How to Use Case Studies to Convert More Leads

There are about 30,000 SaaS companies in 2023, and that number is quickly growing. By 2024, some experts believe that number will more than double to 72,000. This means competition is fierce, and customers have more choices than ever. While there are numerous ways to boost conversions and bring more leads to your company, one of the best pound-for-pound is using case studies to convert more leads.

In this post, I’ll show you just how big of an impact demonstrating customer success through case studies can have on SaaS sales and offer a real-life example for inspiration.

What Exactly is a Case Study?

First, let’s start with a clear definition. In the context of SaaS, it’s an in-depth study of a customer who used your product and the measurable outcome it had.

The specifics of a case study can vary, but there are five key elements you tend to see across the board.

First, there’s the introduction that explains who the customer is, the industry they’re in, and so on. Next, is the problem they were facing before using your SaaS product. Then comes the solution, which discusses why your product was a good fit. From there, a case study explains the result, ideally using concrete data to explain the quantifiable impact. And finally, it details where the customer was before and after using your SaaS solution.

Why Case Studies Are So Effective in SaaS

It’s simple. Using case studies to convert more leads works well because it’s the ultimate form of social proof.

While there are several other effective forms of social proof, with testimonials, reviews, and ratings being just a few examples, case studies break down the results an actual customer had after using your SaaS product. Rather than just saying, “Our SaaS product works great and can make your life easier, grow your business, etc.,” a case study takes a deep dive and shows firsthand what the impact has been using a real-life example.

And this is incredibly important in an age where 1) there’s so much competition and 2) many leads are skeptical of brands.

I like what HubSpot campaign manager Siobhan McGinty has to say about it.

“Do not underestimate the value of providing social proof at just the right time in order to add value and earn their business. Case studies are extremely effective in the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey when they are actively comparing solutions and providers to solve a problem they’re experiencing.”

So when a lead is at the consideration stage, a case study can be the perfect form of content for connecting the dots and showing them why your SaaS solution is the best option.

Instead of merely taking your word for it, a lead can see how a similar customer benefited from your product and how they can as well.

Eye-Catching Statistics

At this point, you’re probably wondering just how big of an impact case studies can truly have. To answer that, here are a few compelling statistics that illustrate the value they can bring to a SaaS marketing campaign.

First, 2022 research by The Content Marketing Institute found that 73% of the most successful content marketers used case studies in their campaigns.

Next, of the top content assets that marketers used in the last 12 months, case studies ranked number four, just behind videos and virtual events, which shows the growing ubiquity of this content medium.

And third, research from Uplift Content found that case studies were ranked as the number one most effective marketing tactic for increasing SaaS sales, with 39% of marketers saying they were effective. For perspective, case studies ranked higher than SEO, general website content, email marketing, eBooks, social media, and blogging.

By these numbers, it’s clear that using case studies to convert more leads can be an excellent addition to a SaaS marketing campaign. So if it’s something you haven’t tried yet, now is the perfect time to do so.

A Real-Life Example

Now that we know what case studies are and why they work so well, let’s look at inbound lead conversion and scheduling app Chili Piper to see how they use case studies so effectively.

Chili Piper is a SaaS company that uses content as an integral part of their marketing campaign, with blogs, guides, and podcasts being a few key examples. But in my opinion, where they really succeed is with their case studies or “customer stories” as they call them.

Chili Piper even has an entire section of their website devoted solely to case studies.

One that I think is especially good is where they featured BambooHR and discussed how the company was able to increase qualified meetings by 40% after using Chili Piper.

In this case study, Chili Piper provides:

  • An introduction and overview of BambooHR
  • The inefficiencies of their previous system before using Chili Piper
  • The solution that was implemented with the app
  • The results (increasing qualified meetings by 40%)

They even provide a video featuring BambooHR company rep Mary Nelson who discusses exactly how Chili Piper helped make their meeting scheduling process far more efficient for a “straight from the horse’s mouth” perspective.

It’s a simple, straightforward format that perfectly showcases the power of this SaaS product and helps leads envision how it could help their company as well. You can see the case study for yourself here.

And if you’d like to see Chili Piper’s full library of case studies for more ideas, you can find them here.

Using Case Studies to Convert More Leads

If you’re looking for the ultimate “show, don’t tell” marketing strategy, it doesn’t get much better than case studies. And while they can work well for many industries, they pair perfectly with SaaS because they enable you to show leads firsthand how a similar company benefited from using your product.

That’s why I can’t recommend this strategy enough, and it’s one that can be a great addition to your SaaS marketing arsenal.

Looking to build an all-star team of talented salespeople? Use HireDNA to recruit and retain top reps with cutting-edge technology.

How to Use Value-Based Selling in SaaS to Drive More Conversions

When many people think of traditional sales, they often envision aggressively pushing a product and landing the deal. While making conversions is obviously important, the old-school “going for the jugular” style often does more harm than good these days, and leads are less receptive to high-pressure sales tactics than they used to be. One form of selling that’s gaining in popularity and can be especially potent is value-based selling.

To quantify, “87% of high-growth sales organizations now take a value-based approach to sales.” And many experts have gone so far as to call value-based selling “the sales methodology of the future.”

Here’s how to use value-based selling in SaaS to boost conversions and take your sales team to the next level.

Transactional Selling vs. Consultative Selling

First, let me start off by saying that value-based selling takes a consultative approach to sales where you listen and educate a lead while building a relationship with them and highlighting the value your SaaS product offers. This differs from transactional selling that’s mainly focused on the features and specs of a product, “pushing” it on a lead and making a transaction.

For perspective, here’s a comparison of transactional selling vs. consultative selling (the camp value-based selling falls under).

Now that we have a basic understanding of these two different styles, here are the most integral techniques for using value-based selling to win over more prospects.

Research Each Lead’s Unique Needs

A critical part of succeeding with this approach is avoiding a “one-size-fits-all” mentality and treating every lead uniquely.

“When researching a prospect, aim to understand their company and industry, background, and current pain points,” explains HubSpot. “By understanding these pieces of information, you’ll have a solid grasp of how to serve them best.”

While this, admittedly, does take time, it’s an essential component of the process. To ensure you’re spending your time on the right prospects, I suggest using a lead scoring tool, ideally focusing on sales qualified leads (SQLs) rather than marketing qualified leads (MQLs).

By default, this will filter through your list of prospects and ensure you’re only spending time on those that are ultra-high-quality with a strong likelihood of converting. And for the MQLs that aren’t yet ready, you can send them to your marketing team for nurturing.

Build Authentic Rapport

The initial stage of the process of researching a lead’s unique needs will come into play here, as it will set the tone as you build rapport. As I mentioned earlier, an essential part of value-based selling is acting more as a consultant rather than a conventional salesperson. So the goal is to stay personable and “human,” getting to know each lead as an individual.

One area where many salespeople go wrong is jumping into the sales discussion too early. While converting is always the goal, value-based selling takes more of a “long game” approach where you first get to know a person and build an authentic relationship so you can deliver genuine value and address their specific needs.

Clearly Demonstrate the Value of Your SaaS Product

The first two steps in the process will set you up for the most important part of the journey — where you directly articulate exactly how your SaaS product will improve a lead’s situation.

For example, marketing, automation, and email platform Mailchimp offers very specific value for its customers.

This includes:

  • Helping them convert more customers at scale by “driving more traffic and sales by setting up automations that trigger emails based on customer behavior”
  • Using automation to create “pre-built journeys that help customers cross-sell their products, recover abandoned carts, re-engage existing customers, and win new ones”
  • “Delivering personalized emails based on customers’ buying behavior, survey responses, chat interactions, and support tickets to promote loyalty and growth

Mailchimp is an arbitrary example, but you get the idea. The key here is to convey precisely how your SaaS product can help while speaking to a lead’s individual needs and pain points. If you can do that effectively, you’re almost guaranteed to succeed at value-based selling.

Use Customer Success Stories

At this point, you’ve researched a prospect, built rapport, and articulated the specific value your SaaS product offers. Now it’s time to connect the dots and bring it all home. And one of the best ways to do that is by offering customer success stories where you tell a lead about real-life examples of customers that have actually used your SaaS product and experienced genuine results.

Going back to Mailchimp as an example, they have several case studies on their website that highlight customer success stories.

You can take a similar approach, using examples of your current or previous customers that have seen serious results and tailor them to address the unique needs and pain points of the lead at hand. By seeing the impact your SaaS product has had in a real-life situation, this can be just what you need to get a lead over the hump and commit to purchasing.

Winning at Value-Based Selling

Let’s recap. Rather than taking a transactional approach, which is often the basis of conventional selling, value-based selling goes the opposite direction. It’s more about thinking long-term rather than making the immediate sale and concentrates on consulting, educating, and relationship-building.

And while it’s probably not feasible to use value-based selling for every single lead (MQLs don’t likely make sense, for example), it can have a tremendous impact when you focus on high-quality SQLs. With most of today’s high-growth organizations already using it, value-based selling is something you should seriously consider implementing into your SaaS strategy.

Looking to find A+ reps for your SaaS sales team? Learn how this sales assessment can help and why 91% of recommended candidates have positive on-the-job performance.

SaaS Sales Management Strategy: Tactics to Improve Underperforming Teams and Drive Results

A recent survey found only 18% of sales teams were reaching 70% or more of their quotas. And only 43% were even hitting 50% of their quotas. Further, 58% of sales teams were only reaching 20-40% of their quota attainment or less, which clearly shows there’s room for improvement in the SaaS sales management strategy of many companies.

If you’ve been feeling underwhelmed with your team’s performance as of late, this post is for you. In it, I’ll offer a simple yet effective step-by-step SaaS sales management strategy that should get your numbers to where they need to be.

Assess Your Current Team to Identify Low Performers

The first step is to gain an objective understanding of who’s carrying their weight and who’s not. You’ll likely have an idea of who your top performers are, but it’s important to look at some concrete data to identify low performers.

I like CEO and co-founder of SaaStr Jason Lemkin’s take on it. According to him, “Realistically, in most cases, the best thing to do is let some of your low performers go and reroute those leads to your higher performers. Get back to a core group of folks that can close, and then keep the bar high, and add to it. No one is happy with < 50% quota attainment.”

So how do you identify low performers?

I suggest looking at these metrics:

  • How many conversions each salesperson has made in the past six months to a year
  • What each person’s close rate is
  • What each rep’s average deal size is
  • How much their accounts have grown or diminished
  • What their overall quota attainment rate momentum is (are they trending up or down?)

Looking at these numbers should provide clarification so you’ll know for a fact who the low performers are, which brings me to my next point.

Let the Low Performers Go

Once you know for certain who’s not carrying their weight, it’s a good time to let go of your low performers. While this isn’t always pleasant, and you’ll want to take any extenuating circumstances into account, “trimming the fat” and sending leads to your top performers is usually an effective way to recalibrate your sales team and get your quota attainment rate to an acceptable level.

As Lemkin explains, “The best sales teams really do see 70% or more of their team hitting quota, or at least 70% of scaled reps (which often means 60% or so overall). It just energizes everyone, and success builds on success.”

Offer Ongoing Sales Training

At this point, you’ll want to equip your top performers with the tools they need to be their best — something that can often be done with proper sales training. While a one-off course can be helpful, I find that it’s ideal to offer ongoing sales training given the fast-paced nature of the SaaS industry.

With trends constantly changing, the teams that perform the best are usually the ones that stay on top and continually refine their collective skillset.

To find a suitable sales training platform for your SaaS company, I recommend browsing through this list from HubSpot.

They offer 36 of the top programs that can fit every need and budget.

Use Sales Tech and Productivity Tools

Sales tech and productivity tools help improve efficiency and performance with less so you can sell more without adding headcount. And with AI becoming increasingly sophisticated and ubiquitous, the potential results you can get are off the charts.

A good example is using a scheduling tool like Calendly to allow leads to conveniently choose a time slot for a product demo.

Calendly kills two birds with one stone because it lets your sales team capitalize on the momentum and strike while the iron is hot while also saving your reps time. Rather than making a hot lead wait to get a response and schedule a demo, they can do it right away when they’re most interested.

And instead of wasting time back-and-forthing with leads, your reps can confirm demo times and automatically have them penciled into their calendars.

You can find a comprehensive list of sales tech and productivity tools here.

Hire Top Tier Talent

The last piece of the puzzle for our SaaS sales management strategy is to improve your SaaS sales hiring process from here on out. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll need to bring new team members on board immediately (even if you’ve let low performers go). But it’s important to fine-tune your hiring so you don’t run into the problem of low performers in the future.

Easier said than done, right?

While there is no magic bullet for finding elite talent 100% of the time, using a comprehensive sales assessment can accurately and consistently help you find top performers using objective data.

Objective Management Group’s Sales Assessment, for example, looks at critical criteria like the will to sell, how much a person enjoys selling, motivation, core competencies, and more to filter through a large pool of candidates and narrow it down to the best of the best. It can be customized for your unique selling environment and tailored to your specific needs. And it can be used for nearly any sales role.

So if you’re looking for a simple way to evaluate SaaS salespeople and pinpoint top tier talent, this is a good way to go about it.

In terms of results, 92% of the candidates that are recommended by the assessment go on to reach the top half of their sales force within their first year.

A SaaS Sales Management Strategy to Get Your Team on Track

If you’re less than excited about your current sales quota attainment rate, you’re not alone. Only 18% of sales teams are hitting 70% or more of their quotas.

But if you follow the SaaS sales management strategy outlined above, you should be able to 1) steady the ship to quickly bump up your quota attainment rate and 2) set the stage for continued success in the long run.

If you’re interested in learning more about Objective Management Group’s sales assessment, you can get the full details here.

SaaS Sales Salary in 2023: How Much Should You Pay Top Talent?

Last year I wrote a post about how much sales reps earned in 2022. It offers plenty of great data on how much salespeople earned on average and how much you can expect to pay. But for this post, I want to zero in specifically on SaaS sales salary in 2023, which, as we’ll find out, is substantially higher than what a regular salesperson earns.

So if you’re recruiting in the SaaS industry, this information should be highly valuable to you. Let’s get right into it.

Crunching Multiple Data Sources

First off, let me say that, depending on which source you look at, there can be a considerable disparity in SaaS sales salary data. To gain the most objective insights possible, I crunched the data from three reputable sources to come up with a reasonable average across the board.

Here’s what I found.

Comparably’s Data

To start, let’s look at recent data from Comparably. According to their research, the US average in 2023 is $109,335, which is the highest of the three sources I looked at.

Note that this data specifically references salespeople in tech, which is over $17,000 more than the average salary of a regular salesperson at just $92,000.

Glassdoor’s Data

Next, there’s Glassdoor, which lists a SaaS sales salary that’s very close to Comparably’s. According to their findings, the average SaaS salesperson earns $108,003 in 2023 — just over $1,000 less than what Comparably’s data found.

ZipRecruiter’s Data

Last, there’s ZipRecruiter, which says the average US-based SaaS salesperson earns $82,141 in 2023, which is dramatically lower than what Comparably and Glassdoor found.

Note that ZipRecruiter mentions that the top earners in this profession commonly get as much as $155,000 a year. But overall, they place the average at just over $82,000.

The Overall Average

Based on the data from Comparably, Glassdoor, and ZipRecruiter, the average SaaS sales salary across the board comes out to $99,826 — just under $100k. There are a ton of variables and factors that determine how much a SaaS salesperson gets paid, including education, experience, location, and market demand.

But I feel this is a reasonable estimate for 2023. So that’s a pretty good number to have in mind when you’re hiring for this position. This brings me to my next point.

Expect to Pay More for a SaaS Sales Salary Than a Regular Sales Salary

Most salespeople make decent money. But it should be noted that SaaS sales reps, in particular, earn significantly more than regular generalist sales reps.

Just how big is the disparity?

According Glassdoor, the average salesperson salary in 2023 is $85,130, which is nearly $23,000 less than the $108,003 a SaaS salesperson earns.

And according to ZipRecruiter, the average salesperson earns just $50,042 in 2023, which is over $30,000 less than the $82,141 SaaS salespeople earn.

So as you can see, you can expect to pay a SaaS salesperson far more than a someone who handles general sales. The reason for this disparity?

HubSpot notes that “SaaS reps generally have a higher base pay than other salespeople because of the training, expertise, and high motivation they need to succeed.” That’s why they tend to earn more, which is something you’ll want to keep in mind if you’re in the SaaS industry.

Finding Quality SaaS Salespeople for a Reasonable Salary

As we’ve just learned, most SaaS salespeople command top tollar in 2023. Especially those that bring a wealth of knowledge, experience, and skills to the table.

For the rest of this post, I’d like to talk about how you can find top-tier SaaS sales reps without overpaying.

Hands down, one of the best tools for this is SaaS sales recruiting platform HireDNA.

It offers a wide array of SaaS recruiting features, including comprehensive assessments, data-driven skills validation, candidate screening, and more. But it all starts with first creating an ideal candidate profile.

A candidate profile focuses on essentials like sales experience, product knowledge, role requirements, personality traits, and of course, compensation. This allows you to set exactly how much you’re willing to pay, and candidates are filtered accordingly.

That way you’re on the same page right with earnings from the start. And because of HireDNA’s rigorous science-based methodology for recruiting, you can be sure that any SaaS sales candidate that’s recommended is the cream of the crop.

In fact, 92% of candidates suggested by HireDNA go on to be top performers within their first year. Besides that, companies that use HireDNA have a lower turnover rate, this 83% of candidates still being employed after the first year.

So if you want to streamline and improve your recruiting while simultaneously addressing salary, this is a great tool to have.

Closing Thoughts

One of the most fundamental yet important factors to consider when assembling a SaaS sales team is salary. This heavily impacts the overall caliber of your team and how well you can keep up with competitors.

While data sources vary and there are numerous variables that affect pay, the average annual salary for most SaaS sales reps in 2023 is just under $100,000. So that’s about what you can expect to pay.

Note that salesperson salary is something we’re always keeping an eye on, so be sure to keep reading our blog as new trends emerge.

And if you’d like to learn more about HireDNA and see it in action, go ahead and schedule a live demo today. Just fill out the secure online form and a team member will be in touch with you shortly.

The Role of Buying Cycle in Aligning Sales and Marketing

When sales and marketing are not on the same page, your team can’t perform at its 

best.Many team leaders make the mistake of developing marketing and sales separately from one another, seeing them as two separate groups and assuming that cohesion comes naturally. This results in goals that negate each other and two teams that do not function well. To align sales and marketing, look at the sales process as one complete, connected system. Consider the process a full buying cycle.

What Is the Buying Cycle?

Many business people see the sales process as a series of separate steps. If you can accomplish each step, you can build your profitability. However, it is important to consider business as a buying cycle, which intertwines the marketing and sales functions, so that they work seamlessly. The buying cycle is the cycle of business, starting at an anonymous customer and ending with a sale. It creates a closer relationship between marketing and sales. If you can align your marketing and sales teams, your business model will become exponentially more powerful.

Buying Cycle Tips: Communicate

One of the most important parts of building a stronger connection between sales and marketing is communication. In many companies, the sales and marketing teams operate separately and only interact when it is necessary. Such limitations are crippling for a business and severely limit revenue potential. Everyone on your team must understand what their specific role is, as well as how their role fits into the overall workings of company. Additionally, improved communication between marketing and sales people will also improve the relationships between them, reducing the chances of counterproductive finger-pointing or frustration when something goes wrong.

Integrate Technology

One easy way to ensure smoother communication between the sales and marketing teams is by integrating technology. In many companies, the sales and marketing teams rely on separate software. Use connected software so that both teams can access and view the same things.

Understand the Buyer’s Journey

Along with communication, both the marketing and sales teams must be on the same page about where each buyer is in the cycle. If a sales person calls someone who is ready to buy and makes introductory remarks, he or she may frustrate the customer and risk losing the sale. Customers want to work with a company that is a well-oiled machine, with each employee having a thorough understanding of how everything functions. Contact our specialists to find out how we can help align your sales and marketing teams.


Why You Need a Structured Sales Environment

Worried that by deploying a structured sales environment you’ll be taking away your sales rep’s intuition and creativity when attempting to close a sale? Don’t be. Without a structured sales process, sales reps are required to rely entirely on their own resourcefulness and guesswork.

A structured sales environment provides sales reps with a roadmap and process to maximize sales opportunities. A study by Harvard Business Review shows that high-performing sales organizations employ a well-defined and structured sales process. A structured sales environment establishes proven processes and activities that enable sales reps to be more effective at seizing opportunities and closing sales.

What does a structured sales environment look like? Generally, it provides sales reps with an end-to-end sales process similar to the steps below:

Generating Leads

The first step in a sales process is lead generation. Lead generation is the process of identifying the target market for your organization’s products or services. Once key demographics are known, sales reps can generate new leads through methods like cold calling, web or social media connections, current customer referrals, etc.

Qualifying Leads

A qualified lead is a customer who has the desire or ability to buy the product or service the sales organization is providing. A sales rep can qualify a prospect by researching the customer, asking eligibility questions, identifying budget constraints or running a credit check. Qualifying leads enables sales reps to focus their sales efforts on customers who are most likely to buy.

Analyzing Needs

Sales reps perform needs assessments as part of  a consultative sales process in order to build a relationship with the customer and identify their requirements. A needs assessment can be completed by asking questions and conducting surveys. The assessment results allow the sales rep to tailor their sales pitch to the specific customer’s needs. 

Presenting Solutions

A sales pitch is an attempt by the sales rep to position a solution to the customers’ needs or requirements. The focus of the pitch should be on presenting customer solutions versus providing a product features overview. The sales rep should articulate how the product or service will meet the customer’s needs based on the previously completed assessment.

Overcoming Objections

It’s common for customers to have hesitations or concerns, even after hearing a well-versed sales pitch. Good sales reps find ways to turn customer objections into opportunities. They complete this by asking follow-up questions to further understand and respond to the customer’s needs.

Closing Sales

The sale closes once the sales rep and customer agree that the organization’s products or services will meet their needs. Closing the sale generally includes a mutual agreement on the terms of the sale and recording the close of the deal.

Support Post Sales

The sales process doesn’t end with the closing of a deal. Following up with the customer to assure customer satisfaction is key to retaining existing customers and finding new ones. While post-sales support may not be the primary role of a sales rep, it is a part of the overall sales process and a key to sales success.

Interested in a thorough evaluation of your organization’s sales process? Need assistance creating a structured sales environment? HireDNA can complete an analysis of your sales environment and identify areas for improving and accelerating sales. Request a consult now and start seeing powerful results. 

We help our clients maximize sales effectiveness by delivering a complete system to hire, train, equip and manage high-performance sales teams. Contact us today to see how we can help your organization’s sales team exceed expectations.

Create a Winning Sales Culture with the Right Incentives and Motivators

Tips for creating a winning sales cultures that drives sales performance. With the high degree of competition in the sales market today, creating and maintaining a top-performing sales culture is more important than ever. Developing this strong culture is crucial for long-term sales growth. In our last blog, we discussed strategies for enhancing an organization’s sales culture using data and tools. In this article, we will delve into ways to improve sales cultures by using motivation and incentives.

1.     Maintain Open Communication

Concept: Communication is one of the most important facets of motivating sales reps.

Practice: Sales reps need to understand how their role plays into the overall company goals and objectives. They need to know they are part of something bigger. Sales reps should have individual performance goals and personal goals that tie into the overall company objectives. Weekly team meetings, coaching and one-on-one reviews help keep reps focused and motivated to reach their goals.

2.     Establish Sales Targets

Concept: Establish the correct goals and targets for sales reps to meet company objectives.

Practice: Organizations need to ensure their incentives are tied to the correct objectives in order to drive desired behaviors. If your sales reps’ bonuses are tied specifically to sales revenue, that’s where they will be motivated to perform. But what if your organization wants to grow their market share, acquire new clients or retain existing customers? Organizations need to establish metrics for those objectives and associate the proper incentives.

3.     Identify Performance-Based Incentives

Concept: Create an incentive plan that motivates your sales force.

Practice: While cash bonuses are a great incentive, it isn’t the only motivator for sales reps. Depending on your organization, winning paid time off, flex time or work-from-home options may be a great way to inspire reps to meet or exceed performance goals. Additionally, prizes are another great sales culture motivator. Concert tickets, sporting events and all-expenses-paid vacations are an excellent way to get the whole sales team excited.

4.     Provide Milestone Gifts/Gamification

Concept: Provide milestone gifts and/or gamification for your sales team.

Practice: Sales organizations understand how important it is to retain knowledgeable sales reps. Recognizing employee contributions is important. Provide items like company-branded mugs, coolers or bags when reps hit certain milestones, such as their 100th sale. Not only does this provide sales reps with a layer of personal pride, but it also generates some friendly competition within the sales team.

5.     Give Success Awards

Concept: Provide recognition and awards for sales rep successes.

Practice: Provide sales reps with awards that have no monetary value but are given to publicly recognize their success. During a sales team or all-hands meeting, present the sales rep with their performance award. Designate a common area, like a lunch room or hallway to display awards. Recognizing sales reps with awards inspires the sales team to set and meet new goals.

Creating a successful sales culture within an organization motivates and inspires sales rep performance.  An effective sales culture creates healthy competition, decreases turnover and establishes processes that allow problems to be quickly identified and addressed. Improving your sales culture will, in turn, create a positive impact on your bottom line. Revecent can complete an analysis of your sales culture to identify any areas of opportunity. Request a consult now and start seeing powerful results.  

We help our clients maximize sales effectiveness by delivering a complete system to hire, train, equip and manage high-performance sales teams. Contact us today to see how we can help your organization’s sales team exceed expectations.

How to Create a Winning Sales Culture

Every sales organization wants a productive, efficient and effective sales force. 

As organizations compete in today’s market, sales goals become increasingly aggressive and the pressure to exceed them intensifies. Consequently, how do sales organizations improve their sales culture to support this high-demand? And why is the sales culture important?

An organization’s sales culture establishes a combination of values, shared business goals and work environment the sales organization operates within.

“Statistics show that a company’s culture has a direct impact on employee turnover, which affects productivity, and therefore success. A Columbia University study shows that the likelihood of job turnover at an organization with high company culture is a mere 13.9 percent, whereas the probability of job turnover in low company cultures is 48.4 percent.”

In order to increase sales performance and retention, organizations need a winning sales culture. Below are 4 key items for improving an organization’s sales culture.

1.     Define Your Sales Culture

Concept: Define or update your organization’s mission on sales culture and hire to it.

Practice: Establish or revise your organization’s vision on sales culture. Your sales culture should be used as a guide for assessing and hiring new sales reps. Hire candidates who not only complement your sales culture, but also have knowledge or capabilities that benefit your organization. Candidates who contribute positively to your organization’s sales culture help create a positive work environment for all.

Start with a vision. Without one there is nothing to empower and lead the sales team with. They’ll feel as if they’re just working to work. Building a unifying framework for your strategy empowers sales reps with a sense of direction and purpose. Rather than operating for themselves, they work for a greater purpose. This helps to create a motivated sales culture driven by performance leading to higher retention and accelerated ROI. 

2.     Develop Your Sales Plan

Concept: A sales plan establishes sales goals, targets and tactics for a sales organization.

Practice: An organization’s sales plan summarizes their sales goals, objectives, processes, targets and tactics. The plan also defines how each of those elements will be measured and tracked for success. An effective sales plan ensures the entire sales organization is focused on delivering against a consistent set of goals, targets and objectives. Your organization’s sales plan benefits the sales culture by establishing a core set of goals and expectations up front.

3.     Use Strategic Data

Concept: Key metrics provide sales organizations actionable insight into improving sales performance.

Practice: Strategic data points enable sales performance improvement for the entire sales force.  Key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics give sales organizations a key advantage when it comes to meeting revenue goals, selling more products and outsmarting the competition. KPIs also enable organizations to identify strengths and weaknesses of their sales pipeline. Organizations that provide their sales force with accurate and relevant data empower them to focus on qualified leads that will generate more sales revenue. A win-win for both the sales rep and the organization, creating a high-performing sales culture.

4.     Provide Applicable Tools

Concept: Appropriate tools enable sales reps to be effective and efficient in their sales role.

Practice: Investing in relevant tools enables sales reps to be successful at meeting or exceeding sales targets. Sales enablement tools automate processes that allow sales teams to sell better and faster. Tools let your sales force stay aligned with marketing and business goals, identify valuable prospects, access and search relevant content, upsell and cross-sell products, and trigger automatic customer communications. Most importantly, sales enablement technology helps streamline workflows and remove unnecessary tasks so the sales team can focus on creating revenue. Empowered reps are confident in their abilities, feel aligned with the organization’s mission and construct a strong sales culture.

5.     Recruit The Right Talent

Businesses must know how to attract, assess and select the right sales candidates. This is easier said than done. One way to make the process more predictable and consistent is with the use of  a  sales candidate assessment. And while there are many out there, some are better than others. Look for one that is personalized to your sales rolesenvironment and specifically designed to use data and science to accurately evaluate selling skills and DNA . By tailoring search, recruitment and assessment process to your individual business, sales candidates come properly vetted and are better prepared to perform in your unique sales environment.

6.     Personalize The Onboarding & Training Process

This is another process easier said than done. A simple company manual won’t do. To build a winning sales team begins with identifying the effectiveness of your sales force and developing a customized sales training and onboarding program to optimize performance. Personalizing the training and onboarding based on the selling strength and weaknesses identified using a sales assessment helps to accelerate the ramp-up process and time to productivity for new hires.

But training doesn’t stop with onboarding. Developing rock star sales talent requires ongoing development. Incorporating a micro-learning approach that delivers bit-sized bits of content along with quizzes, workbooks, and real-world implementation guides is a great way to ensure the training content is retained and applied.

7.     Provide Ongoing Coaching

A winning sales team is one that is continually coached. Idling by and expecting sales reps to simply perform, leads to the same old problems. Have sales playbooks built around effective sales methodologies. Give reps a roadmap to success, set goals and field questions. Be hands on with your team by attending sales meetings, scheduling weekly one-on-ones, and listening to sales calls. Some great tools to streamline the coaching process include Refract and Execvision. Engage your sales reps daily and they will deliver consistent results.

7.     Hold Salespeople Accountable

Establish clear expectations for your salespeople. Setting key performance indicators (KPIs) and other sales performance metrics are vital. Goals and expectation should be transparent, realistic, and should inspire sales reps to take their abilities to the next level. Presenting them with sales benchmarks is a great way to motivate them and fuel their inner competitor. Implement contest and awards to reward desirable behaviors and keep things fun and competitive.

Final Thoughts

These tips can improve your organization’s sales culture enabling increased sales performance, motivated sales reps and reduced attrition. Interested in a thorough evaluation of your hiring strategies, sales culture or sales enablement technologies? Revecent can complete an analysis of your sales strategy to identify any areas of opportunity. Request a consult now and start seeing powerful results.  

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HireDNA takes the guesswork out of hiring and retaining sales talent with a predictive hiring system that uses science-based tools to identify the best candidates with the right sales DNA to perform in your unique sales environment, resulting in lower turnover and accelerated ramp-up to help you hit your goals faster. Contact us to learn what it will take to build your winning team.

3 Things You Want to Avoid to Improve Retention

Retention of sales reps is crucial to the long-term success of your sales organization. With the annual turnover rate of sales reps being on average 26 percent, failure to keep top sales reps is costly to your bottom line — in terms of talent loss, recruitment costs and training.

DePaul University’s 2016 Sales Effectiveness study confirms that sales talent retention continues to be a critical challenge for sales organizations.

The question becomes what should sales organizations be doing to keep top sales reps from leaving? Below are three things you should avoid doing in order to keep your top sales talent:

1.     Avoid stagnant job roles

Objective: Top-performing sales reps need new challenges and opportunities.

Approach: Top-performing sales reps get bored and antsy when not provided with new growth opportunities. Offer them new opportunities within your organization to keep them from looking elsewhere. Opportunities like providing input on sales strategies to management, launching a new product or service offering, or leading training classes are good examples. Sales reps appreciate feeling valued and knowing that there are career-oriented growth opportunities within the sales organization. A recent study by Willis Towers Watson on employee retention found that “more than 70 percent of high-retention-risk employees say they have to leave their organization in order to advance their careers.” Try to promote by developing your sales team instead of recruiting from outside the organization.

2.     Avoid poor incentive plans

Objective: Top-performing sales reps should always have a new incentive goal within reach.

Approach: Incentives for your sales reps shouldn’t just be tied to annual quotas. Sales reps should always be able to have an “eye on the prize.” Sales organizations could offer some of the following as part of their retention strategy:

  • Give shares of company stock that vest over time
  • Offer additional time off or vacation days at specific intervals (three and five years)
  • Pay for continuing education
  • Provide ongoing career development training
  • Provide substantial bonuses that pay out on specific numbers of years with the company

Your sales team should feel rewarded, recognized and appreciated. This will go a long way toward keeping top performers from leaving your sales organization.

3.     Avoid poor leadership 

Objective: Top-performing sales reps want strong leadership.

Approach: This topic comes up again and again when talking to sales reps who have left organizations. Most often they are not leaving because of the company or the job; they are leaving because of their sales management. Leaders need to be counted on to set clear expectations about the sales job role and earning potential. Feedback on job performance should be timely and attached to an employee development plan if needed. Sales reps want to know they have the potential to grow within the organization and that there is an established career path.  

These three tips can help your sales organization reduce turnover . Establishing and investing in your organization’s strategy for improving retention will result in a positive ROI in terms of employee retention and satisfaction.

Interested in a thorough evaluation of your sales recruiting and retention process? Revecent can complete an analysis of your company’s onboarding and retention strategies to identify areas of improvement. Request a consult now and start seeing powerful results.   Revecent is a national sales recruiting and training consulting firm. We help technology and professional service companies design, build and optimize winning sales teams to accelerate revenue growth. Contact us today to see how we can help your organization’s sales team exceed expectations.

7 How’s and Why’s of Sales Force Motivation and Accountability

Vince Lombardi said, “The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined efforts of each individual.” 

The combined efforts of an influential sales manager and a driven sales force can create an elite sales force. How do you galvanize your sales team? While money makes up part of your sales force compensation plan, as we discussed in our last blog Keeping Your Sales Team Motivated: Commission, Bonuses and other Incentives, the other influencers are motivation and accountability. 

Before we discuss the ways in which you as a manager can approach instilling motivation and accountability, it’s important to remember that top sales talent should be self-motivated and should not need much of a nudge to perform at high levels. Motivation comes from within. The right people demonstrate this over and over. That said, using these motivational strategies can help heighten motivation and develop a high-performance culture.

1.     Set Expectations

How: Before even offering a candidate the sales position, make sure they fully understand the role. Explain how their sales performance impacts their compensation plan. Ensure they know what their expected day-to-day sales activities will be and what sales targets they are expected to meet.

Why: This lays the foundation of motivation by setting expectations and building trust. It is difficult to inspire others if there is not a mutual trust.

2.     Development Plan

How: Develop a Performance Development Plan (PDP) for each sales rep on your sales team. The PDP should not only encompass targets and goals for their individual sales position, but also personal and professional goals that they want to achieve. Set daily, weekly and monthly goals. Revisit goals on an ongoing basis to hold sales reps accountable for either meeting or missing their performance goals.

Why: We all need goals to help us get to the next level. Your sales reps are no different. The PDP can help to establish goals and objectives to be matched against measurable results.

3.     Sales Enablement

How: You’ve established your sales rep’s PDP. Streamlining and removing unnecessary tasks allows them to focus on targeting optimal customers and close high-value sales. We call this sales enablement, and it’s crucial. 

Why: Sales enablement ensures your sales team is empowered with the resources and tools they need to succeed.

4.     Performance Evaluation

How: A sales performance evaluation can help to identify a sales rep’s strengths and weakness to determine what skills to focus on to maximize sales revenue. Encourage self-evaluation and manager feedback from your sales rep.

Why: Knowing your team, their strengths and weaknesses allows you to customize and prioritize training and coaching to help them perform better.

5.     Friendly Competition

How: Using gamification takes everyday sales activities and turns them into a contest for sales reps. Sales managers can establish scoring metrics for various sales activities (lead conversion, close-rates, speed to lead etc.). Sales reps can view or access a leaderboard to compare their standing to their peers.

Why: Sales reps are generally competitive by nature. Utilizing gamification and contest will igniting some friendly competition to bring out the best in your team. Try it, and watch the fun (and productivity) begin.  

6.     Recognize Performance

How: As mentioned in our previous blog, there are numerous ways to reward salespeople for their performance. Sure, money is a great motivator, but not the only one. Sometimes a simple recognition whether it’s a “shout-out” in an all-hands sales meeting or a certificate that can be displayed on their desk is reward enough.

Why: According to a recent industry survey, 66 percent of employees say they would likely leave their job if they didn’t feel appreciated. This is up significantly from 51 percent of employees who felt this way in 2012. Everyone appreciates praise and recognition for a job well done.

7.     Lead by Example

How: One of the most important ways to motivate your sales team is to exemplify the attributes you desire most in them. If you appreciate honesty, be honest. If you appreciate productivity, be productive. 

Why: Your sales reps will notice your attitude and work ethics. Inspire them with your example and expect them to follow suit.

Motivating your sales organization to meet sales goals and holding them accountable for areas of improvement are necessary to ensure organizational success. Revecent can complete a skills and competencies analysis of your sales force to identify areas of strength and weaknesses. Request a consult now.

Revecent is a national sales recruiting and sales enablement consulting firm. We help technology and professional service companies recruit and optimize sales talent to accelerate growth.  Contact us today to see how we can help your organization’s sales team exceed expectations.