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In today’s market, having a basic sales operation in place isn’t enough. Your sales team and CRM system are essential but these alone won’t bring in high conversion rates.
A winning sales culture requires proactive lead management to improve sales performance and offer a competitive customer experience.
Don’t just expect closed deals. Create a culture in which each salesperson can thrive, improving the lead journey and outperforming competitors.
Dig into the 12 sales director strategies needed to improve sales performance and 5 AI tools that offer proactive lead management in competitive markets.
12 sales director strategies to foster a winning sales culture
These are the 12 proactive lead management strategies and processes you need to grow your business.
Starting with your lead management system, you can create a better, higher-performing sales culture to increase conversion rates.
- Data-driven decision making:
Use a CRM and other necessary tools to collect and analyze data. Relying on data reduces human error and limits varying assumptions each salesperson might make. This builds your team’s strengths in working with data-driven trends, patterns, and customer insights for better tactics and strategies that get results.
- Guidance based on prioritization:
Make each salesperson’s next step clear with better lead prioritization and a standard process. AI tools predict which leads are most likely to convert and which salesperson has the highest likelihood of success. Initial lead distribution is more efficient and continuous lead and sales insights inform sales activities throughout the entire process.
- Better forecasting:
With insights into sales trends and patterns, incorporating predictive analytics into your CRM system will provide your team with the tools they need to be forward-thinkers. This allows for anticipating market shifts and using strategic planning to adjust sales tactics.
- Early warning system and alerts:
Use lead data in action. Make the most of measurements and alerts in your CRM system to inform salespeople of deals that are stalled, at risk, or otherwise in need of attention. Help the sales team address issues with leads before they become major problems and know when to prioritize each relationship.
Emphasize the importance of a customer-centric sales culture for your team. Use data within your CRM system to provide a more personalized and effective approach to working leads that supports customer satisfaction and makes navigating sales activities more efficient through simpler customization.
- Improved collaboration:
Having team-wide access to informative tools provides more opportunities for collaboration through shared information and streamlined communication. Eliminate silos and blind spots. Encourage the sales team to help each other through successes and failures. Connect sales and other teams like marketing to broaden perspectives and opportunities.
- Process standardization:
Create a basic structure for your sales team to operate from within your CRM. Define phases of the sales funnel and timelines for clear tasks. By enforcing standard processes that work to streamline sales, you create a foundation that each salesperson can successfully build from, knowing what they can each do to close a sale.
- Effective time management:
Along the lines of streamlining processes, effective time management is crucial to improving sales culture. Rely on helpful tools for automation of repetitive administrative tasks and standard points of the sales process. This frees up salespeople to focus on high-value skills that build customer relationships.
- Clear goals and expectations:
All of these strategies are only as good as your ability to define and implement them. As new processes and expectations are put in place, spend time getting team buy-in. Providing clear measurements, goals, and expectations is essential to empowering each salesperson to make the most of each new strategy for improvement.
- Performance-based incentives:
Through tracking and measuring performance, you gain data-backed insights into what’s working and what needs improvement. Get the sales team on board to track and improve sales performance by making it worth their time. Establish goals that can be used to reward sales agents that reach them and celebrate wins.
- Transparency and accountability:
By tracking more lead and sales data in your CRM system, you can also invite your sales team and other departments to have clear visibility into the sales pipeline. Individual salespeople can measure their own performance, and the entire team can track the status of leads, campaigns, and various analytics. Help everyone stay accountable to the larger goals, and foster trust in each person to reach their own targets.
- Ongoing learning and development:
New tools and strategies only work if the people using them are empowered to do so. Track success rates and other sales performance improvements and lead conversion metrics. Use this data to continuously learn and improve what works and what doesn’t. Build in time for this to ensure new strategies are maximized.
What else boosts sales? Read: Sales Director Strategies, Upgrades, and Tools for a Shorter Mortgage Sales Cycle
Your toolkit: 5 AI technologies that support your team’s proactive lead management
To successfully implement the 12 strategies above, there are new, practical and accessible AI technologies available to plug into your current CRM and provide advanced sales support for proactive lead management that will improve sales performance.
1. Machine learning
Machine learning is a subset of AI that uses historical and incoming lead data to predict which leads are most likely to convert. It continuously learns from its own predictions and adjusts models to improve accuracy over time.
This is especially helpful when applied to lead scoring and lead distribution. Machine learning predicts and informs your sales team about which leads are most likely to convert as they flow in and as their behaviors change over time. It then automatically assigns leads to the salesperson it predicts is most likely to close the sale at that particular time.
2. Predictive analytics
AI takes analytics to the next level by using data from your current sales operations to intelligently predict new behaviors, patterns, and trends in lead behavior and sales performance.
Predictive analytics allows for enhanced data-backed forecasting that is more accurate than the guesses we make manually because predictions are calculated using a complex combination of data and behaviors. This helps your sales team set more realistic goals and run more effective sales activities.
3. AI automation
AI automation offers an intelligent way to simplify repetitive and administrative tasks like data entry, follow-up emails, and specific lead interactions. Sales teams rely on AI to input and process data accurately, which actually reduces human error.
This also frees up the sales team to increase sales productivity by focusing on higher-value tasks that require more nuance and skill when building relationships with each lead.
4. Personalization and segmentation
AI uses machine learning models to analyze every single dimension of lead data available, leading to in-depth insights into leads’ behaviors and preferences. With these insights, personalizing each lead’s experience becomes much simpler.
Leads are segmented into more customized groups automatically. And AI can guide personalized communication strategies. Both personalization and segmentation allow for better engagement with leads and a better sales experience overall.
Stay on top of the latest in sales, read our Top 10 Emerging Trends in Sales Lead Management Systems for 2023
5. Sentiment analysis and Natural Language Processing (NLP)
These two are another subset of AI. They support how AI handles personalization, automation, and suggested sales activities.
Sentiment analysis is used to assess communications with leads to gauge in each interaction whether a lead is having a positive, negative, or neutral experience.
NLP is used to communicate with leads in applications like chatbots, virtual assistants, or other communications channels. NLP allows for an automated conversation with leads to answer initial questions and concerns or point them to resources. This works as a filter for lead qualification. Tools like chatbots and virtual assistants can pass a qualified lead to a salesperson or even schedule a meeting for them.
Take sales further:
- Sales Directors’ Toolkit: Top 10 Lead Management Software and Tools to Drive Success
- AI Strategies for Sales Directors: Optimize Lead Management Processes with the Latest CRM Integrations
Give your team the strategies and tools they need to improve sales performance
As you can see, many of these essential strategies require new tools to support their success so that your team can improve sales performance and stay on top of lead interactions proactively.
AI is becoming more common among sales operations. It’s not only widely available but also successful in getting results. More than 50% of high-performing sales organizations are leveraging AI.
ProPair’s AI platform plugs into your current system to provide AI applications that help you know which leads are most likely to close, with the right salesperson, at the right time.