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Topics Covered: <a href='/resources/search/?query=Sales Strategy'>Sales Strategy</a> | <a href='/resources/search/?query=Prospecting'>Prospecting</a> | <a href='/resources/search/?query=linkedin'>linkedin</a>
We’ve all been there: you’re having difficulty generating quality leads; your pipeline is full, but prospects aren't converting to the next stage; or prospects are dropping out of your pipeline due to indecision or choosing to go with a competitor. It’s the dreaded sales slump.

One of my most memorable slowdowns occurred in a previous sales leadership role, where my team relied heavily on cold calling into organizations to identify decisions makers. This was an inefficient process that did not yield the pipeline we needed - there had to be a better way. According to Hubspot’s 2016 The State of Inbound Report, 43 per cent of salespeople struggle most with prospecting, and 40 per cent say getting a response from those prospects is increasingly difficult.

So, what do you do if you find your sales performance sliding? Remember that even the best performers are prone to the occasional funk. When it seems like nothing is working, I like to consider these three things to help me and my team get back on track.

Is your sales process outdated?

When leads aren’t converting and frustration starts to rise, desperation can often lead to trying anything to turn your luck around. Instead, take a step back and look at your sales process. Has it evolved along with your prospects buying journey? I’m not talking about just your CRM or other sales automation tools. Sales leaders must reevaluate the step-by-step process that’s guiding their team and defines how they identify, qualify and convert leads. Think about how the buying journey has changed for your target and optimize your process to ensure you’re taking advantage of all the touch points available to you. 
Implementing a simple, modern, yet formalized process equips your team with a predictable roadmap to navigate the sales cycle and keeps them in close communication with clients. This ensures they’re kept top of mind, so when they are ready to buy, they’re more likely to turn to your organization.

When was the last time you updated your online presence?

How you appear on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn is an extension of your personal brand. Make it easy for prospects searching for a solution you offer to find you online. On LinkedIn, for example, you can optimize your profile for how it appears in search results, and how it appears when someone clicks through to view your profile.
Add keywords to your profile to show up in searches and think about what your prospects would search for when looking for solutions you offer. Then, include relevant keywords where they fit seamlessly in your headline, your summary and your previous experience.
Become the go-to resource for prospects, customers and information-seekers by sharing updates and publishing posts on LinkedIn related to your product or area of expertise. You can enhance your reputation as an expert in your field by sharing your observations, impressions and firsthand experiences from your job, company and industry.
Include a call to action across all your social properties, so prospects can seamlessly get in touch after coming across you online. 

Are you doing social selling right?

Finally, we all know making sales is all about building relationships, and like any good relationship it takes time. You wouldn't ask someone to marry you on a first date, so don’t just jump in cold with a big ask without taking the time to learn more about your prospect.
Leverage your network to find allies who can help fill your funnel. Start with anyone who has ever referred business to you in the past. Then seek referrals from satisfied former clients. A great way to get referrals organically is to give them first. Engage with the most influential people in your network and colleagues’ networks and provide meaningful recommendations on LinkedIn that will encourage reciprocation. Just make sure you stand behind that recommendation. It needs to be authentic.

Follow the core tenet of social selling: Be helpful to your colleagues and connections and they’ll be more inclined to refer business your way. Over time, your social selling activities should lead to more inbound opportunities, allowing you to thrive regardless of how well the marketing team performs.

When you’re in sale slump, it’s hard to find the momentum needed to climb out of it. Address the slump head on by revisiting your process, hit the reset button on your online presence to generate new leads and reexamine how you’re activating your network to fill the funnel.

As Milton Berle said, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”

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About the author: Julie Howlett Julie Howlett is the Regional Manager of Sales Solutions at LinkedIn in North America, where she leads a team of sales professionals dedicated to transforming the way sales and business development professionals gain business intelligence and identify warm pathways into their prospects through LinkedIn. Julie previously led the financial services vertical for LinkedIn's Marketing Solutions business in Canada, and prior to that, led sales teams at AOL and Astral Media.

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