Sometimes, you need to spend money to increase sales—whether that means hiring more salespeople or investing in an external training program for your reps. But that isn’t always the case. You can still improve sales without dropping too much dough.
We’ve got the data to prove it, too: Zendesk Sell’s CRM customer survey data, a survey of over 730 customers who use our Sell platform on a daily basis. This research supports a number of cost-effective strategies for increasing revenue, which you’ll find below.
1. Create data-driven buyer personas
The Zendesk Sales Trends Report 2021 revealed how critical it is for sales teams to understand their potential customers and their needs. In our research, 32 percent of B2B sales leaders say their buyers want them to have the full context of their business and the problems they’re trying to solve. Leads don’t want to spend their time listening to pitches that aren’t relevant to them. Developing data-driven buyer personas helps ensure sales reps focus their efforts on high-quality leads.
Clear buyer personas help agents focus their time and energy on qualified prospects.
Unless you’re just starting out, your CRM software has key information about the prospects who purchase and those who don’t. Use the tool to start forming your buyer personas.
- Look for buying patterns in your customer data. Pay attention to factors like company size, role, demographics, and location. If there are gaps, fill them in where possible and tag them accordingly. This analysis will help you create customer segments.
- Rank your segments according to indicators of customer value. For a SaaS company, that could be average annual recurring revenue (ARR). For ecommerce, average order value (AOV) might be more appropriate.
- Create profiles for hypothetical individuals to represent each of your groups. These will be your buyer personas.
Once you’ve completed the personas, get input from agents who understand their customers well and make the necessary adjustments.
While you’ll want to capture important information about your target audience, try to limit the number of buyer personas you create. For example, it might not be necessary to segment customers by age if they share key characteristics across generations. But if different age groups are facing distinct problems, it might be worth separating them.
3. Establish a sales process
Trying to close sales without a defined process is like setting up a factory without a production process. You have no idea what leads to wins or losses, so deals are unpredictable.
Sales leaders know this struggle. In a survey of 730 Zendesk Sell customers, 16 percent of respondents cited an inconsistent sales process as a major challenge for their sales department.
To provide a reliable, repeatable way for your team to win deals consistently, build a sales process and define the stages in your CRM. Start with the five-stage template below so you have a framework for customizing your own sales process.:
You might need to add or remove stages. For example, if you’re a B2C business and have fixed prices, you can drop the quote stage. But if you work with hard-to-reach B2B clients, inserting a stage between prospecting and qualified may be useful; this stage could contain leads who’ve been contacted but not yet properly qualified.
Next, add the stages to your CRM to help your agents manage their pipelines. You’ll also want to define the actions needed in each stage so your team has a clear, repeatable path to follow. For instance, at the prospecting stage, you could instruct agents to make cold calls and answer questions on forums like Reddit to generate leads.
Once everything is set up in the CRM, train your agents on how to use it properly. Make sure to measure the results of your sales process, too. This way, you’ll be able to identify what is and isn’t working and refine your process accordingly.