In order to increase sales productivity, the proper tools must be implemented. It is suggested that the greatest way to increase productivity is by automation and providing structure to follow to reduce downtime.
A study carried out by The Bridge Group in 2015 showed that sales productivity is the #1 challenge for 65% of B2B companies
As a consequence, optimizing this productivity should be a major focus of attention for every company: the effectiveness, responsiveness and productivity of the sales team have a direct and significant impact on revenues
Below I am going to provide 8 examples on how you can increase your teams sales productivity. If you are interested in learning how to build a sales team, I suggest reading this article on Building a Successful Sales Team.
Increasing Sales Productivity
1. Batch admin work
Don’t get in the habit of making a call, leaving a voicemail, then disrupting your phone time to record the conversation in CRM, send a follow-up email, etc. Batch work items together to get and keep yourself in a groove. For example, make 10 calls all at once. Keep notes on a pad of paper for any unique follow-ups. Then do all of your CRM and follow-up work at once. This batching of activities is proven to be faster and more efficient than doing everything in a linear sequence over and over and over again.
2. Automate parallel or redundant tasks
For example, every Salesforce.com user has a unique email address assigned to them. If you blind-copy yourself with that email address on any outbound email to a customer or prospect, it’ll automatically record that email as an activity in the contact or lead’s record. No need to go in and mark that separately. Anywhere you can automate activity on parallel tracks, you save steps and save time.
3. Automate buying signal & trigger event alerts
Driving efficiency on your floor is about more than cutting or eliminating steps & tasks. It’s also driven by automating the filtering, highlighting and execution of prospect touch-points that are more likely to generate a response & conversation. Every day, there are buying signals and trigger events among your prospects & customers worth following up on. But rather than search through your social channels for hours on end, set up a series of alerts via LinkedIn.
Newsle was another tool until it was acquired by Linkedin in 2014. Now its integrated into Sales Navigator. OFunnel by Fill the Funnel, works like Google Alerts, bring alerts right to your inbox. Dedicate time each day (first thing in the morning is ideal) to process through these alerts, thereby increasing the likelihood that you get a response later that same day.
Implement a Standardized Discovery Process
4. Develop and follow a prospect/account research process
Do you leave your sales reps to their own devices to research a prospect before a meeting or call? How much time should this take anyway? Create a standardized system or process and you’ll increase both consistency and success of these efforts while significantly reducing the time it takes to complete.
For example, create a template for each rep to follow prior to any new prospect call. Have them check LinkedIn profiles or perform a Google search to identify a specific set of information to leverage in the call, like an ice-breaker, “Jim, it seems that we are both alumni of University of Chicago”, to begin a consultative conversation. Train the team on how to do this quickly, cleanly and efficiently. Creating structure alone could cut down to an hour a day of non-selling time for some of your reps.
5. Invest in better tools
Sales Intelligence tools like RainKing, DiscoverOrg, or Insideview provide a plethora of information to help locate a possible key decision maker. These intelligence tools integrate with the top marketing automation software like Marketo, Pardot, and Oracle Eloqua to streamline digital marketing email campaigns.
6. Better leads
Not more leads. Better leads. More leads might mean the reps are calling prospects who aren’t ready to buy. Their dials and talk time might increase, but their conversion rates will suffer. Many sales organizations see dramatic increases in productivity and output by delivering fewer leads to the sales team, but ensuring that those leads are qualified and ready for the conversation.
Content is King — Don’t leave it to your reps
7. Improve the organization & availability of good content
How much time does your sales team waste looking for the right piece of content to get to their prospect based on their unique stage of the buying process? When they find it, is it the most accurate and up to date content? Does your team know which piece of content (or type of content) is most appropriate for each prospect at each stage? Enormous efficiency gain potential here.
8. Structure meeting time better
This applies to both 1:1 meetings with your reps as well as group meetings. In your 1:1 time, have a specific agenda and keep your time focused. If you complete the agenda early and there’s nothing left to discuss, give everybody their time back. In group meetings, have an agenda as well and ensure that what’s covered is relevant to as many people in the room as possible. Pipeline reviews for example can be highly inefficient for the rest of the room if all you’re doing is focusing on one rep’s pipeline at a time with little to no value for the rest of the room.