What tips would help us deal with sales fluctuations?

My company sells through the internet and a call centre operation to the general public. Sales are typically good as there is a reasonable amount of traffic from both. However, conversion rates can fluctuate a lot and I sometimes feel that my sales teams are a little erratic. Sales people typically blame poor leads and managers say that dipping morale affects productivity. Have you any tips for dealing with both of these problems?

A. Graham Bunting of Avaya writes:

Measurement is imperative so that you can identify success and repeat it. When your sales force speaks to customers, important data needs to be collected. And solid measurable data helps you make valuable decisions. Begin by quantifying as much as possible – how many calls are received, and what orders, on a per agent basis. This clarifies who is operating effectively. You also need to know: how many calls are unanswered; how long callers are waiting before they hang up, and whether this happens at peak times or throughout the day; if there are times when callers can’t get through because all lines are busy; and how long callers have to wait before speaking to an agent.

Focusing on agent activity can also reveal valuable information, so record and listen to sales techniques. Small changes in language, for example, from “I think it will” to “Yes, it will” are often key to success.

Top agents may spend more – or maybe even less – time per call than less successful colleagues. It is also wise to establish who is calling and why. Without identifying the trigger for callers’ interest (which advert, location, magazine and so on), you could be pouring advertising investments down the drain. If you consider all of the inputs, you can identify correlation between campaigns, sales agents’ performance and success, even getting a good match for regional accent preferences, for example. This should enable better campaign planning for the future, as well as recruitment preferences.

Finally – motivation is always a challenge when people are performing repetitive work. However, sales agents enjoying success and having fun, feeling valued and working in a positive environment will always be more inclined to stay where they are and perform well. This is about understanding people and working on their natural desire for recognition and development. If you put all the right tools in place, you can map out career paths and development opportunities for your team and stand a good chance of catching people performing well in order to recognize them.






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