The primary goal of any business is to generate revenue, and one of the methods to maintaining a steady cash flow is to have a dedicated sales team closing deals on new jobs.
Having a sales team on board isn’t where you should stop though. Taking the time to evaluate your sales team will help you know where you can improve productivity, where certain sales members are struggling and if some actually need to be reassigned or let go.
Obviously, revenue generated per sales rep is an important metric to look at, but there are other elements to consider as sales is a multifaceted entity that can be hard to quantify sometimes.
Some of the factors you can easily determine are in the data. It’s important to maintain records so these numbers are readily available and not just guesstimates.
Specific measurable actions are one way to identify which actions are working for your sales team as well as identify where your individual reps are over- or underperforming. Some action-based metrics could include the number of first contact or follow-up calls made, the number of follow-up emails sent, the number of meetings scheduled/conducted and the number of proposals sent.
If a sales rep is doing great at their first contact call numbers but is struggling to close, this employee might be more suited as a sales development representative where he/she can help drum up leads for others who are better at closing.
Time spent selling/closing
Time is a precious commodity and you need to make sure your sales reps are spending their time pursuing the right leads. If team members are sending out proposals that always end up going unsigned, chances are they are selling to the wrong potential clients. If you know who your target clientele is, teach your reps the qualifying questions to ask to ensure they don’t waste time on those who won’t or can’t buy your services.
The average length of time it takes for a sales rep to close a deal is another metric that can reflect on your employee’s performance. If a sales staff member is spending large chunks of time working on a customer who has a low likelihood to convert, help give them direction on who they should be investing their time in for faster sales cycles.
If you’re like most landscaping companies, you can’t really afford to ignore leads. Now, this isn’t to say you should take on every job a customer comes to you for, but you always need to follow up in a timely manner, even if it is to tell the homeowner you are currently booked up or need to refer them to another trustworthy business.
According to Docurated, companies that contact a lead within an hour of the initial query are seven times more likely to qualify the lead than those who waited past an hour. Those that wait 24 hours before contacting a lead are 60 times less likely to qualify the lead compared to those that responded within the first hour.
Understandably, this is not always feasible, but it doesn’t mean your sales team members shouldn’t be trying to get back with inquiring customers as soon as possible. The longer they’re left waiting, the more likely they are to keep searching for someone who wants their business.
One of the reasons why it’s important to look at all of the metrics instead of just one is because an individual metric cannot tell the whole story. A sales rep may have fast sales cycle, but what is the size of the deal itself? If your landscaping company is trying to win over high-end residential customers, selling small mulching jobs isn’t going to do much to build your portfolio or your cash flow.
Your employee may be going after these smaller deals because they are easier to close, but they’re also passing up the opportunity to follow more lucrative leads. Perhaps they don’t feel comfortable asking customers for sales with a larger price tag or they may be going for the low-hanging fruit simply because it will help them meet their quota. Whatever the reason may be, you need to be clear with your sales team what acceptable job sizes are and it is more about the quality of the jobs they sell rather than the quantity.
However, measuring just by the numbers only gives you one part of the picture. There are other intangible aspects that also must be considered when you’re assessing the effectiveness of your team.
This article is about your sales team, so it’s obviously important that your sales reps act like one. If you offer a sales commission to those who go above and beyond your sales target, this could create some unintentional competition and make your staff less inclined to help each other, but this doesn’t have to be the case.
Lone wolves are not a good fit for a sales team because they are often unwilling to share their best practices, holding the team back from improving as a whole. If a sales rep is only looking out for his or herself or is a negative influence within the company, they might not need to be a part of your team at all.
Similar to having a team that works together is making sure that you have a team that is happy to be there in general. If a sales rep isn’t happy, they aren’t going to put forth any maximum effort to engage with leads or close a sale.
If morale seems to be dropping among your sales team, take the time to get their feedback or conduct a survey to see what is affecting their satisfaction with the company. You want to take action as quickly as possible to improve this so your sales numbers don’t drop along with their mood.
A good sales rep isn’t just closing one-time deals; the rep is also forming relationships with the customers that your company will be able to retain beyond a single job. A sign of a particularly excellent rep is one who has formed such a reliable relationship with the client that they will readily vouch for and recommend your business to others.
Other signs of a sales rep working well with customers is when they will listen to the customer’s requests, modify their personality to accommodate the buyer’s style and provide targeted solutions for the potential customers instead of a generic pitch.
After evaluating and considering what you know about each sales team member from a numbers and subjective standpoint, you should be able to determine if an employee simply needs some extra coaching, a new position within the company or if it’s time to bid them farewell.