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Conduct regular sales audits to continuously improve sales performance

Shanece Grant
01/30/2023

Sales are a critical component of any business, as they represent the revenue that allows a business to operate and grow. By identifying and addressing any issues or challenges that may be impacting sales, businesses can mitigate risk and ensure that they are putting their best foot forward in terms of generating revenue.

But why bother with a sales audit at all? Well, let's consider the alternative: continuing with business as usual, blindly trusting that everything is running smoothly and that your sales team is operating at its full potential. Not only is this a risky approach, but it's also a missed opportunity. By conducting regular sales audits, you can uncover hidden problems, discover untapped potential, and continuously optimize your sales process.

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Leaders who consistently achieve strong results in their industries have a common habit: they regularly evaluate their sales capabilities in comparison to their competitors and in relation to global standards of excellence to identify opportunities for significant improvement. Yet, a large majority (81%) of sales teams do not regularly review and assess their sales processes.

Types of Audits

Audits are a crucial part of the business world, allowing companies to assess and improve various aspects of their operations. There are several different types of audits, each with its specific focus and goals.

  • External audits: External audits are conducted by an independent third party, such as an accounting firm, and are typically focused on the accuracy and reliability of a company's financial statements.
  • Internal audits: Internal audits are conducted by a company's internal audit department or an external firm hired by the company. They focus on evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of a company's internal controls, processes, and systems.
  • IRS audits: IRS audits are conducted by the Internal Revenue Service, the federal government agency responsible for tax collection in the United States. These audits focus on determining whether a company is in compliance with tax laws and paying the appropriate amount of taxes. Public companies may also be subject to IRS audits due to their high level of public scrutiny and the importance of ensuring compliance with tax laws. When completing the tax return, it is important to provide all necessary details in order to accurately represent the sales performance of the company. If required, a hard copy of the tax return may also need to be filed with the government.

It's worth noting that there are many other types of audits beyond these three main categories. For example, sales audits, which focus on evaluating and improving a company's sales process. Overall, a sales audit can help a taxpayer identify areas for improvement and make targeted changes that will help the business succeed.

By regularly conducting sales audits, companies can identify best practices and optimize their sales process to increase efficiency and effectiveness.

Why Should You Audit Your Sales, Marketing, And CRM System?

57% of sales pros spend 3–10+ hours per week using CRM tools. Auditing your sales, marketing, and CRM system is crucial for identifying and addressing issues that may be impacting your sales performance, customer satisfaction, and profitability. By analyzing data and identifying best practices during an audit, businesses can implement strategies and tactics that lead to improved sales performance, increased profitability, and enhanced customer satisfaction. Additionally, conducting regular audits can help businesses maintain a competitive edge in their market and optimize their operations for the long term.

When conducting a sales, marketing, and CRM audit, it is important to have a clear audit plan that outlines the audit's scope and objectives and the audit procedures that will be used. The audit plan should also include a schedule for when the audit will be conducted and who will be responsible for each audit aspect. To ensure that the audit is comprehensive and thorough, it is important to follow established audit procedures and requirements, such as those outlined by relevant laws, regulations, or industry standards.

Auditing marketing and sales leads can ensure that both teams are working towards the same goals and objectives.

When marketing and sales are aligned, there is a clear understanding of the target customer, the messaging and positioning of the product or service, and the sales process. This helps to ensure that the right marketing efforts are being used to attract and engage the target audience and that the sales team is equipped with the right tools and information to close deals effectively. 87% of sales and marketing leaders say collaboration between sales and marketing enables critical business growth.

What Is A Sales Audit?

A sales audit is essentially a thorough evaluation of your sales process, from start to finish. It's a way to identify what's working well, what could be improved, and how to make those improvements.

Here are some steps you can follow to conduct a sales audit:

1. Set clear goals and objectives: Determine what you want to achieve through the audit. Do you want to improve sales performance, identify areas for growth, or streamline sales processes? Setting clear goals and objectives will help you focus your audit and identify areas of improvement.

2. Gather and organize data and information: To conduct a thorough audit, you'll need to gather a wide range of data and information, including sales figures, customer demographics, market trends, and sales processes. Review a variety of documents as part of the audit, such as sales and marketing materials, customer data, and CRM system logs. Organize this information in a way that makes it easy to analyze and draw conclusions from.

3. Assess the current state of sales performance: Once you have all the relevant data and information, it's time to start analyzing it. Look for patterns and trends in the data, and identify areas where sales performance is strong and areas where it could be improved. Consider reviewing a representative sample of transactions and returned items to identify any issues or challenges that may be impacting sales performance.

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4. Identify areas for improvement and set actionable goals: Based on your analysis of the data, identify specific areas where improvements can be made. Set actionable goals for each area, such as increasing the conversion rate of leads to customers or reducing the time it takes to close a sale.

5. Implement changes and track progress: Once you have identified areas for improvement and set actionable goals, it's time to put your plan into action. Implement the changes you've identified, and track your progress to see if you are meeting your goals.

What A Sales Audit Involves

  • Reviewing sales processes and procedures: This includes everything from lead generation to closing the sale. Are your processes clear, efficient, and effective?
  • Evaluating sales team performance: How are your sales reps doing? Are they hitting their targets or falling short? Are they using the best tactics and strategies to close deals?
  • Analyzing sales data and metrics: What does the data tell you about your sales performance? Are there any trends or patterns that can help you optimize your process?
  • Customer feedback and satisfaction: What are your customers saying about your sales process? Are they happy with the experience, or are there areas for improvement?
  • Identifying strengths and weaknesses: This is where you take a comprehensive look at your sales process and pinpoint the areas that are working well and those that could use some attention.

As you can see, a sales audit is a multi-faceted process that involves looking at every aspect of your sales operation. By regularly conducting sales audits, you can ensure that your sales team is operating at its best. In addition, you can ensure that your sales strategies are as efficient and effective as possible.

The Benefits of Sales Audits for Businesses

Sales audits are a powerful tool for businesses because they can help identify areas for improvement in the sales process and ultimately lead to increased sales and revenue. Here are a few specific ways that sales audits can benefit businesses:

  • Improved efficiency: Sales audits can help identify inefficiencies in the sales process, such as bottlenecks or unnecessary steps, which can be addressed to improve efficiency and increase productivity. Sales executives spend only 35.2% of their time on selling-related functions. The rest of the time is spent on data entry, meetings, etc.
  • Enhanced performance: By analyzing data and identifying best practices during a sales audit, businesses can implement strategies and tactics that lead to improved sales performance.
  • Increased profitability: By identifying and addressing issues impacting sales, businesses can increase their profitability by generating more revenue and lowering costs.
  • Better customer service: Sales audits can help identify areas where customer service can be improved, leading to more satisfied customers and potentially increased sales.
  • Increased competitiveness: By continually improving the sales process through regular sales audits, businesses can maintain a competitive edge in their market.

Over 50% of successful sales teams have a 12-month view of their plans, while 10% map out the next three years. While many companies conduct sales audits on a yearly basis, they also have the option of conducting quarterly sales audits. The benefits of conducting quarterly sales audits include:

  • Timely feedback: By conducting audits on a quarterly basis, businesses can get regular feedback on their sales performance and identify any issues or challenges more quickly.
  • Increased flexibility: Quarterly audits provide more flexibility in terms of making changes to the sales process. Businesses then have the ability to make quick adjustments and see improvements in a shorter time span.
  • Greater visibility: Because the audit period is shorter, businesses get access to a more real-time view of their sales performance. As a result, they can identify trends and patterns that may be less visible over the course of a year.

The Role of Auditors And Audit Committees In A Sales Audit

In a sales audit, it is important to have qualified individuals or teams conducting the audit. These individuals, often referred to as auditors or audit managers, should have a deep understanding of sales processes and be able to evaluate the effectiveness of the current sales process objectively.

Depending on the size and complexity of the organization, an audit committee may also be involved in the sales audit process. This committee is responsible for overseeing the audit and ensuring that all relevant information is collected and analyzed.

The audit process itself typically involves a thorough review of all relevant sales data, as well as interviews with sales team members, management, and customers. Based on this analysis, the audit team will make recommendations for improvements to the sales process. These recommendations should be actionable and specific and should aim to optimize the sales process for maximum efficiency and effectiveness.

Sales Audit Best Practices

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There are several best practices to consider when conducting a sales audit:

  • Involve the entire sales team: It is important to involve the entire sales team in the audit process, as they can provide valuable insights and perspectives on the sales process. If the business has multiple retail stores, consider conducting audits at a representative sample of stores to ensure that the findings are representative of the overall sales process.
  • Seek input from different departments and stakeholders: In order to get a comprehensive view of the sales process, it is important to seek input from different departments and stakeholders, such as marketing, customer service, and finance. For example, it's best to engage with retailers, store staff, and management if the audit is being conducted at a retail store.
  • Address human error: If the audit identifies issues related to human error, consider implementing procedures or training to help reduce the risk of errors in the future.
  • Stay objective and open-minded: It is important to approach the audit with an objective and open-minded attitude, as this will help ensure that all relevant information is considered and that the audit is unbiased.
  • Use data and analytics: Use data and analytics to inform decisions during the audit, as this can provide valuable insights and help identify trends and patterns that may not be immediately apparent.
  • Consider penalties: If the audit identifies issues related to sales tax or other regulatory matters, consider the potential impact of penalties and take appropriate action to address any issues. When conducting a sales audit, it is also important to consider the tax year and any relevant tax laws or regulations. This is especially important for organizations that are required to pay taxes on their sales revenue.
  • Document findings: Document the findings of the audit clearly and accurately to ensure that the information is understood and can be acted upon.
  • Keep the audit focused and actionable: It is important to keep the audit focused and actionable, as this will help ensure that the findings and recommendations of the audit are relevant and can be effectively implemented. Hold an exit conference at the end of the audit to review the findings and recommendations with relevant parties and discuss any action steps that need to be taken in response to the audit.

Conclusion

Conducting regular sales audits is a crucial step in continuously improving sales performance. By analyzing and evaluating past sales data and techniques, businesses can identify areas for improvement and make informed decisions about how to optimize their sales strategy. This proactive approach can help organizations stay ahead of the curve and maintain a competitive edge in an increasingly dynamic market.

Let Us Do The Heavy Lifting

If you want to take your sales performance to the next level, it's time to integrate regular sales audits within your business strategy. The process can seem intimidating at first, but with a little guidance and some careful planning, it's easier than you might think.

If you need help getting started, talk to a growth expert at gardenpatch to learn how you can improve your sales performance and drive your business forward.

 

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