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5 Data-Backed Ways to Increase Sales This Year

5 Data-Backed Ways to Increase Sales This Year

Selling is an art that many people or small businesses have yet to perfect. In most cases, there’s room for improvement, whether you modify your follow-up process or test new customer incentives.

Whatever tactic you choose, it’s important to use data to back up your ideas—what worked for someone else may be just right for your company as well. Data also serves as an easy way to weed out the good and bad ideas and find the ones that seem most valuable to your sales team.

Consider which of these data-backed ideas are best for your priorities and business model, and see what you can do in the New Year to boost your sales.

Create and Distribute Coupons

Retailers earned $29,435 monthly (on average) via coupon sales. (CouponBox)

Coupons are inherently risky because you have to make more sales to bring in the same amount of profit as you would without the discount. However, they’re also extremely valuable, as they can bring in new customers and encourage loyalty with existing customers. They’ve also been found to increase revenue by 40 percent, according to the same CouponBox retailer survey.

Brainstorm the ways that discounts or coupons would work best with your products or services and test a variety of options, including BOGO deals, site-wide sales, and new customers only discounts. Track the results so you can repeat the most successful sales or discounts.

Incentivize Your Sales Team

85 percent of workers felt more motivated to do their best work when incentives were involved. (Business News Daily)

You may already offer commission to incentivize your sales team, but adding something small on top of that could be just the motivation they need to step it up in 2017. There are a number of ways you can format this, depending on personal preference and company resources. You could offer a special monthly incentive that just one or two members of the team can win, or create a quarterly program where the end prize is for everyone.

Incentives don’t have to be expensive, either. Some affordable ideas include:

  • Lunch paid for by the company
  • A half-day of their choosing
  • Friday half-days for the following quarter
  • Special seating for a week
  • A new item of their choosing (stand up desk, new chair, etc.)

A simple poll will help you determine what motivates your sales employees, so do that before rolling out any program.

Improve Your Prospect Follow-Up Process

80 percent of sales require 5 follow-up phone calls after the meeting. (MarketingDonut)

Making the sale is all about follow-up, as you probably already know. But are you following up enough? Not only should your employees be making at least five follow-up attempts, as the data suggests, but all of those follow-ups may not need to happen within the first week, or even month, of the initial contact.

Marketing Donut found that 63 percent of people requesting information from you today won’t purchase for at least three months; a whopping 20 percent will take more than 12 months to buy. With this in mind, expand your follow-up process to hit both of those benchmarks: 3 and 12 months. Track your results over the course of the year, get a new baseline for your sales funnel, and readjust accordingly.

Nurture Your Leads More

Companies that nurture leads make 50 percent more sales at a cost 33 percent less than non-nurtured leads.  (Forrester Research, reported by HubSpot)

 Nurturing leads is an important part of the sales process. If your sales team is overwhelmed with leads and current customers, however, they may push this to the side. Making it a priority is a great way to increase sales in 2017.

They key to making it stick is creating a lead nurturing program, where each step in the nurturing process is already pre-determined. Each step should be aligned with an activity and a month or timeframe. For example, sales team members could invite leads to webinar two months after initial call. This leaves little room for questions, and once your sales team gets used to the process, it will become second nature.

This ties in nicely with the extended follow-up idea. Combine the two for sales success.

Put More Emphasis on Content Creation

95 percent of buyers chose the company that “Provided them with ample content to help navigate through each stage of the buying process.” (Demand Gen, reported by Qvidian)

We’ve heard “content is king” for many years now in the business and marketing world. It’s important to remember that content is also king in sales. Luckily, getting more content is a relatively easy fix, whether you have an in-house copywriter or not.

The key is to identify ten (or more) most important content topics. You can choose these based on the most frequently asked questions received during sales calls. If you don’t have this information yet, take a few weeks for your sales team to collect it.

Create content that answers those questions in a guide format, as a PDF, or even as an e-book download. This style of content has the opportunity to be robust and professional-looking, providing more value to you and your potential leads.

If you don’t have an in-house copywriter, hire a freelance or contract writer from your current contacts or a website like UpWork. Investing in this content will be valuable in both the short- and long-term, and as such, it’s worth paying for the work to be done well.

Use these simple, yet important data-backed tips to improves your sales this year. With a few small changes you could see a dramatic increase before the year is done.

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by Jessica Thiefels // Jessica Thiefels is a professional blogger and freelance writer. She spent two years working tirelessly for a small startup, where she learned a lot about running a business and being resourceful. She’s been featured on Forbes and has written for StartupNation, Manta and more. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07 for small business tips and marketing ideas.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.