How does any company succeed? They grow sales.
Sounds simple, right? Well, maybe not so much. Sales growth, or how fast your business grows its sales over time, can be difficult to nail down without a strategy and buy-in from your sales team.
So if you’re looking for ways for your sales team to accelerate revenue, why not try these 14 sales growth strategies on for size? Here are the main takeaways we collected from successful sales reps and coaches from around the world.
Your sales growth is the rate at which your company grows its sales over a fixed period of time. It’s an excellent way to see how quickly your sales team can boost revenue and help the company scale.
Since it’s directly related to revenue and profit, sales growth is commonly used by company leadership as a key performance indicator (KPI). Often, leaders will check in on sales growth rate when determining future business strategy.
Sales growth is important because it can show how well (or not well) a company is keeping ahead of competitors. A positive sales growth rate shows a company is actively closing deals and keeping its products or services relevant to customers.
On top of that, sales team leaders can use the sales growth KPI to motivate their teams. While executives may be mostly focused on sales growth alone, sales teams can focus on metrics that directly influence sales growth, including:
You can calculate your sales growth rate with the following formula:
(Current period sales - previous period sales) / (previous period sales x 100)
It’s hard to say what a “good” sales growth rate is since every company's rate of growth differs.
For example, smaller companies may achieve higher sales growth rates more easily than larger companies. This is because they’re more likely to have smaller profits, so it only takes a few additional closed deals to substantially boost their sales growth rate.
Your sales growth rate is also influenced by the market(s) your company targets. Some markets are more competitive than others, which might slow down your growth rate.
This tip may seem counterintuitive, but let Keenan, CEO and president of A Sales Growth Company, explain:
“If you find yourself talking about your product or service, the features and functions, [or] what your company does BEFORE you’ve found and quantified a problem, you’re sinking the sail.”
What Keenan means is that, before you hop on a cold calling spree, you should identify what your ideal customer’s pain points are. Once you’ve narrowed those down and have a clear vision of your client’s problem, figure out how your product or service can solve it.
Lisa Richards, CEO and creator of Candida Diet, recommends making every customer feel special and valued.
“When your customers feel special,” Richards says, “they’ll continue doing business with you long after they’ve made their purchase — and they’ll tell their friends and family about the great experience they had with your company.”
Referrals like this lead to a 30% higher conversion rate, a reduction in customer acquisition cost, and improved customer retention, among multiple other benefits to revenue and profit.
As Kiana Lewis, a managing member of 360 DigiSales and copywriter, notes, content is a long game. But just like setting up your pieces in a game of chess, producing thoughtful content can greatly impact sales growth.
“Content creation builds trust and reliability,” Lewis says. “It helps businesses stay top of mind.”
When you empower your sales team, your leads and customers notice.
Dawn Starr, a sales enablement manager at Mindtickle, says sales leaders should “define role-based excellence.” This may require you to analyze data, assess outcomes, enable your team, and coach your sales reps on an individual level.
It sounds like a lot, but it’s worth it. A solid sales strategy makes your customers feel like they’ve received “white glove service” from the first cold call to closing the deal.
Turn data into a game
Incentivize your sales team with contests involving real-time metrics and KPIs. Learn how sales gamification can empower your sales team.
If your sales team is too focused on the mindset of “Always Be Closing” (ABC), your sales pipeline might dry up. Instead, sales teams should add “Always Be Prospecting” (ABP) to their strategy.
Bill Cooper, vice president of sales for Cirrus Systems, Inc., notes that some salespeople rely too much on using “their existing accounts to ‘keep the lights on’ and don’t spend enough time expanding the ‘top of the funnel.’”
His advice? “Prospect every day. Be working 10 prospects for every sale you need to make your number.”
Keep it simple: Simple sales compensation plans are cheaper, easier to administer, and yield better results than complex plans.
While it’s important to always be prospecting, you should take a step back and ensure your sales team knows who your ideal customer is.
Patricia Jones, co-founder of Neutypechic, advises that sales managers and teams make sure they’re working with the right prospects.
“I've been in sales for most of my career, and I've seen how some of my colleagues have gone through the motions, trying to get as many people on their lists as possible,” she says. “But they don't have a clear understanding of who their ideal customer is — and so they wind up spending time and resources on people who aren't going to buy from them anyway.”
Identifying your ideal customer and limiting your prospect list to only those potential clients who fit that description also strengthens your approach.
“If you know what your ideal customer looks like, you can focus your efforts on finding just those people, so that when you do reach out to them, they feel like it's personalized content and an invitation to connect with them specifically,” Jones adds.
It may not seem like much, but positive thinking can dramatically change how your team approaches sales calls. Alex Goldfayn, CEO of The Revenue Growth Consultancy and author of the book Pick Up the Phone and Sell, recommends coaching your sales reps to “think of (the prospect) saying yes. Think of how you can help them.”
“Do it every time you make a call, it will have a bigger impact than you might realize,” he says.
Overlay your product portfolio and the characteristics that define a high-value target account with your total addressable market. According to Tom Hill and Charlie Pope, both from Axiom Consulting Partners, this helps you identify:
After that, Hill and Pope advise sales leaders to create a roadmap of the identified opportunities and coach their sales teams on how to prioritize and target those opportunities.
A motivated sales team is a dream, but having a reliable system in place when the going gets tough is even better.
Gary Hemming, the commercial lending director for ABC Finance, notes, “No matter how strong the sales ability of yourself and your team is, you’ll always face a dip in performance at some point. When this happens, it’s important that you have a strong system to refresh on, understand what’s changed (are you skipping steps, have the customers changed), and look to correct it.”
As Hemming describes it, a system helps create order out of what could be chaos. “A system allows you to consider each step and identify the pinch points, then improve them, he says. “The alternative is a disorganized tangle of information that can’t be easily assessed, taught, or improved.”
It may seem obvious, but an easy way to boost your sales growth is to earn a reputation for helping your clients succeed.
As Vladimir Gendelman, CEO of Company Folders, puts it, “When you invest in your client's success, you transcend the boundaries of a business transaction and provide great value that will ultimately lead to their satisfaction.”
This could be as simple as ensuring the product delivered to your client is high-quality and meets their needs, but you could take additional steps to ensure your customer’s success.
Gendelman says, “Whether that means investing in a website that makes ordering easier, content that guides them towards making better decisions, or one-on-one consultations where you listen and learn more about their needs, helping clients to accomplish their goals will always be my number one play to grow sales and build a high-quality portfolio of patrons.”
As Michael Dalis, CEO of Drive Sales Consulting, says in his book, Cracking the Code, “Sales belongs to everyone or it belongs to no one.”
If your sales team is working hard to boost sales growth, it’s important that the rest of the company is working toward the same goal. (And we don’t just mean stakeholders.) Getting buy-in from other teams and leaders ensures that the sales team isn’t working inside a bubble.
Including the rest of the business in your sales growth goals also opens the door for additional support. If other teams like marketing or customer support pitch in, your potential new clients will see consistent messaging, and it’s more likely you’ll succeed in growing revenue.
Along with coaching and training, you should ensure your sales team is properly incentivized to hustle and boost annual sales growth. One such way is with a personalized compensation plan.
As Danny Wong points out in a Salesforce article about employee motivation, another way is to give your sales team autonomy and allow them to be part of decision making.
“Sales teams feel a greater sense of ownership and motivation when businesses give their employees more flexibility to decide these factors,” Wong explains, referring to decisions regarding the following:
“Most people think that if they want to improve their sales, they need to find new things to sell or new ways to sell existing products,” Rengie Wisper, co-founder of Ever Wallpaper, says. “But in most cases, the problem isn't that you aren't selling enough — it's that the way you are selling isn't working as well as it could.”
So how do you analyze your existing efforts and find ways to improve? You could look at KPIs and sales metrics to understand where your efforts might fall behind.
According to Scott Edinger, a writer for Harvard Business Review, some of the most important sales metrics to keep tabs on include:
Analyzing and doubling down on your current processes can greatly improve your sales team’s chances of landing qualified prospects and closing deals.
What’s one strong indicator of whether your sales efforts aren’t hitting the mark and how you can improve? Feedback from potential customers.
“I'm a big fan of getting feedback from people who aren't customers yet — potential customers who aren't yet convinced that your product or service is worth their money,” says Will Yang, head of growth at Instrumentl. “These people will tell you straight up whether or not they think it's worth it — and that kind of honesty can be invaluable when it comes time to make changes and improvements to your offerings.”
While asking for feedback can seem intimidating, you can easily build automatic feedback loops into your sales process. HubSpot recommends some of the following feedback collection methods:
Of course, a live, face-to-face conversation may be the most successful method. If you ask your sales team to follow up and ask for feedback, ensure you coach them on the best ways to approach potential clients.
All tips aside, it’s important to remember that no matter what strategy you use to elevate your sales growth, your sales team is the driving force behind it. This is why it’s important to keep your team engaged and incentivized.
Gamification is a powerful way to do just that. If you’d like to see how gamifying your sales growth strategy could benefit your business, book a free demo with Arcade today.