How to power through the sales plateau

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By Admin User

Posted in Sales Tips

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Have your sales hit a plateau? If so, you are not alone. Even the best performers experience the sales plateau more than once in their careers. A sales plateau happens when new deals stop coming in and before you know it, your sales growth has stalled. What can you do to break through the sales plateau?

Manage & measure team performance and activity

There are many reasons why a sales plateau happens from external factors such as competitors or shifting economic winds to internal factors like an unhappy sales team (as a result of boredom, being burnout, or economic complacency) or inadequate management (think motivation, recognition, or compensation package). Effectively managing your team performance and activity will help prevent a sales plateau. As the saying goes, you can’t manage what you don’t measure. Regular measurement helps reinforce positive behavior, and allows sales managers to adjust their team’s focus or sales efforts as needed. The Aberdeen Group conducted a study on Lead-to-Win, and recommended key metrics that go beyond the obvious ones like revenue and sales growth: lead conversion rate, sales cycle contraction, customer renewal rates, and team attainment of quota.

Besides using key metrics to measure your team performance and activity, it is equally critical to measure their happiness and to understand their underlying motivations. As Brian Hasenbauer from The Center for Sales Strategy blog advised, “Ask sales reps regularly what challenges they are seeing in the marketplace and what objections they are getting. If not enough insight is gained by simply asking the sales team, take some time to shadow or accompany them on a few appointments. This will provide insight into what they are experiencing so you can determine how best to support them. Every sales rep isn’t motivated by the same things. Unfortunately, not all of them are motivated by closing more sales and making more money. A good sales manager keeps their finger on the pulse of the sales team and knows when to push and when to encourage. Finding what motivates each member of the team can go a long way in motivating the entire sales team. What works for one rep might not work for other reps; knowing that can make the difference in how motivated they are.”

Make changes

After identifying the areas for improvement, it’s time to make changes accordingly. Some examples would be:

  • Low lead conversion rate: To improve the lead conversion rate, give your sales team the right tools to effectively increase prospecting activity. The Badger Map layers in prospects from public data sources so you can see where the prospects are that you don’t know about yet. Think of it as putting “The Yellow Pages” on a map. With our “New Leads” feature, your sales team can easily pinpoint prospects that are relevant for them, whether it’s cardiologists, waste water treatment plants, or tire distributors. Besides equipping your team with the right sales tools, on-going coaching delivers insights and addresses adjustments that are needed in your sales process.
  • Low customer renewal rate: It costs far less to retain an existing customer than to find a new one. Increasing renewals will reduce the churn pressure on your sales team. The key is to equip your team with the right tools to retain and grow that relationship. For example:
  • Occasionally offer deals to your current customers to keep them engaged
  • Introduce new products to your current customers or consider adding new product lines that complement your customers’ needs

Take a break

Sometimes, the best way to recharge is to give everyone and yourself a short break. Let it be a few days of personal vacation or a team building activity day, this will help retain a positive attitude which is important to getting back on track

Have other tips and best practices that work for you? Share with us on Twitter or Facebook.

Steve Benson

Co-founder | Badger Maps

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