6 Ways to Increase Sales Metrics by@dtymoshenko

6 Ways to Increase Sales Metrics

Focusing only on revenue is a sales manager’s mistake because revenue is lagging indicator. If you want to increase revenue, focus on leading metrics that affect the final result. If the manager deviates from the script, penalize him. The sales department should have a set of instructions and regulations for working with CRM. The fault lies with the fault with managers (they don’t write comments, forget to move deals or move deals with the system itself when it moves poorly tuned or give itself poorly tuned.
Dmytro Tymoshenko HackerNoon profile picture

Dmytro Tymoshenko

ex - CBDO Osmi Pro | Brand-strategist | Business coach

Focusing only on revenue is а sales manager’s mistake because revenue is a lagging indicator. When you realize that the plan is not fulfilled, it is too late to do anything. If you want to increase revenue, focus on leading metrics that affect the final result. Or rather, on the processes behind these metrics. Let's take a look at 6 of them that most influence sales in online schools and beyond.

1. Scripts

The main thing for the growth of the sales department is to find a working script through experiments. With it, you can quickly train and bring a beginner to the level of experienced managers. Not some newcomer star, but an ordinary person who meets a set of formal criteria (is sane, does not mispronounce words, speaks coherently).

Carefully write down in the script the elements that critically affect the sale. If the manager deviates from the script, penalize him. Even if the manager sold, but ignored the mandatory elements of the script, penalize him. At first, this can be tough but only this approach allows you to scale and automate the sales department.

Important: the working script for the sales department is not the same as the working script for the call center. It should give sufficient flexibility in work while including critical elements from which it is forbidden to deviate. And what these elements are, you have to find out in the course of A / B tests and experiments.

There is nothing new in communicating with leads. Whatever you are selling, every sale goes through five stages:

  • Greeting and establishing contact
  • Finding out the need
  • Presentation
  • Handling objections
  • Closing the deal

The manager can't help but greet the lead. Calling, mumbling a “Hello” and immediately starting a sale is unacceptable. The manager must give his name, the name of the company he represents, and explain to the client why he is calling. It is impossible to systematically sell without introducing yourself. The same goes for identifying needs. If you do not know why the client left a request – what will you sell and how?

Sometimes the manager comes across only hot leads, and even in a row – this is when an anomaly occurs. An anomaly in the sales department is a deviation from the norm. For example, when a manager shows a conversion that is much higher or much lower than others for no obvious reason. Each anomaly must be carefully studied.

Case: how a checklist and call monitoring helped to find an anomaly. When I was a commercial director, in addition to being the head of the sales department, there was a senior manager.

Out of inexperience, we gave him control over the email sales team. Those were the guys who communicated with customers in social networks, chatbots, and by email. Their KPI was the number of leads transferred to the sales team.

So, the senior manager made a deal with them so the most interested leads were sent to his personal Telegram. Leading indicators were terrible: he spent 50% less time on the line than other managers, and terrible quality assessment. At the same time, he had more sales than anyone else. We didn't understand how this was possible.

And the truth was:

The lead writes: "Send me the link and I'll pay." Correspondence team answers: “Great, we’ll give your contact to the manager, he will call and help you.” The senior manager calls the lead: “Hello, I’m sending you a link.” He sends the link and helps the lead to make the payment. And that's it, the sale is scored.

That fraud was detected precisely because we saw an anomaly.

2. Guidelines and Regulations

The sales department should have a set of instructions and regulations. Here is a list for the sales department of an online school:

  • Sales book, which describes in detail the culture, company products, main offers, and portraits of the target audience
  • Instructions for working with CRM
  • Installment payment instructions
  • Instructions for returns.
  • Instructions for transferring a student to study
  • Financial motivation system: bonuses and bonus deductions
  • Checklist for the end of the working day
  • Checklist for daily reporting

By experimenting with regulations, you will understand and find business processes that can be automated in the future.

3. CRM Discipline

Experience shows that this aspect of the sales department tends to be problematic more often than others. The fault lies with the managers (they don’t write comments, overdue tasks, forget to move deals) or with the system itself when it’s weak or poorly tuned (for example, to give the opportunity to close deals for biased reasons).

Here is a sad example: In one CRM I saw the stage “closed for unknown reasons”. I listened to the calls and the leads were just normal. I caught one manager asking: “Why did you close this lead?”. The answer was staggering: “I don’t really know.”

The problem was that there was such a reason in CRM, so the managers just dumped everyone who they felt lazy or found hard to work with.

Because of these situations, companies lose money and CRM – the raison d'être. Therefore, it is important to carefully set up your CRM, write regulations, and train managers.

When everything does work manually, you can start automation. An example is the Sensei widget for amoCRM, used by Skillbox. Sensei and similar widgets allow you to prescribe and automate routine business processes.

For example, after completing a call, the manager sees a pop-up that cannot be closed until he writes a comment. Or, if you didn't pick up the phone, the widget automatically sets the task to call the client again in N hours. There can be dozens of such processes, and this significantly simplifies life.

4. Mass Call Monitoring and Checklists

Calls from managers need to be listened to constantly and en masse. This increases discipline and helps to find problem areas, and evaluate the quality of working with the script. And yet, without call monitoring, it is impossible to conduct A / B testing of scripts.

For example: one Ukrainian online school has implemented the monitoring of 100% of their calls. Their quality control department is the size of their sales department. Call monitoring detects how much the manager followed the script, and accurate use of the script directly affects managers’ salaries. Due to this, the school quickly tests the scripts and finds the most successful ones. Also, it controls discipline in the department and receives the same, predictable performance rates from managers.

To implement call monitoring, you must understand what the manager has to say during the call and have specific checklists for assessing quality.

The problem with many checklists is abstract criteria, like “The manager was energetic.”

I once saw this criterion: “The manager applied the “wow effect” in the sale.” But that "wow effect" was not defined. Because of this, it was impossible to prove to the manager that he did not do that. The manager would say: “I applied the “wow effect”, you say: “No, you didn’t apply it”, he says again: “I did”, you: “No, there was no “wow effect”.

The solution is to write down the main phrases that the manager must say. This makes the call monitoring objective, and also helps to automate.

For example: a quality control manager fills out a Google Forms questionnaire and gives scores for each step: “1” if the manager said the right phrase or “0” if he did not. If the manager introduces himself according to the script, he gets 1 point. If he doesn't ask the right question, he gets 0 points. The scores go into a Google Form, and the manager sees data for the department and for each manager: which stage of sales stumbles, how objections are worked out, how questions are answered, etc.

In the future, try to evaluate the actions of the manager depending on their impact on the sale. For example, the question “How will you pay: immediately or in installments?” at the end of the conversation greatly affects the sale. Give the manager +3 points if he asked the question and -3 points if he forgot.

5. Tight Control Over Closing Deals

To improve work with rejections, write down clear reasons for the closure. This will help set up analytics and prevent managers from dumping leads. With clear closing criteria, it's easy to identify a discarded lead: the manager closes the deal, the quality control department checks it and if the specified closing reason does not correspond to the actual one, the manager receives a penalty.

2 reasons why leads are discarded:

  1. There are too many leads. Managers close only the hottest ones and discard those who are difficult to squeeze, – "Anyway, there will be a new one." To fix this, normalize the number of leads. Example: Skillbox used to have a plan – a little less than $100,000 per manager. At the same time, the manager was given 6 new validated leads per day (that is, those with whom the call center had already spoken). Managers were ready to kill for these leads and squeezed each one to the end.

  2. Managers don't work well with objections. If leads are closed for the reason “expensive”, then either marketing brings in non-targeted leads or managers do not know how to close such an objection. Or both together. To find out, listen to all the deals closed for the reason “expensive”. Understand what “expensive” means and what its varieties are: “no money in general”, “no money this month”, “can’t take installments”, “didn’t have time to buy at a discount”, “didn’t convey the value ... One objection may hide dozens of others. Take it apart and teach managers to work with them, otherwise, the drain of leads will continue.

Summing up, if you found a leak, do the following:

• Describe in detail and criteria all the possible reasons for closing the lead • Write the rules for closing the lead and the policy of penalties for violating the rules. Then communicate the policy to managers • Set up call monitoring and analytics of the reasons for closing • Train managers to handle the objections that most often lead to closure

6. Regular Resuscitation of Closed Leads

The journey of a lead should not end with a closure: try to reanimate it. To do this, combine the efforts of the marketing and sales teams.

Resuscitation through marketing:

• Transfer closed leads to an automated SMS and email mailing list. Offer free products, demo access, tripwires, content — everything that will help warm up and return the lead to the main funnel. • If there are more than 1000 such contacts, create a remarketing list and link ads to a special offer. Lead to a promo page with an offer like “Get a discount, only for 12 hours”. • Build a cascading communication. For example, in the first week, warm up with content, for the second, give a special offer. Further, let those who did not buy think, and in a month get in touch with a new offer.

Resuscitation with the help of the sales department:

• Distribute the leads who rejected among managers. For example, Anya calls Dima's lead with a special offer, and Dima calls Anya's. • If there is no special offer, try going in with the “quality control department”: “Hello, my name is Dmitry. I'm calling you from the quality control department. I saw that two weeks ago you talked to our manager Anna, but decided not to buy. Could you please tell me what went wrong?" A person shares an objection that he did not voice last time, and the manager tries to work it out and sell.

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