The Best Strategies to Increase Sales Productivity
Sales productivity: learning to be a more productive salesperson is an ongoing process. You want to effectively reach new leads, qualify your leads, and convert them – and you don’t want to waste time doing it. There are plenty of tips out there to help increase sales productivity, but with too much information, you might not be sure where to start.
Common Sales Productivity Issues
Sales professionals face an overwhelming number of obstacles preventing them from operating at peak efficiency. Before understanding how to coach and structure your sales team to achieve optimal levels of productivity, it’s important to recognize and understand the most significant factors standing in the way of reaching greatness.
- Lack of clarity on goals and sales targets
- Inconsistent sales strategies and processes
- Lack of communication from top to bottom
- Unharmonious tech that slows down processes and creates more work
- Large amounts of turnover and constant change
- Lack of alignment and communication between sales, marketing and operations
- Evolving dynamics in the sales funnel
This list could go on forever. The factors that prohibit salespeople from taking advantage of their entire work day can be big or small. Regardless of severity only one thing is for sure, every member on your sales team will encounter several of these challenges. In a landscape that’s more competitive than ever, the margin for error is slim to none.
10 Sales Productivity Tips to Improve Results
With such a large number of hurdles standing in the way of an efficient sales team, there are a few key tips that serve as the foundational building blocks to help increase sales productivity. Some may be staring you right in the face while others aren’t necessarily on the surface.
1. Refine your prospecting process
An inefficient, ineffective prospecting process can cost businesses millions of dollars in lost revenue each year. On the other hand, companies that follow a defined workflow are 33% more likely to be high performers. But to make a new process effective, you must first determine what works and what doesn’t about your existing process. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the current workflow? Where are the gaps or roadblocks in the prospecting process? Where does communication tend to breakdown? Where might you need to reallocate resources?
You can’t just become productive overnight. Once you have established a consistent process, you should always be looking for ways to improve it, continually integrating optimized processes into your workflow. The beginning of each new quarter is a good time to re-evaluate your procedures and look for areas to adjust and fine-tune. Are your prior productivity efforts and adjustments to the workflow still effective? Are there other areas where you could make a change? Every step in the prospecting process should be intentional and relate directly to your goals and add value to your day. Be sure to tie back every decision that you make to your end goal.
2. Follow the 80/20 rule
The 80-20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle, is an aphorism which asserts that 80% of outcomes (or outputs) result from 20% of all causes (or inputs) for any given event. In business, a goal of the 80-20 rule is to identify inputs that are potentially the most productive and make them the priority. For instance, once managers identify factors that are critical to their company’s success, they should give those factors the most focus.
That isn’t to say you should come into work only one day a week, give it a fair 20% shot, and leave. No, the Pareto Principle isn’t suggesting you work less. It has nothing to do with time, but productivity. Instead, figure out what your most impactful tasks are, and adjust your workflow to spend 80% of your time doing those.
3. Create (and stay focused on) clear goals
Every salesperson needs a plan for where they’re going and by when. Your sales performance will, in nearly all cases, play a very strong role in these goals. So once you have analyzed your process thoroughly and set some goals, it’s time to figure out how best to achieve them.
In the end, you should have a list of strategic and actionable steps in front of you, that will help you achieve your overall sales goals. It could be a short list, or a long list – it doesn’t matter. What is important is that you now have a clear path towards reaching your goals.
4. Treat calls like face-to-face meetings
The best sales reps take calls seriously. When you don’t need to actually meet people in person, it’s easy to take a relaxed approach to calls. Colleen Francis of Engage Selling argues that this is a mistake that can hurt sales efficiency:
“Treat telephone calls the same way you would a face to face meeting with a client. Block the time in your calendar, put your phone on DND, turn off your email, cell phone and any social media websites, and close your office door. Institutionalizing focus will result in more work done at a much higher quality level.”
When you’re on a call, drop everything. Don’t be handling some administrative task on the side. Don’t zone out thinking of lunch. Stay focused on your discovery questions. Focus on your follow-up questions. Be ready to push for the close, or to move the deal along to the next stage of your pipeline.
5. Make your software and systems work for you
Any sales team needs tools and software to succeed. It’s your task to give them an opportunity to use tools that enable them to do their job effectively and efficiently, but it’s often much more than sales software. For example, if your team has sales software, it might not be enough to give them all the data they need to understand customers’ needs.
That’s where Ebsta’s suite of tools come in, and they can be especially useful to support decisions and improve the ability of team members to build relationships with leads and clients.
6. Use automated lead scoring
Leads are not created equal. Some are ready to buy right now, some will likely be ready soon, and some are just entering the funnel. Lead scoring makes it easy to sort out the hot from the not. A good lead scoring system watches for communication signals, increasing sale’s ability to pass qualified leads through the funnel, and helps the team focus time and effort on the most likely buyers.
Not sure which leads are best, or simply looking to save time? Ebsta’s Engagement Scoring gives great visibility to parse through thousands of data points in order to identify your best leads, so you don’t have to. The best part: it analyses email signatures to find the latest job titles, phone numbers, mobile numbers and social profiles to keep your records up-to-date.
7. Employ templates
During peak sales periods, it can feel impossible to answers all the emails in your inbox. On average, a business professional will send 124 emails each day. If you work an average of 8 hours a day, that is over 15 emails an hour which means you have 4 minutes to process the email, take action, and move onto the next before falling behind. How is a busy sales professional supposed to keep up? By letting technology do some of the heavy lifting and using email templates for sales. Using email templates saves you time and allows you to increase your number of outreaches.
8. Don’t forget the follow up
It’s easy to focus on the initial contact. The first meeting. The email you’ve sent to someone important. You reach out to someone and then feel good about yourself. You’ve done your job, you’ve pitched and reached out. You’ve asked for a meeting/call/etc. Now all you have to do is sit around and wait for them to respond. Most people will contact someone once, and then wait around for that person to get back to them. That’s the completely wrong approach.
Follow-up is crazy effective. But to make it work you need a follow up system. This can easily be automated in the CRM system with Ebsta cadences. This unique feature allows users to create a personalized workflow, ensuring that every action triggers follow up steps and tasks.
9. Leverage the power of referrals
If you’re not leveraging your existing customers, you’re losing out on a low cost source of new business. Here are eight ways you can sell more to your current customers.
For many of us – especially those in service businesses – our existing and previous customers are vital for three reasons:
1. They have already bought from us, so providing they had a good experience, they might buy from us again. We also know that getting a new customer is much more expensive than selling to an existing customer, so by continuing to sell to them, we are really saving ourselves some money.
2. They can give us invaluable feedback on how we did. Was our service good enough? Did we delight them or were we ‘just ok’. Did our product meet their expectations? Was it good value for money? And so on.
3. They continue to save us money because they should be our major source of referrals and new business. So through them, we get access to new clients who already know about us and have a positive opinion of what we do.
Most businesses do not leverage their existing customer database, and by not doing so, are losing out on a cost effective source of potential new business.
10. Maintain a positive attitude
How would you like to be completely in control of your sales outcomes? In actuality you are, especially if you have a great attitude. Psychologists and social scientists have often noted the impact of the “self fulfilling prophecy.” If you have a great attitude towards your sales activities, believe that you can achieve your goals, and take steps to make sure that those goals happen, your sales will follow the trajectory that you have set.
There are many other ways that a great attitude can influence, support, and increase your sales. However, the simplest way to see what a difference a great attitude makes in sales may be simply to look at the top sales performers and sales executives you most admire. Emulate the great attitudes that these sales professionals exhibit and you can create the same results for yourself.
Need Help Increasing Your Sales Productivity?
Productivity is a key part of your day–and with these important tips, you can improve your overall productivity and make it easier to meet your performance goals, connect with qualified leads, and better understand the needs of your customers.
We just so happen to have made the ultimate sales productivity tool…it’s called Ebsta Inbox and you can claim a free trial here.