Managing a high-performing, strategic and goal-oriented sales team
As your craft beverage company transitions from a small, local business to a more professional operation, distribution is one of the most important aspects of the business to get right. Employing a high-performing sales team that is both strategic and goal-oriented gives you a headstart in your target market — helping you maximize your company’s growth potential.
But making sales and expanding your reach isn’t as simple as hiring a few sales reps and calling it a day. Follow these best practices to help your sales team succeed.
1. Set Realistic and Challenging Targets
To grow your craft beverage company, you can’t just say you’re going to hit X sales this year because the number had a nice ring to it. Your targets are the backbone of the sales team — providing them with something to work toward on both a personal and company-wide level. Setting realistic, yet challenging, targets keeps your sales team motivated and helps impact the bottom line. To ensure buy-in from your team, it’s important that you work together to:
- Set Your Goals – Without having a goal to work toward, it becomes nearly impossible to accurately forecast your sales. Your targets shouldn’t be chosen blindly. Use your sales data to better understand the number of customers you have, how much revenue they bring in annually, and how much your customer base has grown year over year. Additionally, looking at your production capacity will help paint a clear picture of how much you can (and will) produce in the specified period. Understanding how your craft business has grown in the past and is prepared for the future will allow you to best predict for the future and set realistic goals.
- Determine the Market Potential – It’s important to understand your local market. Are there many craft beverage competitors you’re up against or is it an untapped market? Taking inventory of competitors and seeking out potential opportunities allows you to better understand how much room there is to grow. If the market is untapped, you have the opportunity to set aggressive sales goals to dominate before competitors catch on.
- Understand Your Resources – Does the capacity of your sales team align with the goals you’ve set? If your goals are lofty but your team is understaffed, you’re setting yourselves up for failure. When setting the sales targets, you need to evaluate the market potential and determine if you have the necessary team in place. From there, you can adjust accordingly — lowering the sales goal to match your team or upping the size of your team to hit bigger growth goals. Ultimately, the most important part to setting sales goals is ensuring every member of the team is aligned and has a plan in place to hit the targets together.
2. Accurately Track Your Progress
Your craft beverage company’s sales team needs to be equipped with resources and tools that can accurately track their progress toward the set targets. When done well, tracking the progress of your goals provides visibility into the sales process, allowing you to pivot as needed to convert more prospects into customers. Consider monitoring the following for a well-rounded picture of how individual sales reps are performing, as well as the team as a whole:
- Sales Cycle Length – Understanding how long it takes for a lead to convert into a closed deal helps you determine where there might be issues within the sales process. What is causing delays? Why does a particular sales rep have a shorter sales cycle than another? Using this information you can move leads through the funnel more efficiently and increase your win rate.
- Average Deal Size – With only so many hours in a day, you want your team to spend their time on deals that are the most important. Tracking the average size helps you determine if there are deals that you shouldn’t pursue.
- Win Rate – Whether you’re analyzing your data weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually, win rate will tell you the percentage of sales won within a specified period. Monitoring your win rate allows you to better understand your pipeline coverage.
- Conversion Rate – Determining the rate at which leads convert into sales provides insight into how successful your team is at turning leads into customers. The higher the conversion rate, the more successful they are. When you keep an eye on this metric, you can step in and reassign leads to different sales reps as needed.
- Pipeline Coverage – Your sales pipeline helps you understand where every opportunity is within the sales funnel. Calculating the pipeline coverage involves measuring how many prospects you have in the pipeline compared to how many are needed to reach the company’s targets.
3. Utilize Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software
CRM software is indispensable for a successful sales team. Instead of needing a member of your team to handle every aspect of the sales process, customer relations management software allows you to manage your sales process more effectively — helping with everything from lead generation to prospect nurturing to fostering customer relationships. This invaluable tool allows your team to spend their time doing what they do best — talking to customers. Benefits of CRM software include:
- Automated Reporting – Tracking your team’s progress is the most effective way to understand if your tactics are working. But that can mean lots of time with your head stuck in spreadsheets dealing with formula after formula. Instead of manually creating reports, a CRM creates automated reports to save the sales team time.
- Organized Customer Information – The faster you grow your craft beverage company, the more leads you’ll need to keep track of. While that’s a great problem to have, it can be extremely overwhelming if you don’t have the tools to keep track of key information like the prospect’s contact information and sales history. A CRM allows your team to keep all of this information in one centralized location, helping them stay organized and allowing you to easily get a pulse report on prospects.
- Follow-Up Reminders – The sales process can be long, and without an effective outreach campaign your leads can slip through the cracks. CRMs make managing sales appointments and sending follow-up emails much more streamlined, ensuring they don’t miss deadlines (resulting in more closed deals!).
It’s important you have your team’s buy-in when using CRM software. Without their help keeping the database organized, you won’t receive all the benefits it has to offer. Find out their pain points and demonstrate how using a CRM will help streamline the sales process.
4. Organize Your Sales Team Effectively
Using all the best practices above, you can determine where any bottlenecks in the sales process exist. Where are prospects getting stuck within the funnel? Or worse, where are leads dropping out of the funnel altogether? While your entire sales team might be talented at promoting your craft beverage business, some sales reps might be more successful in certain stages of the sales process.
Identify the top performers on your team and place them at stages in the sales process where prospects get bottlenecked. You might have a sales rep who is great at getting your business in the door, but isn’t the most successful at closing the deal. Utilize the strengths of your team and assign them to different steps of the process depending on who is the strongest at lead generation, prospecting, closing, customer service, and every stage in between.