Quick question; what’s your sales process look like right now? If you’ve already started answering, you’re on the right track. Research shows that almost 70% of sales reps don’t even have a sales process. Not only does having a sales process improve revenue and efficiency on all accounts, it also improves sales productivity substantially. For any manager, focusing on sales productivity is the key to remaining successful and competitive. This productivity is measured by the rate at which a rep can increases revenue from sales.
If we lived in an ideal world, managers could just tell their sales teams to be more productive and presto! Unfortunately, the real world is a tad more complex than that. Sales managers have to track the reps, identify problem areas and effect the necessary changes. All while spending more time actually selling. Below are 7 simple strategies sales leaders can use to improve sales productivity and allow their teams to sell faster, smarter and better.
How to Improve Sales Productivity
1. Build you very own A-team
You can’t really achieve any sales without a reliable and credible sales team behind you now, can you? Every company needs to have an effective, trained team of sales professionals. And not just any old group of vagrants. But a well, oiled rockstar team that checks all the right boxes i.e talent, hard work, and creativity.
Obviously, this means scouting for new talent or head hunting employees from your competition. However, there are a few things to consider even as you assemble your sales Avengers. Firstly, don’t hire more reps that you really need. Keep it at par with your company size. And secondly, avoid hiring a jack of all trades. Employing an amateurish rep who seems to have every skill on their resume may seem attractive at first. But you’ll quickly find that what you need is someone who’s mastered their job perfectly.
2. Invest in training, upskilling, and on-boarding
The basis for a solid sales team starts with good training and on-boarding. These elements present the opportunity to impact the future productivity of your team before they even make their first sale. Thanks to tech enabled on-boarding, reps can be fully up to speed from the moment they start.
With effective training, you can get your reps updated quickly without overwhelming them. Using avenues like training videos, lessons, informative libraries and others will help your team learn faster and more effectively. This way, sales managers create reps who are both well equipped with knowledge and fully confident in their abilities.
3. It’s all about high quality leads
When they’re not selling, all reps are busy either generating as many leads as possible or following up on them. But the real question is; just how likely are these leads to convert? Is their focus based on quality or quantity? For example, you could be selling high end, luxury footwear. However, your email list comprises mainly of often broke college kids who have a million priorities over buying luxury shoes. It goes without saying that you’ll get as many cold leads as your email list is long.
It’s therefore clear that the quality of lead generation should always trump quantity. A recent report shows that 25% of all leads are actually legitimate sales just waiting to happen. So, how can you increase sales productivity in this case? Simple – by building an ideal customer profile to help identify exactly who your target market is. This will help your team narrow down the lead generation process and only go after prospects with potential long term benefits. Otherwise, you’ll be like a dog chasing its own tail in circles all day.
4. Automate the sales process
Did you know that any time spent by your reps on repetitive, unproductive tasks like data entry is time spent not selling? This means that your company could be losing a hefty sum on lost revenue and missed sales once the wasted hours accumulate. To increase sales productivity, managers need to find ways to cut out extra manual work.
This is easily achievable by automating the sales process with the help of CRMs like Salesforce and efficient add-ons such as Veloxy. These will help reduce or completely eliminate mundane administrative tasks like data entry and add trigger events like automated follow up emails. In turn, this will allow your team to save time and get back to selling quicker.
5. Measure key metrics for Sales Productivity
Measuring sales is easy – all you have to do is count the revenue and paperflow which are always a good sign of success. Measuring selling on the other hand is a whole different ballgame. It’s this failure to track gains and results that causes many organizations to consistently fail to improve sales productivity.
Aside from just the performance metrics, sales leaders should consider productivity metrics as well. These are things like call rate, sales cycle length, software adoption rates, pipeline conversion rates, and win rates. These metrics will show how productive a rep is and reveal both strengths and weaknesses. Always know where you stand in regards to your sales funnel; knowing the process in and out will be a big factor to improving sales productivity.
6. Invest in technology and the proper tools
Did you know that you could tackle majority of the sales process without technology? However, you’ll be highly inefficient and still lagging behind with very little improvement. Taking advantage of new sales technologies and AI powered CRM is what smart sales leaders are doing.
So unless you want your company to fall behind into oblivion, you’ll have to grow with the technology. Other sales productivity tools that could come in handy include automation and data analysis tools. Proper and speedy collection of data can quickly uncover new opportunities for improvement.
7. Motivate and appreciate your team
Engaged and motivated team members will always be more productive than when there’s no recognition or reward in it for them. In Dale Carnegie’s book “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, he tells the story of Schwab Charles – the one-time president of the US steel company.
Charles attributed his success to an innate ability to motivate and not criticize people. He believed he could get more productivity and effort through approval and other positive reinforcement techniques. This, as opposed to scare em’ strategies like sackings, suspensions, pay cuts, penalties and all that. But as many companies have now come to realize, incentives and proper motivation are incredibly important – not only for increasing the sales productivity, but also fostering a sense of friendly competition among the ranks which is always great in the sales business.
8: One on One Sales Productivity Coaching
Sales managers are incredibly busy. This makes it almost impossible to stay on top of every single thing in their to-do lists. More often than not, one on one sessions tend to slip through the cracks. However, this needs to change if you want to help your sales team hit peak performance. Research shows that routine coaching is crucial to your team becoming more confident, productive, and skilled in sales.
Companies that provide solid coaching have reported a 17% growth in their annual revenue. Your team will be better prepared to deal with tough predicaments if they are properly coached through a variety of customer interactions. Similarly, one on one coaching will help your reps feel confident in their approach to sales with input from an expert. And if you can’t find time for routine, one on one coaching sessions, then try to provide regular input at the very least.
9: Understand your Sales Teams Differences
While most successful sales persons have similar traits and characteristics, that doesn’t mean that they are carbon copies of each other. Your sales reps will have different learning styles, personalities, and coaching preferences. So do not try to teach or coach them all the same way.
Instead, try to take each individual personality into account and adjust your management strategy. This is sure to enhance the chances of each rep performing to their fullest potential. There are also loads of tools that can provide assistance in better understanding your teams personalities and preferences.
10: Identify Barriers to your Sales Team’s Success
Incidentally, your sales teams could be struggling to overcome some obstacles that may be keeping them from achieving their goals. As a sales manager, it’s your job to identify the barriers and help overcome them. One of these barriers is the fear of being rejected. Rejection is always a factor, your teams need to change their perspective on it. You could provide your teams with scripts that address common concerns for rejection so they can prepare solid responses.
Another obstacle to your sales productivity could be poor communication skills. The trick here is really simple. Instead of your sales reps doing all the talking, have them practice listening more. This skill makes phone calls more like conversations and less like pitches. This way, you can build longer lasting relationships.
11: Stay Ahead of the Sales Productivity Curve
Here’s one of the most effective sales management strategies that you could implement. Just like how your sales reps should anticipate customer objections, you want to anticipate potential issues that could arise within your team and address them before they turn problematic.
The best way to get your sales teams off to a promising start is hiring the strongest sales teas possible. This minimizes the chances of bad hires slowing down the progress of your entire team. From here, you want to provide the new team with the proper coaching and teaching so they know what to do straight out the gate. Ideally, you don’t want to wait until they show signs of struggle before you can help them. Anticipate the issues and coach your reps early to stay ahead of the curve.
12: Know Thy Enemies (Competitors)
A great sales rep not only knows their company’s products and services inside out, they’re also aware of what the competitors are offering. One of the most efficient ways to do this is to have your sales teams complete a SWOT analysis. This simply means learning the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to your company. With this analysis, your reps will be equipped to handle nearly any situation that comes their way.
Customers always want to know what makes you different or stand out from the competition. As such, your sales teams need to be prepared with a solid response. By knowing your competition, your sales reps can anticipate objections the customer may have to the product or service. They’ll also know how to sell your company’s product much better.
13: Understand your Ideal Customer
No matter what product or service you’re delivering, you have to know the primary drivers of revenue for your company. In fact, one of the best practices for boosting sales productivity is focusing on the customers who generate the most value for your business. Similarly, it’s of the utmost importance to make sure your marketing department is working closely with your sales team to point out your ideal customer profile.
For instance, you want marketing to target high end consumers if you sell a high value product. When sales and marketing have related and shared data about your best customers, your selling time becomes that much more optimized with more productive results. You can check out our post on how to identify buyer personas for your business.
14: Sweat the Small Stuff
Once your sales team is trained, you need to regularly check on them and pay attention to their numbers so you can start to notice trends. Any negative trends with particular individuals needs to be addressed, no matter how small. After all, this could be a hefty indication that some part of your sales process could use improvement.
For instance, let’s assume one or two of your sales reps have a bad week. They could be just down on their luck, or maybe they aren’t using their skills the right way to close deals. Sure, one week may seem dismal in the larger scope of things. But a few of these weeks strung together could mean major business loss if the issue is not addressed earlier on. Doing this is important; not just for the individual rep, but also for the company as a whole. Your team could be having more trouble with sales calls than you previously thought. Address the problem quick before things escalate and spin out of control.
Conclusion on Improving Sales Productivity
There’s nothing shorter in this world than one business day; barely feels like 8 hours. It’s up to all business leaders and managers to ensure the entire team makes the most of this time. At the same breath, you just don’t amp up your productivity to 100 overnight – it’s a steady, step by step process that you work towards.
And one of the most critical steps towards maximizing your team’s sales productivity and performance is getting the right tools and technology for the job. Getting kitted with the world’s #1 CRM (Salesforce) and the smartest AI powered plugin (Veloxy) will make all the difference in the long run.
With Veloxy Mobile, sales leaders can help their reps save time, stay right on top of their current task and get the right data for their next task thanks to an AI powered system. And for those with Gmail or Outlook as their corporate email, Veloxy Engage puts all Salesforce data right in your email interface and helps create CAN-SPAM compliant personalized email templates.