In my work with companies to overcome their challenges to growth, I find the one area they struggle with the most is getting a handle on their sales. Until you understand how you generate sales, you can’t plan and grow your company effectively.

In order to grow your sales, there are some key areas you must address:

1–Gathering the Right Intelligence

Building an effective sales process requires gathering the right information on your prospects. This can be a challenge if you are a startup and you have a small sales team. To be productive the right prospecting tools are worth the investment.

Consider a platform like SalesLoft or SalesGenie. These prospecting tools automate list building through the power of social networks and other third party sources and they can sync contact information directly to your CRM enhancing your overall sales success.

2–Taking Advantage of Automation

Once the sales process is in full swing, rely on marketing automation tools that both reach out to your customers on a regular basis and remind your sales staff when it’s time to follow-up. Rule of thumb is that it takes 7 times for a customer to remember you or your company, and more than 17 times to decide they want to make a purchase.

SalesLoft Cadence and Act-On can be used to automate your team’s sales activity creating an effective rhythm to increase overall sales productivity.

3–Scaling When It Counts

When it’s time to scale up, it may not make sense to hire multiple full-time sales staff. You may only need to supplement your team for a specific campaign or new product push.

You can consider outsourcing sales to an execution firm like N3. These firmscan quickly ramp up and begin qualifying leads, nurturing prospects, or taking complete end-to-end control of the sales process. The great part is they use a performance-based model that calculates fees based on results.

4–Providing Visibility

The sales funnel is crucial component to cash flow and the future of your business. Once you add more individuals in your sales team, you need a way to easily manage the sales process.

pipedrive and Zoho are cloud based platforms that provide anyone on your team with the insight they need to help close the next deal. These platforms provide an easy way to track a large pool of leads and prospects as well as the short-listed pool of likely customers in order to effectively monitor and understand potential business.

5–Improving Effectiveness

Once your sales team does pick up the phone, how effective are they in moving a customer along the sales process? Telephony technology has improved at the small and medium business level, providing enterprise level integrations that were previously only available to larger companies.

CallRail, for example, maps call recording with online ad spend to optimize your dollars spent and provides access to these metrics inside your existing CRM, accounting or marketing automation platforms. This visibility provides your marketing team with the fullest possible picture of customer and lead generation data.

6–Implementing Accountability

The most important step to improving and understanding your sales is implementing regular accountability.

Make sure your sales team is creating a weekly plan and reporting on their prior week’s progress. Issues with your sales approach need to be addressed and corrected quickly to keep your company on course.