Here are a few best practices for implementing an ongoing accountability strategy for your sales team.
1. Encourage the fundamentals. All too often, it seems easier to blame a failure in completing home sales on anything that’s handy-a failure in marketing, the position of the planet Venus related to Saturn’s second moon-in other words, anything but the mundane truth. Sales succeed and fail based solely on the fundamentals of good communication, strategic pricing, and a quality product. Incorporating accountability into a sales strategy isn’t about finding a magic formula that will enable your team to make more sales with little to no work. It’s about using hard data to examine the fundamentals of new home sales.
When a new lead enters the system, is the assigned salesperson executing follow-up in a timely fashion? What methods of communication work best for each particular lead-does one prospect respond better to e-mails than phone calls? How many leads were driven by marketing’s last direct mail campaign, and what did sales deliver on those leads? These are simple, basic questions that should have simple, basic answers.
2. Utilize a customer relationship management (CRM) solution. By its very nature, accountability for a sales team requires aggressive and active tracking of each sales lead, along with all contact between the sales team and each lead. There is no better way to track and manage leads than through a robust customer relationship management (CRM) solution. Without a CRM solution, your sales team will be forever left in the limbo of disorganized spreadsheets and other ad-hoc “tracking” systems, and no true accountability can ever take place with the incomplete information these imperfect methods provide.
3. Accountability reaches across the organization. A robust CRM solution will enable stronger strategies not just for the sales team but for departments across the organization. Marketing will be able to more effectively determine which campaigns brought in the most leads and which haven’t had a strong impact. Customer service reps can note each contact they have with a buyer and build a relationship that extends far beyond just the final contract signing.
According to The Yankee Group, a consumer trends research organization, up to 80% of sales leads go stale, are lost, or are simply never followed up on. That means as many as eight out of ten inbound leads for a new home community-whether delivered via the project’s website or through traffic into the sales center-do not receive the attention they need to convert them into home purchases and realized revenue.
Taking these steps will insure that “accountability” is no longer a dirty word, and that the gap between properly executed leads and fumbled leads should continue to shrink down to nothing.