Sometimes it can feel like the only way to close more deals is to spend longer on the phone, and increase the number of prospects you reach out to. While this is one method for helping you hit your revenue goals, it isn’t the only way (you’ll be relieved to hear!)

By tweaking other parts of your sales process, you might find that you are actually able to get more done in less time, and with far less energy wasted. After all, telling your sales team the only way they’ll reach their revenue goals is for them to spend longer in the office is hardly the best way to boost morale – instead, consider some of our tips for experimenting with other ‘sales levers’ you can pull to reach the same targets.

1. Improve your customer numbers

As we mentioned, this is one of the options you can try – but not the only one. As a sales person, you can change the number of customers you close – this is something within your power to improve. You can make more time to pick up the phone, and really dig into figuring out what works for your customers.

In a recent HubSpot video prospecting bootcamp we attended, many participants made it clear that increasing the number of prospects they reach out to on the phone each day wasn’t simple. Many said they struggled to make calls and follow up leads, due to time and resource constraints. This probably sounds familiar.

But HubSpot’s solution for this was to schedule call time into the start or end of your day – open or finish your day with a solid hour on the phone, dedicated to prospecting. Block out this time in your diary and make it immovable, just like a meeting would be. It doesn’t mean you have to come in earlier or leave later, but making prospecting a solid, scheduled event means your customer numbers are sure to improve – especially if you set yourself a quota of calls to complete within that hour.

Top tip: You could also change the focus of your calls, aiming at larger businesses with larger budgets. Adapting your style to more viable businesses enables you to up the costs whilst completing the same high standard of work you’ve already been doing.

2. Change the way you negotiate

Stop offering discounts to prospects. It's an easy way to draw new business in, but are you compromising your standards and your revenue too much, in order to get a sale? Instead, you could change their payment terms. Set yourself the new goal to negotiate on terms, but only negotiate on price if you absolutely have to, keeping as much revenue as possible for the business.

As ESM Inbound’s Director of Growth, John Kelleher, puts it:

“Two of your customers might be paying the same fee. One pays in an upfront one-off bill for a slightly discounted rate, one pays on a month-by-month basis at full price. They pay roughly the same amount, but on their own terms. They feel in control and like they still got chance to negotiate better conditions for their business. You don’t lose out on money, and they feel they’re being listened to: it’s win/win.”

By showing flexibility, yet not rushing to offer discounts, you’re proving your product or service has real value, which cannot be budged on in terms of price. But if your customer wants payment terms to be better suited to how their business works: that’s something you can probably work on.

3. Make goals bitesize

Whether you’re the sole salesperson at your business, or managing a whole team, make sure goals are manageable. Give yourself or colleagues something to work towards on a weekly or monthly basis. We all know how far off a year, or even a quarter can feel, so set up smaller, bitesize ways for your team to get that rush of fulfilment – it’ll spur them on to make every hour in the office count. As Meg Prater from HubSpot puts it:

“Hold your reps accountable to smaller weekly or monthly goals, and you’ll increase the likelihood they’ll meet their bigger number. Smaller goals let your reps build confidence with incremental wins. They also help track your rep’s progress towards larger goals, giving you more time to work with struggling reps.”

In this same article, HubSpot references a fascinating Harvard University study which observed how setting specific goals increases motivation. The study reported that students who stuck to a goal-oriented plan performed 30% better than those who didn’t. In this same way, give your sales reps a short-term goal that builds to the team or company’s wider goals in time.

4. Sell better

You could increase your average deal size – if you’re genuinely good at what you do, people will pay more for excellent products, services and delivery. The purpose of pulling the ‘deal size lever’ is to get better at different points in your sales funnel.

Sales funnel diagram

For example, maybe your proposals aren’t well-written enough – should you be closing 75% of proposals but instead are only closing 50%? Maybe your Connect Calls are good, but you fall down on your Explore Calls? Look at the weakest points in your funnel and concentrate on ways to strengthen them.

Top tip: Make a spreadsheet and have a fiddle around with the numbers.

  • What happens to the other numbers if you change your average deal price? E.g. from £4000 to £8,000?
  • What happens to the other numbers if you close 30 deals per month instead of 20?
  • What happens to the other numbers if you revise your goal? E.g. to £500,000 instead of £1,000,000?

By working out ways to tweak certain elements of your sales funnel – not just making more sales calls – you’ll see the knock-on effect to other parts of the sequence. Decide which bits you can feasibly improve upon and work out how even small changes could have a real impact on your end goals.

5. Fix your weak spots

Once you’ve identified which element of your sales funnel could be adapted, identifying your weak spots, it’s time to improve. But it isn’t as straightforward as merely setting ‘improve your connect calls’ as a goal. You need to identify which resources you’ll need to help you get there. As Steli Efti at Close puts it:

“You’ve identified the problem. You’ve owned the problem. Now you need to solve the problem, or at the very least, prevent it from happening again… Unless you’re in a hostile and competitive sales team, your teammates don’t want you to fail. So look at the numbers and find out who crushed it this quarter, then ask for their advice, guidance, or mentorship.”

If you work alone without a team, or maybe you’re the head of sales yourself, reach out to a successful salesperson outside your company for some advice. If that isn’t possible, there are so many learning resources available online to self-teach your way through whatever challenge you’re facing.

By focusing on a particular element of your sales funnel you can change, as highlighted in point 4, you’re making it easier for yourself to identify one person in your team, company or who is a connection online to reach out to and ask for some training or mentoring.

If you know someone in your team is fantastic at closing deals, ask to observe them for the day. If someone you know is great at sending proposals, ask them to send you a few examples of past successful proposals so you can use them as a template. Whatever action you can take, either direct or remotely, identify the best person or resource to help you and start applying new techniques to your process.

Revenue goals are an important and natural element of any successful business. By implementing some of these changes to the way you approach the targets within your sales team, we hope you'll see that hitting your goals doesn't have to mean working longer: it's about working smarter.