Are your sales numbers flat this year? Are you struggling to find unique ways to increase sales? Do you need something extra to motivate the team to meet aggressive goals? If so, you’re not alone. Let’s face it: Selling a product is hard.
This is true even for inbound sales. Even after a lead willingly reaches out to your sales team, there’s no guarantee they’ll connect with you or choose you over the competition.
To help you get from interest to engagement to conversion, we’ve put together a list of 25 ways to boost sales this year. Let’s go.
Ready to connect with customers and drive increased conversions? Try out one of our top 25 sales techniques.
1. Remember Your Mission is to Help
“Define a mission, and get everyone motivated to help more people.” – Dan Tyre, Sales Director, HubSpot
People don’t always need a promotion or discount. What they need is a reminder of the value of making a decision — the pain you will alleviate and the benefits they’ll see.
Coming up with three bullet points that redefine your business’ value — from the customer’s perspective — can put people back into the right mindset of helping, not selling.
2. Invest in Digital Marketing
62 percent of smartphone users have made purchases on their devices. It makes sense; from streamlined eCommerce shopping carts to “buy now” buttons on popular social media sites, it’s easier than ever for customers to buy whatever they want, whenever they want it.
As a result, effective digital marketing is critical in 2022 to reach consumers where they are and encourage immediate action. Find the platform your prospective buyers use most, invest there, and track the impact.
3. Don’t Be Afraid of Discounts
Okay, so this one isn’t exactly “unique” — but it works. Up-front discounts can help get B2C and B2B customers to make their first purchase, and so long as they’re satisfied with your product, they’ll be back for more.
The result? Make a good impression with that first sale and discounts more than pay for themselves over time.
4. Ask for Referrals
“This is so important but so easy to skip over. Call current customers and ask for referrals.” – Dan Tyre, Sales Director, HubSpot
When was the last time you got a call from a vendor who thanked you for your business? Never? Exactly. Wouldn’t you be impressed if you got a call? Here’s what that might look like:
Ms. Prater, this is Dan from HubSpot. I am calling you to thank you for being a great customer. Over the last few months, you’ve seen some solid growth. I’m calling to thank you for your business, give you my cell phone number, and let you know that if you ever have a question, you can call me directly. We hope to be a great partner for years to come. By the way, do you know anyone else who might be a good fit for our product or services?
5. Stay Flexible
As the last two years have made abundantly clear, companies must stay flexible. This flexibility also extends to sales — if customer requirements have changed thanks to pandemic pressures or digital transformation priorities, be prepared to support these initiatives with sales options that match consumer preferences.
6. Sell Yourself, Not Just Your Product
“You’re a product in the same way the item you sell is a product. So sell it, and sell it well.” – Michelle Benfer, Vice President of Sales, HubSpot
Customers are looking for a connection — someone with their best interest in mind. If you do your job right, that’s how they’ll see you. But they won’t know you care like that until you position yourself that way.
Benfer says, “To the prospect, you’re a product. The question is, are you a product that solves a problem? Or a product that takes more than it gives or breaks down just so they need to upgrade?”
7. Improve Lead Targeting
Great leads generate reliable sales. Not-so-great leads can leave you hanging on for days or weeks while you put in the effort — only for them to go with another brand.
To bolster sales this year, refine your lead targeting process with a focus on eliminating leads that are unlikely to buy or may take significant time to convince. By creating a set of qualifying criteria for B2B leads such as their current position, previous purchase history, and how the lead was generated — did they reach out or did you contact them — your team can pinpoint leads more likely to purchase.
8. Join the Community
Customers are looking for authenticity. They want to know that you actually understand their pain points and recognize what really matters to them — they’re not interested in buying from brands that are simply capitalizing on current trends by reading a script.
To help organically boost sales, seek out and join social communities popular with your customers. A word of warning? You’re not there to sell but to learn: Sure, make your handle or avatar your brand name and logo but focus on participating and paying attention — not only will you gather valuable sales data but can bolster your reputation.
9. Promote Active Engagement
Passive selling works to help drive steady, low-value sales but to capture new leads interested in making big purchases, active engagement is key. In practice, this means getting active on social media platforms with prospective customers by responding to comments and answering direct messages ASAP.
Consider that 46 percent of customers want a response from companies within four hours — while this may not always be possible, the closer you can get to this mark the better your chances of conversion.
10. Try Team Selling
“Team selling will help you increase your closing percentage.” – Dan Tyre, Sales Director, HubSpot
When our team gets in a rut, we shake things up by trying something innovative, like pairing people up.
There are many great variations to this technique. Have two reps work together on one deal, or connect a senior person with a junior person. You can even split the team into pairs for a contest. Or have someone listen to another rep’s calls to give effective feedback.
11. Build Long-term Relationships
While one-off purchases boost sales over the short term, continued spending from customers can add up over time. Here, it’s worth calculating lifetime customer value (LCV) to determine how much customers typically spend over time and then adjusting your sales tactics to match.
Consider that for buyers who are satisfied with your product or service, less work is required to drive second, third, or fourth purchases. By prioritizing these customers, you can boost total sales without breaking the bank.
12. Promote the Onboarding Process
“Run a solid promotion that gives great value to the onboarding process.” – Dan Tyre, Sales Director, HubSpot
Instead of offering a discount on your product, offer more value from the purchase. Customers like additional attention, help, and support after they’ve made the purchasing commitment.
Offering a 90-day check-in or providing labor to run a campaign that saves the client time and effort can really move the dial. And don’t forget to mention it during the initial conversations, too, when a prospect may be considering a competitor’s products.
13. Offer Delayed Billing
For large or B2B purchases, it’s worth considering the option of delayed billing. Consider a company doing business with your brand for the first time. If you offer delayed billing — anywhere from one to three months is commonplace — you can remove one of the biggest barriers to buying, especially for businesses struggling with available capital post-pandemic.
14. Practice, Practice, Practice
“Use summer to get more exposure to customers and practice your pitch.” – Michelle Benfer, Vice President of Sales, HubSpot
Benfer advises, “Salespeople should constantly hone, improve, and iterate on their craft. And summer is a great time to simply practice getting better.”
Could you start your meetings with a tighter agenda? Do you sync calendars with the next steps at the end of each call? Are you following up with your prospects with value-add content that matters to them?
15. Ask for Honest Feedback
It’s not always easy, but it’s effective. One of the best ways to boost sales is to ask for honest feedback from your customers. Get them to tell you exactly what they don’t like about your sales techniques, product, or support policies, and then make changes to address these issues.
While it’s hard to hear where you aren’t meeting expectations, it’s critical if you want to grow your brand and boost your sales.
16. Share Your Story
The story behind your brand matters. What got your company started? Where are you headed? Why are you doing what you’re doing?
This need for narrative ties into the social nature of sales. Consumers aren’t interested in buying from faceless corporations; they want to feel personal connections with the brands they support and put a face to people that sell them products and services.
17. Be Empathetic
“Practice empathy — it’ll help you sell the product better.” – Michelle Benfer, Vice President of Sales, HubSpot
For some people, sales can be Groundhog Day. For others, every deal is a fresh opportunity to help a business or person solve a challenging problem.
Benfer recommends, “Practice empathy. Practice being in your buyers’ shoes. Improve your business acumen and better assist your clients in achieving their goals. And don’t forget to smile. Your prospects can feel it.”
18. Review Your Website
Find your sales suffering in 2022? Before amping up your customer connections or investing big in new marketing initiatives, take a hard look at your website. How long does it take to load? How easy is it to navigate? What do your product pages look like?
Here’s why it matters: If you succeed in generating interest but your website makes it difficult for customers to find what they’re looking for, they won’t stick around. Streamline your online services to create a solid foundation for sales.
19. Curate Your CTA
Is your call-to-action (CTA) doing the job? Does it reflect current customer pain points? Does it drive action?
Test your CTA by taking the time to brainstorm a few new options, then send out emails to customers — some with the original and some with a new CTA and see what happens. If your new CTA generates higher open rates and website visitors, it’s time to switch.
20. Keep Current Customers Happy
Keeping current customers happy means they’ll keep coming back to buy more, but also sets the stage for organic referrals. By offering benefits such as loyalty discounts and refer-a-friend programs, you can leverage existing goodwill to help expand your customer base.
The caveat? Prioritize your customers as people, not third-party product promoters. If every email you send asks them to refer their friends or share your content, trust in your brand may start to erode.
21. Keep Track of KPIs
“Know your stats.” – Michelle Benfer, Vice President of Sales, HubSpot
This one’s pretty straightforward. You need to know your stats and keep track of KPIs. Analyze your personal performance and commit to improving one KPI over eight weeks.
Could you improve your deal size? The number of deals closed? Depth of touches on your leads? How about shortening your sales cycle length? Benfer says, “Know your stats, own ’em, love ’em, improve ’em.”
22. Sell to the Situation
In the context of B2B buyers, disposition is often a key factor: How does your contact view your company, and what are they willing to spend.
While disposition remains relevant, even more important is the situation: What challenges does your prospective buyer business face that your product can solve? If you speak to the situation rather than the disposition, you’re more likely to drive conversion.
23. Align Sales with Marketing
“Practice smarketing — it’ll make all the difference.” – Jen Spencer, Chief Revenue Officer, Smartbug Media. Smarketing combines sales and marketing to boost both efforts.
Discover how marketing increases sales by tracking consumer traffic and corresponding conversions. This allows them to see where they might be experiencing a dip in their inbound volume. “If sales leadership has this data, they can expand upon it with deal-related data,” she says.
24. Add Context
Addressing consumer pain points is a commonly-used sales approach: Show customers you understand their issues and they’re more likely to buy.
The problem? Other brands also take this approach, meaning customers are often bombarded with the same messages and promises over and over again. If possible, add context to the conversation by addressing unconsidered needs; pain points that other brands may not have mentioned. Sure, your product might save money but can it also save time? Is there potential for a broader application? Could it be used to facilitate other operations? Add context to stand out from your competitors.
25. Set Up Clients for Success Now
“Remember that ‘time of purchase’ doesn’t mean ‘time of impact.'” – Michelle Benfer, Vice President of Sales, HubSpot
How long does it take for your customers to extract value from your product? One day? One month? One quarter? Michelle Benfer, HubSpot’s Vice President of Sales, recommends reps use the summer months to sell to “time of impact” rather than “time of purchase.”
Benfer explains, “Loads of businesses have their busy season at back-to-school time, fall, or pre-holiday season. Set them up for success now to ensure they get the most from your partnership when they need that impact or value.”
Shake Up Your Sales in 2022
Don’t let stale selling techniques sour your quarter or year. Infuse new life into your sales process by regularly trying out new techniques like the ones above. In doing so, you’ll grow in your role, nurture a strong sales team, improve close rates, and foster lasting connections with customers who’ll keep coming back to you.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in October 2016 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.