, sales teams can achieve up to a 38% increase in sales activities.
If you want to get the most out of your employees, you need to be just as maniacal about sales hiring as you are about customer service.
To learn what goes into building a top-performing sales development team, download this free ebook.