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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Improving Sales Performance Often Requires Changing Focus

Improving Sales Performance Often Requires Changing Focus

How much more productive would you be if you focussed on your inputs? This means avoiding all distractions and only working on planning, pitching, and following up—all the factors that budge the needle, not those that don't. 

A lot of valuable time is wasted focusing on things we cannot control. For example, we have zero control over the economy, competitors, pricing, inventory, or customers' attitudes. Improving sales performance often requires changing focus from things that are out of our control to things we can control.

So, what exactly should you focus on? Here are several things within your control.

Tips To Improve Sales Performance

Salespeople can only change things within their realm of control. It is extremely hard to control external factors.

For example, you can't control a meeting getting canceled, customers choosing to purchase from your competitors, and a company cutting its budget, to mention a few. The following are examples of things you can control to improve your sales performance.

How To Immediately Improve A Salesperson’s Performance

Have The Right Attitude

The attitude you bring to a deal is very influential in its outcome. In fact, a positive attitude is the cornerstone for a thriving career in sales. If you go to work with an "I don't think today is my day" attitude, you are setting yourself up for failure.

Did you know that a superb attitude in sales draws other great attitudes? This is incredibly important when it comes to influencing clients. Also, a great mood makes it easy for you to grow. You will be open to embracing new approaches, helping you make lasting changes that will push your sales even higher.

Improve Your Business Acumen

What distinguishes sales leaders from ordinary reps? Why are specific salespeople exceptional at closing deals? And why do some reps quickly rise through the ranks and not others? The answer could not be more straightforward: business acumen.

Business acumen is the ability to integrate perspective, awareness, experience, and knowledge to make effective sales decisions. In sales, it also encompasses value articulation, negotiation, relationship building, and prospecting. Mastering this skill helps sales reps make better judgments, allowing them to view business needs in a long-term manner.

In simpler terms, business acumen will enable you to make sound business decisions that benefit the organization for months or even years to come.

It can be challenging for salespeople to succeed without business acumen. Case in point, if a salesperson does not understand business trends impacting the customer, it can be difficult to keep conversations meaningful. For your team to remain relevant, your sales force should understand the concepts, languages, and priorities of the business.

3 Ways to Improve Business Acumen

Get Organized

Being a salesperson is full of uncertainties. You could go from celebrating after closing a big deal to dealing with the frustration of facing rejection on the same day. In the midst of all the chaos, structure remains an important pillar in achieving long-term success in sales.

Organization in sales is much more than maintaining a tidy desk and using a sophisticated calendar application. It also encompasses the following essential aspects:

  • Good time management. Time is a very precious and rare asset in sales. It involves getting your priorities right, planning your day, staying away from distractions, and focusing on things you have control over.

  • Making the most of opportunities. An organized salesperson can pinpoint and take advantage of scarce opportunities. Further, by remembering to follow up, you can close deals that may have been forgotten in the endless paperwork.

Expand Your Network

How many people you get to meet, the type of relationship you form with them, and the impact you have on their lives is up to you. Building a network is something you accomplish over time and can develop opportunities that increase sales and revenue. Expanding your network allows you to meet new prospects, referrals, and potential partners who can help you climb your career ladder.

To build an influential network, follow these simple steps:

  • Know who you want to connect with
  • Choose the most appropriate communication channels
  • Request your existing connections to introduce you to new people. 
  • Reinvent Your Sales Strategy

Another building block of sales performance is your strategy. Unfortunately, numerous sales strategies are formulated in January only to remain unused until December, when it is time to make new year plans. If this sounds like something you would typically do in your company, it may be time to revamp your sales strategy.

The current market needs businesses to be agile and responsive to customer's needs. You can refresh your sales strategy quarterly, bi-annually, or even every month, depending on your business needs.

The Lowdown

In sales, unlike most other careers, you are in charge of your success. Of course, there will be factors that affect your productivity for better or worse. And no, you will never have 100% control over your result. Worrying and complaining, however, will not improve the situation.

Focussing on factors out of your control does not bear fruit. None of the very successful salespeople ended up in their position by sheer luck. Instead, they put all focus on their input rather than their outcomes.


Topics: sales strategy sales performance business acumen