Today, companies all over the world invest in their sales teams, setting more aggressive sales strategies. But without scaling their business processes, implementing the best sales practices, and using effective sales tools, they won’t achieve great results.
You don’t need to spend a fortune or coach your salesmen 24/7 to increase their productivity. The best ideas are those that help reduce the administrative burden and increase the time spent on field sales or on the phone.
1. What is Sales Productivity?
Increasing your sales reps’ productivity (and their value to the company) involves growing sales results (close more deals) while cutting your spending (spend less time and money on that).
There are many proven ways that will help take your reps to the next level.
2. Proven ways to increase sales productivity
2.1. Provide your reps with good training
Sales coaching increases productivity by more than 80%, but less than 30% are ready to spend more than 5% of their working time coaching. Keep in mind that just 3 hours a month helps to grow revenue by more than 20% and boost close rates by more than 65%.
Effective onboarding helps increase reps’ productivity before they even make their first sale.
And quality training helps to quickly get your new reps up to the speed without overstressing them. You can use online training software with information libraries, video lessons, testing capabilities to help your salespeople learn much faster, become more confident and successful.
It will help a lot if your reps will spend half an hour a day reading useful specialized resources – for example, they can spend their free time browsing the Revenue Garage – a young, but very promising and meaningful blog for salespeople, where they can find many expert opinions on the sales industry.
2.2. Give them effective modern tools
Less than 30% of an average salesperson’s time is devoted to core selling activities; the other 70% of their day they are focused on actions that do not add any value to advance deals or prospects.
Automation perfectly solves this problem, helping sales reps get back to their primary responsibilities and effectively do their jobs. According to various studies, companies that implement marketing automation solutions to nurture prospects experience a 450% boost in qualified leads.
Provide your reps with modern tools that will help them do their job and keep them one step ahead of the competition:
- Sales playbook allows you to eliminate guesswork by using advanced analytics and get sales guidelines to follow.
- Predictive lead scoring helps to prioritize leads and close more deals.
- CRM, integrated with sales enablement platforms is a must-have set of tools for collecting crucial data (including data from third-party sources).
- Sales asset management tools help to improve the quality of business presentations (it makes it easier to search for relevant information and customize and personalize the presentation itself).
Top advanced sales enablement platforms, such as Revenue Grid, can help you lead your sales teams to repeatable revenue. It’s an AI-powered Guided Selling platform that covers the full sales cycle from getting the first touch to closing and upselling, allowing to easily analyze, execute and lead the company’s growth strategy.
Revenue Grid includes three features:
- Revenue Engage (Sales Sequences);
- Revenue Inbox (CRM and Email integration);
- Revenue Guide (Pipeline Analytics and Guided Selling).
2.3. Define the type of structure of your sales team
This will help you to figure out the best team strategy for achieving the best results.
The most common team structures are centralized (when one person (or a small “root” team) is at the head of most outbound sales efforts and is not responsible for identifying target customers and leads) and decentralized (when each salesperson is responsible for generating a funnel, which includes the entire cycle: from finding new leads to signing a contract).
You can always combine the two models for the best results. For example, you can use a decentralized model for one market segment and a centralized one for another.
2.4. Effectively advance your prospects with value
Adding extra value to the sales conversation with the help of the relevant content and insights helps to move your prospects through the sales cycle.
To do this, your reps need to know what arguments they should use to make the conversation more productive. Sales enablement tools can help you to recommend messaging and content that are based on certain sales situations, saving reps’ time and allowing them to close more deals.
2.5. Evaluate and re-evaluate your sales processes
Companies that follow a proven workflow are 30% more likely to become high-performing organizations.
Re-evaluating your processes at the beginning of each quarter is a good idea: every stage of your sales process should be intentional and relate to your main business goals. Try to analyze, are your prior efficiency efforts still effective, what areas require changes most, etc.
2.6. Establish lead qualification/scoring framework
You don’t want your salespeople to work unqualified, poor quality leads. Therefore, you should use a scoring framework, a methodology that helps you to decide the worthiness of your current leads based on their interest in your offer.
As a result, you will get the value index that will be individual for each company.
2.7. Prospect/account research
If your sales reps’ area of responsibility includes creating their processes when it comes to studying prospects, then it is a good idea to make this process standardized. This will help you to simplify the discovery stage and make sure that your reps are collecting the right data faster.
For example, the process of collecting information can consist of three steps:
- learning about the organization (size, product range, employees, and so on);
- checking their website and learning more about their mission (this involves researching their LinkedIn accounts, running a Google search, etc);
- figuring out their pains will help you to make an educated guess of what they really need.
2.8. Keep your reps motivated
Correct financial motivation: for example, you can reward your call managers for fulfilling the call plan and getting the certain number of leads. Flexible interest rate works wonders.
Non-material motivation: try rewarding the best guys with small presents, set a bonus for the best results of the month, or let the leader give a lecture to his colleagues. Grade quality and reward excellence. Your job is to show that you notice great results and respect your colleagues for their hard work and skills.
2.9. Encourage competition
Salesmen are competitive by their nature, so that’s a perfect idea to encourage good rivalry and increase productivity, boosting sales.
2.10. Use analytics to always keep developing
If the team doesn’t regularly track its productivity, then it won’t have any consistent improvements.
Figure out the most important metrics (call and win rates, pipeline conversion rate, sales cycle length, etc.) and use the best sales enablement platforms to provide you these insights. The platform’s dashboards will help to clearly visualize trends and get some crucial insights into sales team activity (and the activity of each of your reps).
This will allow you to figure out what helps top performers stay successful, and what suppresses the potential of under-performers.
2.11. Pay attention to short and long term planning
Plans allow you to see and evaluate how the team is coping with the assigned tasks, and improve the efficiency of the sales team.
Proper planning implies setting the detailed and realistic goals:
- having detailed plans means formulating plans for existing and prospective new customers for the entire year, and then detailing them by half-year, quarter, month and week;
- keeping your plans realistic means that they should be based on the financial and human resources available to the company.
When the selling process goes according to a plan, it is easier to control it. For example, the company’s goal is to earn 35 million; the organization plans to receive 11 of them in the first quarter, next 6 — in the second quarter, next 3 — in the third quarter and next 15 — in the fourth quarter. The plans should always be realistic: you see that less is planned for the second and third quarters due to the seasonal decline in sales during these periods.
Planning and thus improving the efficiency of the sales team is much easier if the company provides regular reporting.