Sales productivity is the top challenge for almost 65% of B2B organizations, according to research from The Bridge Group. The objective of productivity is not just to increase revenue, but to improve efficiency and make the most of your sales team’s time. Research has shown that sales representatives spend as little as 41% of their time selling. Improving your sales process to eliminate unnecessary tasks will increase sales in a way that is sustainable.
Work smarter, not harder, and increase sales productivity with these tips.
Just saying “we want to increase sales” is not an effective goal. What does that really mean, and how will you get there? You need to set goals that are concrete and attainable. Writing down goals and creating a plan to achieve them will help keep your sales team focused and accountable.
Review data from the previous month, quarter or year to establish a benchmark and then set new targets within a specific time frame. Breaking the goal into realistic pieces will help keep your team motivated. Don’t forget to use staff meetings or one-on-ones to check in on progress and address any issues in meeting these goals.
"Sales reps spend as little as 41% of their time selling! Eliminate unnecessary tasks to boost productivity," says @RspnsvInbndMktg. Click To Tweet
When it comes to your leads, quality over quantity is the best strategy for increasing sales productivity and conversions, especially when you’re dealing with a longer tech sales process. You don’t want to waste time on people who are either not really interested or aren’t yet ready to buy. Make sure your company has agreed upon what makes a lead ready to talk with sales and how to tell if you already have a sales-qualified lead.
Another way to track the quality of your leads is by setting up a lead scoring strategy and making sure that leads go through a nurturing process to help move them through the sales funnel.
Automation allows you to take care of repetitive tasks so you can focus on connecting with leads and customers (and regain some of that 59% of your time spent on things other than selling). How much time do you spend updating lead information in your CRM, for example? Wouldn’t you like to have a way to streamline this process and regain that time?
Automated email campaigns and lead nurturing workflows are triggered by subscriber actions and help to move them along the path to purchase. Instead of sales contacting a lead directly to follow up with them and see if they’re ready to move forward, an email with a relevant piece of content can be sent, further educating your lead and reminding them of your company’s value. The right automation tool will save time on your efforts, and improve lead quality.
A quota isn’t everything. Tracking the right metrics is important for any tech company’s success. For sales, that might include call rate, length of the sales cycle, conversion rate and number of interactions before conversion. You will also want to understand how long it takes a lead to move through each stage of the buyer’s journey and look for ways to remove bottlenecks. Metrics help you to get a more complete picture of how your team is doing and identify areas for improvement, which will increase sales productivity overall.
An important way to increase sales productivity is by giving your team the skills and tools they need to be successful, both as a new hire and then consistently during their tenure. As a tech company, you want to be sure that your sales team can convey the value of your complex product to prospective customers, so as part of their onboarding, team members need to be adequately trained to understand both who your customer is, and how you can add value.
Sales also needs to be trained to respond to today’s savvy buyer. "Forrester suggests that buyers rate only one in 10 meetings with salespeople as worthwhile. Buyers have no interest in being pitched on standard product features and benefits. They can get all of that information online,” says Mark Gibson. Your team needs to be able to guide leads through the buying process and understand how to provide the right message to the right person at the right time.
If you aren’t already using a CRM to track the interactions your sales team has with prospective customers, you should be. A CRM gets everyone on the same page by storing information in one central place, which saves you from hunting through your inbox trying to find that person’s phone number or to see if you really did send out that email yesterday.
Plus, you will have a lead’s history at your fingertips. You won’t waste time trying to find out where your leads are in the buyer’s journey and you'll be quick to recognize the next step in the process. Use the information contained in your CRM to segment contacts and to better understand your buyer personas.
Make it a regular practice to ensure that your CRM is up to date and has accurate information; it’s of no use to sales if they can’t rely on the information it contains.