We like to assume that our sales team is motivated and dedicated to meeting goals and building revenue. However, it’s easy for any employee, including those driven by commission, to get distracted and off-task.

 A Harvard Business Review article talks about the importance of using measurements, as opposed to just a summary of activities, to ensure contacts and follow-ups are being made. The article is promoting workplace software. However, if you're not able to make that kind of investment, here are a few steps you can take to improve the effectiveness of your sales team:

Find a way to gather data.
According to the article, “By seeing exactly where and how people spend their time — rather than relying on recollections, anecdotes, or assumptions — executives have a solid basis for taking actions that will raise productivity. This view, combined with traditional sources such as quota attainment data, territory and account plans, and qualitative observations from ride-alongs and coaching sessions, allows executives to confidently identify which activities and behaviors matter most for sales performance.”

Ask customers how they want to interact with your salespeople.
Here’s what one company discovered when they simply asked the question: “From customer surveys, one supplier learned that 60% of customers prefer to interact with sales reps by email, 30% by phone, and fewer than 10% by in-person meetings.”

Once you know your customers' preferences, your sales team can follow a more effective path for interacting. 

Align sales priorities and incentives.
Assign customers a priority level, such as Tier 1 and Tier 2, to help salespeople focus on the accounts you want them to focus on. Have them document the amount of time they are spending on those priority accounts.

Identify What Top Performers Do Differently.
Top salespeople may have some natural ability, but they also follow certain steps and processes to achieve success. Find out what they do and say and then teach those techniques to your entire sales staff.

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