Is Your Sales Team Underperforming?

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Ask These 4 Critical Questions to Get Back on Track

Is your sales team underperforming?

You might be surprised to learn that this troubling trend probably has less to do with your sales team and more to do with a lack of addressing a few critical questions.

It’s not an unusual problem to have. We found ourselves in this very situation several years ago as Matt Rissell prepared to take TSheets to market–for the second time. Learn from our mistakes by reading about where we went wrong when it came to sales in the early days of TSheets, and ask yourself these important questions before pinning the blame on your salespeople.

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1. Are you talking to the right audience?

Finding out whether you’re selling snow to Eskimos is easy enough in most cases. If you’re at the point of managing a sales team, you probably know who your target audience is. But unfortunately, it’s not as easy as that. Knowing whether your critical audience is an administrator, business owner, manager in B2B sales, and sorting out the nuance between the hipster crowd, the chicster offshoot, or the counter-culture contingent can mean the difference between decent sales and true market domination. Don’t make the mistake of seeing some traction with an audience and immediately circling the wagons around them.

2. Are you failing fast?

Many businesses make the mistake of seeing some traction with an audience early on, and focusing all their efforts on selling to that audience–then blaming the mediocre results on their sales team. Ask yourself this: Have you truly found your niche? Have you really explored all the options? Or are you still on the fringes of a lot of untapped potential? It’s also important to ask yourself whether you’re failing fast as you explore these new markets and audiences in sales.

Getting stuck too long on one mediocre market/audience means lost sales and lost time. Continue to test new markets and new audiences, and as you do so, fail fast. Are you seeing good initial results? Pursue quickly, and keep testing. Over the course of a few months, you’ll have a much better idea of where your product or service resonates most–and whether your idea of your core audience matches up with reality.

3. Are you asking at the right time?

Are you directing your salesforce to make a pitch at the right time? This might seem impossible with a phone-based sales team, but there are numerous clues you can use to target your sales pitches to the moments your customers are most likely to buy or upgrade your product or service.

Read these stats for making phone sales, and explore different triggers and time points for making a sale with your customers. Is it best to approach right when they walk in the door? Wait until they have a piece of merchandise in their hand? When they’ve added more than three users to their free trial account? Experimenting with when you make a move or make an ask of customers and potential customers during their lifecycle as a customer can make all the difference in closing and snagging sales.

4. What is your value proposition?

Everyone knows what they offer their customers. But a shocking amount don’t know why their product or service exists for their customers, on a deeper level. And for better or worse, this makes all the difference in how your salespeople position and sell your product or service. Why do you exist–aside from making money? Your customers don’t want to make you rich: They want to buy or subscribe to something they need and want. What void are you filling in their lives? How do you help them succeed? Who do you help them become or feel like? Answering these questions is the difference between a compelling sales pitch and a happy customer, and a hard sell with a lukewarm customer.

If your sales team is underperforming, asking–and acting on–these four questions can make a big difference in how you see your employees and the opportunities for success right in front of you!

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