Being a good salesperson, or good at selling, is difficult to quantify. More of an art than a science, sales plays a critical role in almost all businesses. Yet, businesses rarely use best practices or proven sales process tips to increase success rates.
That’s why every year Pipedrive analyses anonymized metadata from 70,000 SMEs and hundreds of thousands of salespeople around the world. We undertake this annual exercise not simply to highlight the best sales teams, but to ascertain exactly why they are so successful.
Although it’s difficult to generalize across sectors and territories, our data found that higher performing sales teams saw a typical conversion rate of 37%, closing deals on average in 36.5 days. In comparison, the average conversion rate of low performers is 4.95%, taking 56.62 days to close a deal.
Drilling into the data we also found some fascinating commonalities across the top performing teams, no matter what industry or country they work in.
We can distill these findings into three actionable tips:
1) Keep Your Sales Pipeline Lean
One of the greatest attributes a salesperson can have is tenacity, but they are often guilty of trying to do too much. Arguably the most crucial revelation from our data was that simplification is absolutely paramount, no matter what the industry or the geography.
Keep your sales pipeline lean—don’t go after every prospect that walks through the door. Focus on activities that work. And remember, knowing what doesn’t work is equally as important as knowing what does. By shaking off those stages, or activities, that never get results, you can better focus your time on the most effective layers of your process.
This may sound obvious, but taking a scattergun approach to sales will rarely give you the results you need. It will actually just end up consuming all your time, affecting your processing, analysis, and execution of prospects that may be on the edge of conversion.
In fact, data shows that:
Companies with low conversion rates actually conducted 30% more activities than high performing ones. These high performing teams are doing more by doing less.
The lesson is simple then: don’t just work harder, work smarter.
2) Record Every Customer Touchpoint (Even If It’s on the Go)
When we took a closer look at the highest-performing sales teams we found that they used mobile to manage their sales pipelines far more than their lower ranked peers. Above average performers typically increased their mobile activity by 33%. This could be because top performers never “switch off” but we think the reason is more nuanced.
Success in sales can often come down to the fundamentals of accurate record and note taking. Recording each and every touchpoint with a prospect means you are fully prepared for the next interaction with them.
Moving them through your CRM sales pipeline the moment you finish speaking/interacting with them means they’re served the right messaging at the right time. Thus, helping push them towards conversion.
The heavy mobile use of top performers suggests they’re keeping records on the move. This includes editing their CRM and updating colleagues the moment they get out of the meeting.
They’re using cloud CRM technology to make sure crucial info on a prospect is never lost in a pile of notebooks.
And don’t stop there. Today, we have a plethora of digital tools at our disposal—from CRM platforms to messaging software. Find your preferred weapons of choice, and leverage them to push leads down the pipeline quickly and efficiently.
3) Don’t Be Afraid to Break up with Prospects
Our research shows that knowing when to “break up” with a prospect is crucial.
Sales teams need to get to a “no” quicker. This lets them move on and focus on the right opportunities, significantly improving conversion rates. High-performing organizations that focus on prioritization generally add half as many prospects to their pipeline but win at least twice as many.
There is no universal formula for how much time you should spend pursuing a lead. The most important thing is understanding the prospect.
How qualified are they? Have they responded before? Are they willing to answer the hard questions? Knowledge and intuition are powerful things, but when that fails email tracking is a useful way to use data to gauge interest.
If your prospect is reading your emails, they may be worth a little more time. If you have a 0% open rates and no response, take the hint and say goodbye.
Also published on Medium.