Training, talking and technology can help your bottom line
Many furniture retailers—like the rest of the retail industry—are enjoying strong sales as we head into the last quarter of 2018. Retailers are benefiting from a continually improving employment picture, growing disposable consumer income and an easy credit environment.
“The United States economy continues to power forward,” says Sophia Koropeckyj, managing director of industry economics at Moody’s Analytics, a research firm based in West Chester, Pa. “Furthermore, for the first time during the nations eight-year expansion there are no serious impediments to growth.”
Brisk tailwinds should keep the economy in full sail. “Consumers are benefiting from a strong job market, their balance sheets are healthy and credit is flowing freely,” Koropeckyj says. “A revival in corporate profitability, record stock prices and rock-bottom borrowing costs are buoying businesses.” Even the global picture is brighter. “All of the major economies are expanding in unison for the first time in a decade.”
This spending environment creates an excellent opportunity to give your store a sales boost heading into the last quarter of the year. Here are three strategies you can use to maintain—and even push—your sales higher.
Use CRM Technology Effectively
One of the most powerful sales tools in today’s retailer’s arsenal is customer relationship management software. CRM lets you spot emerging marketing trends, identify your hottest prospects and customize your sales efforts to reach individual buyers. When integrated correctly into a company’s sales processes, CRM can generate a return on investment of 245 percent, according to Forrester. Half of sales teams using CRM see productivity boosts averaging 5 percent, with revenue increasing by an average of 2 percent while labor and marketing costs also see significant decreases.
To use customer relationship management technology effectively, it’s essential to train your staff on how to get the highest and best use out of CRM tools.
One way CRM can help you improve your sales efforts is enabling you to optimize your sales team’s communication and collaboration. CRM tools provide a platform that sales managers can use to see which representatives are currently available and to pair your highest-performing reps with your best prospects.
Another important technology you can use to jump-start your sales is chatbots. Chatbots can complement your human sales force by automatically handling routine online inquiries and channeling customers who need human help to your available representatives. This speeds up wait time for your customers while reducing the workload on your sales team, enabling your representatives to spend more time focusing on customers who truly need help. Leading sales and marketing chatbots you can deploy include ManyChat, Motion.AI and SurveyBot.
Incentivize Your Sales Representatives
For your sales team to perform effectively, it’s vital for your reps to feel motivated. Harvard Business School research has found that five components go into an effective sales compensation plan that really motivates sales reps. The pay level must be set high enough to attract top talent. The balance of salary and incentives must be appealing. The plan must be carefully-designed with metrics to track performance, bonuses for representatives who exceed quotas or meet other goals, and a progressive payout structure that rewards top performers. Payout periods should be short to motivate low performers. Finally, non-monetary incentives such as contests and recognition programs can also help motivate your team.
In addition to monetary incentives, sales representatives require regular training to stay motivated. Scheduling regular skills training to upgrade sales knowledge and regular motivational training to keep your team pumped up will help your sales representatives perform at their best.
Using CRM technology effectively, optimizing your communication and collaboration, and incentivizing your sales representatives are three strategies you can use to jump-start your sales. Putting these strategies into effect will help your sales team reach more buyers, convert more opportunities and make more furniture sales.