Ask yourself this: what separates a “one-hit wonder” from the Beatles?
The answer: consistency.
The same is true in sales. Anybody can have a great month or quarter. But it’s the reps who deliver month in and month out that provide the most value to their organizations.
Consistency allows you to:
- Set clear targets and measure your progress
- Develop a clear sense of what “good” looks like
- Hold teams accountable for their performance & growth
- Build a reputation for high quality performance
- Save time, stress, and confusion
- Limit duplicative efforts among your reps
Unfortunately, salespeople are notorious for being consistently inconsistent.
How often have you observed a sales rep having a series of record quarters or a banner year, only to follow it up with spats of mediocrity and below average performance?
So here are some tips to help you generate consistent performance among all of your reps.
1. Don’t negotiate the non-negotiables.
Every rep will have their own selling style. But there are certain activities that are non-negotiable across the board:
- Tracking activities in the CRM
- Professional development
Even so, we all know reps who struggle with consistency in these fundamentals. What’s worse, they try and negotiate their way out of them with excuses:
- “I’m just not a good caller”
- “I’m too busy doing other things”
- “I’m just slow-working”
- “I forget to log activities in the CRM”
- “The day just gets away from me”
If these excuses come up often, you need to sit down and have some tough conversations with the rep. They need to understand that these fundamental motions are critical both to their individual success and the success of the organization.
One way to bring reps around is to provide examples of how top performers behave day in and day out.
They’re rarely standing around the office talking about the latest season to drop on Netflix. Instead, successful reps spend the majority of their time focused on their pipeline, and engaging in those key activities that bring in business.
If reps aren’t engaging in these key activities, you need to coach them to change that behavior. And if they don’t, they may have to go work somewhere else.
Do your reps need some support to consistently cold call? Here are some strategies your reps can implement to crush their numbers.
2. Define what “good” looks like.
It’s hard to be consistent when you’ve got fifty reps marching to the beat of a hundred different drums.
That’s why you need to spend some time defining what “good” looks like, and then communicate that to your reps.
This starts with your mission and values. Often, these statements are considered a “nice to have” and rolled out when you need to impress a client or investor.
However, they serve an important practical purpose: providing reps with clear markers on what they should be working toward, and how they should be working.
For example, if you want to be a startup who “moves fast and breaks things,” that will encourage your reps to take more risks in their activities. If you want to be more careful about your brand reputation, however, reps will need to adopt a more considered approach.
On top of that, you need to define how reps should talk about your products or services. Standardized messaging is a good way to get everyone on the same page, but you also don’t want to be so standardized that the reps will feel stifled and come across as inauthentic.
You should also have some sales call recordings, both of good and bad calls, so reps can see real-life examples of what they should (and shouldn’t be doing).
Finally, you can’t just define what good looks like. You need to track and ensure that your reps are adhering to those standards. That means using coaching intelligence technology, your CRM, and other tools to monitor rep performance, and make adjustments if necessary.
For some resources to help you build a solid coaching program that can help your reps adhere to your standard of “good,” check out our Sales Coaching Success Kit.
3. Focus on long-term, sustained growth.
Often, the best approach to sales is a counter-intuitive one.
We all emphasize the importance of meeting monthly, quarterly, and annual numbers. And while that’s important, reps (and managers) can be so focused on closing this month’s deals that they aren’t prospecting for next month and the month after that, and their pipeline dries up.
So while reps need to ABC (Always Be Closing), they should be doing so with the long-term in mind.
And even if you have reps who specialized in certain segments of the pipeline, like BDRs, SDRs, AEs, etc., this principle still applies.
For a BDR, they need to balance between qualifying and sending prospects over to the AEs (their version of “closing”), and spending time hunting and finding new prospects.
And for an AE, they need to spend time both on getting contracts signed, and having demos and following up with prospects.
There are no quick results and no silver bullet moments when it comes to sales. That’s why focusing on long-term activities is always a good bet; because if you do that consistently, you’ll eventually reap incredible returns.
4. Work with the rep to develop action plans.
If you want to help your reps stay consistent over time, you have to help them plan, prepare, and practice consistent behaviors.
They need to understand which actions are going to get them toward their long-term goals, and which leading indicators demonstrate whether they’re making progress in that regard.
This is where a solid action plan comes in. It provides an objective yardstick for what the rep should be doing day in and day out, but it’s also rooted in the rep’s long-term goals and quota expectations.
It also helps you identify teachable moments and coaching opportunities. If a rep starts to deviate from the plan, it’s a sign that they need some additional coaching and support.
The shape of this plan will vary depending on the individual rep. Some prefer to block off calendar time, while others prefer making a daily list and crossing each item off as they get through it.
Finally, weekly team meetings and one-on-ones can help ensure that each rep is sticking to their plan. Never underestimate the effectiveness of accountability and peer pressure to get your reps to change their behavior.
Ultimately, the rep is responsible for owning their own performance improvement. Here are some steps you can take to help them do just that.
Final thoughts: Commit to consistency.
If you want your reps to be consistent, they have to first commit to consistency. That means showing up when they don’t feel like it, because they know that the reward is going to be worth it (that, and they’ll have to go work somewhere else if they don’t).
Above all, you want your reps to stay attentive, present, and mindful during their work days. They need to be intentional about the behaviors they engage in, prioritizing the work that will move the needle the fastest.
Ultimately, true sales professionals know how to:
- Stay disciplined in the moment
- Focus on their immediate behaviors, letting the long-term consequences worry about themselves
- Figure out which activities are going to generate the fastest and best results
- Worry less about what everyone else is doing, and whether they’re making progress against their previous performance
Always remind reps: they may not see immediate results. But over time and with consistent action, they can build a killer pipeline and start generating real wins for the organization.
If you want to master the foundations necessary to achieve consistency in sales performance, download our FREE sales coaching kit right here.