If you’ve been in sales for 6 months or longer, you’ve most likely been in a sales slump at some point. It’s safe to assume sales isn’t the first place you’ve experienced such defeat. Anyone that has played a sport can likely recall a few times they’ve drastically underperformed. During my worst slumps in baseball, my coaches always had a plan to get back on track. In the same way, we must have a plan for how to handle a sales slump when it inevitably comes.
Sales is a game of numbers
Whether you’re cold calling net-new leads, or closing deals with inbound customers, it’s very likely you’ll face failure in your efforts. On average, my sales team turns 20% of conversations into discovery calls. This means 80% of our conversations end by failing to achieve the goal of scheduling next steps. Failure is a part of life, but repeated defeat can drain the energy and focus needed to succeed. Though difficult, it’s critical in sales to learn to accept that negative outcomes are a part of the job, but that you must continually strive to eliminate them.
Review your cadence
- What factors have changed since the last time you were on a winning streak?
Take a look at the dashboards on your CRM. Excluding your primary deliverables (discovery call, demo, close), what numbers have changed since the last winning streak? Here at Reveneer, we believe dials lead to conversations and quality conversations lead to delivering next steps. Many slumps begin with the frustration and discouragement of repeatedly failing to close. Worse yet, they are extended when the frustration leads to lack of effort. By examining the dashboards, we remove such emotions and can uncover areas ripe for improvement.
- How much time are you spending on tasks that haven’t led to much success?
My next section will cover why it’s important to try something new during a slump. However, in order to try something new, we must first look at what we are doing today that isn’t working. Throughout your day, take note of which activities (email sequencing, linkedin messaging, personal emails, sourcing, etc) are taking excessive time out of your day. Compare and contrast the time you spend on each activity with the outcome of said activity.
Try something new
- Source new accounts/leads
If you’ve been working with the same group of accounts or leads, try sourcing something new. I’ve found myself dialing through a list numerous times, in which nearly every dial goes straight to voicemail. Rather than continuing to dial through the same list hoping for a new result, source additional people or companies.
- Try a new approach on the phone
Here at Reveneer, we believe that the first 40 seconds of a cold-call are our chance prove to the prospect we deserve more of their time. When looking at the dashboards/reports, take note of your pick up to conversation ratio. (We consider a conversation to be a call lasting longer than two minutes)
- Use a new communication channel
Depending on the role you’re in, you may not have the option of sourcing additional leads/companies and you’ve likely tried multiple approaches on the phone. In this case, we should look for other channels of communication. For the most part, we’ve all used Linkedin, the phones, personal emails and email sequencing in an attempt to reach prospects. However, seldom can one honestly say they’ve tried more than 2 approaches with each prospect of theirs. When I was in my last slump, I began utilizing LinkedIn to send personal messages to people I’d otherwise never contacted due to lack of contact information. Recently, one of my colleagues mentioned using Twitter as a means of communications. Sure enough, I found hashtags and thought-leaders to follow, and look forward to continued usage.
At the end of the day, there are numerous factors we can blame a sales slump on. Lack of effort, discouragement, seasonality, etc. What matters is not how you got yourself into a slump, but that you make the effort necessary to get yourself back on track.