4 Salesforce Mistakes Your Sales Team is Making and How to Fix Them
As the lead trainer for DM Training, I work with sales teams across the globe and across a variety of industries. Here is some news from the front lines:
Today’s sales teams are making 4 preventable administrative mistakes that are costing them money and time.
Most of my clients use Salesforce as their CRM, which they have customized for their needs. Plus they have adopted workflows and business rules all intended to ensure a rich database of information that could benefit both the seller and sales management.
However, sellers are not doing the administrative part of their job right and the ripple effect is causing inaccurate forecasts, frustrated salespeople who are not closing enough deals, and managers without the right data to know how to properly coach their team.
As a sales manager it’s time to take charge and get rid of those errors. Look to see if your sellers are….
1. Not converting leads into an opportunity or a first appointment
Leads should be converted into an opportunity or a first appointment the moment they are qualified or that meeting is scheduled. It’s not something that should be done after the fact.
Sellers often skip this crucial step until the opportunity is further advanced, presumably to save admin work until they are sure there is a real opportunity.
Here’s the problem: not properly tracking scheduled first appointments denies the seller and you as their manager from easily seeing critical CRM-generated answers to 3 questions essential to diagnosing sales behavior:
- How many first appointments does this salesperson schedule per week/month (on average)?
- How many first appointments do they have over the next few weeks?
- How many first appointments should they schedule, given their personal first appointment to closed/won ratio?
Without knowing the answers to these questions, how does anyone know how many leads the salesperson needs to generate and how much time should they allocate everyday toward making new first appointments?
2. Not making a new opportunity for every new opportunity
Regardless of whether an opportunity begins with a scheduled first appointment or not, it needs to be logged in the CRM immediately.
When your sellers do this reliably, you can determine the actual sales cycle of closed/won sales because there will be an accurate “start date” stamp on every opportunity. Comparing every new sales opportunity to closed/won sales cycles is the most accurate way to bet on a winner and avoid projecting the wrong (long) sales.
3. Putting tasks in the opportunity screen, rather than the account screen
Because of this seemingly innocent workflow choice, the seller will be less reluctant to kill the opportunity (that is, convert to closed/lost) both administratively and mentally, because they are afraid of losing the task notification.
That opportunity will remain open even as the opportunity ages out and is no longer following the closing pattern. The opportunity cost of spending and wasting time with those prospects is not spending enough time pursuing candidates which are statistically more likely to close.
4. Not parking stalled sales in a column reserved for stalled opportunities
Simply putting a prospect in a column doesn’t change the odds of closing that sale. But keeping prospects in a funnel intended for advancing prospects is misleading.
When a sale stalls it is no longer predictable. It may close later than you think, or not at all. If the salesperson is unable to control the timing then forecasting is impossible.
From the point of view of collecting data which will give insight into the most likely to close opportunities, it is smarter to convert stalled sales to closed/lost or move them to a column specifically designated for stalled opportunities. If and when they restart, your sellers can return them into the pipeline.
Don’t assume your salespeople are using Salesforce to everyone’s advantage. Help them make these 4 tweaks to put you all in a better position.
About Steve Bookbinder
Steve Bookbinder is the CEO and sales expert at DMTraining. He has delivered more than 5,000 workshops and speeches to clients all over the world and has trained, coached, and managed more than 50,000 salespeople and managers. Steve continuously refreshes his training content to reflect his latest first-hand observations of salespeople across industries and regions. Through him, participants in his workshops and coaching sessions learn the best practices of today’s most successful sellers and managers across industries. Steve understands that sales is a competitive game. To outperform competitors and our own personal best results, we need to out-prospect, out-qualify, out-present and out-negotiate everyone else, not merely know how to sell. Through his specialty programs in Pipeline Management, Personal Marketing, Great First Meetings, 2nd-level Questioning, Sales Negotiating, and Sales Coaching, Steve trains sales teams to master the skills they need to overcome the challenges they face in today’s world… and keep improving results year over year.