Sales productivity is a significant issue for every business, and the increasing pressure to increase sales compounds the problem. Organizations ‘scale’ their sales teams while attempting to meet higher sales targets, but they aren’t improving their process models, best practices, or sales tools.
To successfully increase productivity, you need to review your current sales processes from a sales manager and a sales reps’ point of view. This guide will help you:
- Increase the overall productivity of your sales teams
- Identify low hanging fruit for quick wins
- Highlight tactics for consistently exceeding sales quota
- Getting into the right mindset for sales
- Access to helpful sales plays
Sales Managers: How to Increase Sales Productivity
Onboarding New Sales Reps
Companies with an effective onboarding method for new salespeople have a productivity edge.
According to a recent report from Forbes, these businesses have an average 10% increase in sales growth rates and 14% improvement in revenue and profit goals.
Share a slide deck with new employees a week before they start to provide an introduction to your firm’s culture. This will allow them to start day one with a base level of confidence and comfort – rather than coming in cold.
On day one, new employees should have some familiarity with the following:
- The company’s mission, values, and history
- Their team’s leadership and structure
- Their team’s specialty and valuable insights
The secret to intelligent onboarding is treating your new employees as potential consumers. Leaving a great first impression on your fresh recruits might assist you in future collaboration. Make them feel like you’re behind them and guiding them.
Ask about their life aspirations. People enjoy discussing their interests. Managers may utilize this information to determine which assignments are best suited for each employee and which projects will help them enhance their most exciting skills.
According to Harvard Business Review, new employees who had a one-on-one meeting with their boss in the first week saw early development. They also spent twice as much time collaborating with their teammates as those without a one-on-one meeting.
The next stage is to establish milestone-based objectives using 30, 60, and 90-day plans. An effective 30-day program might educate oneself about the items, buyers, and market, for example.
Then, set up check-ins to talk about their progress. It’s critical to have open communication channels with your representatives to recognize their concerns, needs, and pain spots.
Use The Right Tools
It should come as no surprise that high-performing sales teams make use of sales technology. This doesn’t mean running out and filling your tech stack with a bunch of applications.
It’s tempting only to select a best-of-breed application. But sometimes, compromising on features in favor of integrated systems makes more sense.
The critical part is making sure your sales team’s productivity is improved. Here are the features we recommend you introduce to your team:
- CRM to track sales activity and be a single source of truth
- A prospecting app to identify leads and help automate outbound activity
- Asynchronous communication app to help the organization foster agile communication
- Account and lead routing automation to improve efficiency
- Sales playbook to ensure sales reps know what to do
Here is an example of a tech stack that covers all the features above:
HubSpot CRM for your single source of truth + lead routing
HubSpot is a surprisingly functional CRM. It is user-friendly and integrates with a lot of external systems. Making it a perfect single source of truth.
With features like a chatbot, workflows, and advanced lead routing, your business is covering a lot of the basics with an integrated system.
A CRM like Salesforce might be more feature-rich than HubSpot, but its total cost of ownership is approximately four times that of HubSpot.
Apollo.io for prospecting
ZoomInfo is the gold standard, and there are contenders like Hunter.io, Leads 411, and Rocket Reach. But we prefer Apollo.io for prospecting because it integrates with HubSpot, has a great database of leads, and includes email sequencing.
Slack for asynchronous communication
Flexible schedules are part of the new normal, and so is remote work. Slack is the perfect tool to help keep the conversation without cluttering everyone’s inbox. One of our favorite features is being able to record your screen and send it to colleagues. Plus, it also integrates with HubSpot, letting us know when new leads enter the CRM.
SalesGRID to manage your sales playbook
Sales managers using SalesGRID see a considerable increase in productivity. The playbooks they put together help reps, but by integrating it with SalesGRID – reps know exactly what to do at each pipeline stage. What’s unique about SalesGRID is our ability to integrate with HubSpot, Salesforce, and even NetSuite.
Realistic Sales Goals
Identifying and setting realistic sales goals for each individual is integral to ensuring your team achieves a possible value in the shortest period. The best way to fix these is through a conversation with each member of your sales team. Ask them what they’d like to improve on, what they’d like to learn, or how they
Make sure the goals are realistic and specific, for two examples:
- Increase sales qualified leads by 50% (BAD)
- Increase sales qualified leads per month by 20% from 10 to 12 by the end of 2022 (GOOD)
The “bad” example is unrealistic and unspecific and sets your team up to fail. What is the base? What is the timeframe? The “good” example provides specifics and is realistic.
Bonus tip: A bottom-up approach to setting quotas help people feel ownership towards their target, and it makes them more motivated to achieve them. Bottom-up doesn’t mean that the salesperson sets their own target.
It means that the sales quota details the methodology for calculating the total number in a way that is relevant and realistic. For example, a 20% conversion rate on SQLs with an average deal size of $30K = 12 SQLS = 2.4 wins per month = Monthly Quota = $72,000.
Automate Repetitive Parts of Your Sales Process
Sales reps can easily spend a lot of time on administration tasks. Using a sales engagement platform, tasks that may be automated would eliminate much of this time-consuming, productivity-killing, low-value work.
According to Hubspot, salespeople spend an average of 5.5 hours a week just entering contacts and activities into their CRM. Assume you worked all year at that rate. That’s much time lost from selling and closing deals.
Automating some of the activities that may be done via sales engagement software might include:
- Logging emails into the CRM
- Recording outcomes of meetings
- Finding which email sequence to use
- Looking for the latest version of the sales deck
Tools like HubSpot and Apollo make logging activities easy. But when it comes down to which process to follow, SalesGRID helps your reps know what to do next. You can’t automate everything, but you can provide your reps with a guide to help them be efficient and keep prospects on track.
Sales Rep Motivation
Employees who are enthusiastic about their work bring their “A-Game” to accomplish what they’re doing.
“Organizations with higher than average levels of employee engagement realized 27% higher profits, 50% higher sales, 50% higher customer loyalty levels, and 38% above-average productivity.” ~ Blackhawk Network.
You can praise your employees in public and develop trust. These two methods are crucial for keeping your staff committed.
Praise and recognition
Increased employee engagement and motivation can be achieved through public praise. Everybody enjoys being recognized for exceptional contributions to the team in front of others.
You may have a regular meeting to commemorate both significant milestones and minor accomplishments. Recognize all of your team’s objectives since the last appreciation event, then choose a few top performers.
When complimenting your reps, be clear about what they did well so that they understand precisely what you mean.
Other team members should be able to identify each other. This may create a sense of appreciation and cooperation throughout the organization.
The latest research has shown that the levels of organizational trust have a significant influence on productivity.
The importance of trust cannot be overstated, and it’s at the heart of a sales team’s success. Your team won’t be as motivated to work if they don’t trust you.
Transparency in the workplace is an excellent method to develop trust.
It’s also critical to demonstrate that you care about your reps’ professional objectives. Schedule a one-on-one meeting with your representatives to discuss their career path, where they want to improve, and how you can help them.
You can now better infer what motivates your reps based on your knowledge of their objectives and challenges.
Sales Reps as Subject Matter Experts
Salespeople must become subject matter experts in your niche, not just walking brochures.
Starting with product knowledge, your salespeople need to answer any question prospects have. Linking feature to benefits, capable of explaining how your product/service alleviates the prospect’s pain points and what kind of gains they can expect.
This builds some trust with the prospect, but it’s only a starting point.
Sales reps need to be familiar with case studies and demonstrate how the product is used in the field. Showing prospects firsthand how they can use the product makes a big difference. This is why being familiar with case studies helps boost that level of trust.
Your salespeople must be involved in the market. They should understand your rivals and industry developments. Being more knowledgeable about things than they do at their job endears them to the prospect. Rather than seeing your sales rep as another salesperson when their next commission check arrives, prospects will trust them more as trustworthy individuals with knowledge beyond where they work.
There is a considerable amount of knowledge required to turn all your reps into subject matter experts. SalesGRID provides the platform to manage and distribute the necessary content to make this a reality.
Lead Qualification Process
“Hope-ium” is the sales phenomenon clinging to unreasonable or unfounded hopes. It’s also known as “happy ears”. While many salespeople are optimistic about outcomes, if you end up wasting time on dead opportunities, you’re simply wasting time.
This is why prospecting for new clients is considered the most challenging aspect of the sales process by over 40% of salespeople.
Sending as many emails as possible may no longer be effective, making prospecting appear to be complicated. Your team should have a focused prospecting process to be successful in closing deals.
Learn about your customers’ common interests
It would be best to comprehend why your clients are your clients before you can do anything else—knowing which characteristics your clients have allows your staff to focus their efforts.
One easy way to discover that is by talking to your customer care staff, who chats with clients daily. Try to gather as many similarities as possible:
- What’s their industry or background?
- Do they face the same problem that your product solves?
Another option is to conduct focus groups or perform a quick poll with your clients to discover what they like about your solution. This way, your team can determine which features are most valuable and highlight them during their presentation.
Define a clear buyer persona
It’s time to develop personas for each sort of your target prospect after gathering information on them.
Start with essential information like age or income level. Then, focus on their industry, job titles, hobbies, goals, problems, and other characteristics influencing their purchasing decisions.
Now that you know whom to target, you must develop sales strategies based on their characteristics, such as employing a particular style of message that connects with them.
Tailor emails to include valid or relevant reasons to make contact with your prospects is key to ensure you get a response.
Sales Performance Management
The best method for sales managers to understand and evaluate their team’s activities is through sales KPIs that show how effective and efficient the sales department is.
The most important thing about measuring your sales performance is being able to do so in a way that enables you to reach your objectives faster and more efficiently. Here are some of the most significant sales KPIs to keep an eye on:
i) Lead-to-Sale Conversion Rate
The percentage of new customers versus all leads is a great KPI. This KPI measures the effectiveness of your sales team in turning leads into purchases.
If your lead-to-sale conversion rate is low, provide your reps with pointers on how to follow up effectively. According to a recent survey, 80% of sales require five or more follow-ups, yet only 44% of sellers quit after one follow-up.
You may discover that some of your team members are underperforming while monitoring conversion rates. Hold a meeting with them to offer personal coaching.
Although not every lead will become a client, improving the sales process may improve lead-to-sale conversion rates.
ii) Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
CLV represents the total money you expect a client to spend on your items throughout their entire duration as a paying customer.
Tracking CLV as a KPI helps you determine whether it’s profitable to acquire or retain customers. For example, if a new customer costs $30,000 to acquire and their lifetime value is $850,000, the customer is considered profitable.
The cost-plus method is one of the most popular. It can be used to calculate several costs, including actual items and overheads. These are the fees charged by the business for every product created or acquired on their behalf during a specific period (cost-to-cover).
Knowing which prospects to prioritize will improve your sales productivity. There are several additional sales metrics that you may collect to measure the success of your business. Still, it would help if you always concentrated on the relevant ones to your selling strategy.
iii) Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
The use of LTV:CAC is a standard sales benchmark. The LTV:CAC ratio provides a snapshot of how much value customers are worth compared to the amount the business spends to acquire them.
The goal of this ratio is to establish the correct balance so that organizations can maximize their financial investments. It should take around one year to recoup the cost of customer acquisition, and your LTV:CAC should be 3:1 – which means the value of your customers should be three times the cost of acquiring them.
If the conversion rate is closer to 1:1, it implies you’re spending equal amounts on acquiring consumers as they are on purchasing your products. If you have a 5:1 conversion rate but aren’t investing enough in sales and marketing, you might be missing out on chances to attract new leads.
Ongoing Sales Training for Sales Leaders
Now you know how to keep track of your sales team’s progress — but it isn’t over yet. It’s only the beginning.
According to Sales Alliance, almost 80% of what is taught in training will be forgotten by salespeople within a month. To ensure that your team’s productivity stays at its peak, offer recurrent training.
Align their roles with your sales goals, plans, and requirements is one of the most effective training methods.
Reps should have a clear understanding of their function in the company’s sales strategy and goals. You may make a chart that connects their responsibilities to your shared objectives.
Adopt peer learning. Salespeople benefit from being around other people who are excelling at their jobs. They may pick up skills such as self-direction, problem-solving, and interpersonal communication.
Keep up with industry developments; the sales environment is constantly evolving, and so should your sales team’s tactics. Your team will be more successful if you stay on top of industry developments and news.
All sales teams are different, make sure you tailor your training to your reps’ particular characteristics. To keep up with the ever-changing sales industry, training must be an ongoing process.
Sales Team: Sales Productivity booster Hacks
Once you’ve established all the appropriate processes for sales leaders, it’s time to focus on how much your team can grow in terms of productivity. One of the most important aspects of any business is sales.
Choosing a Winning Mentality and Attitude
In sports, the most successful athletes are not necessarily those with the most remarkable abilities. They are more often the ones with the strongest winning mentality. A coach can’t instill a winning attitude in players just by asking them to do it. It must spring from within. The same is true in sales.
Intrinsically motivated employees are more dedicated to their work, have a 46% higher job satisfaction rate, and perform 16 percent better than those who are not. According to the same McKinsey data, employees that are intrinsically motivated are more satisfied with their employment.
Intrinsic motivation, according to neuroscience, is built-in and inherent. It influences the course of an individual’s behavior and self-determination.
- When the prospect of accomplishing a task intrinsically drives you, it is because you are satisfied with your performance.
- You are extrinsically motivated if you do the job simply for money.
The most appealing aspect for a salesperson is assisting customers in resolving an issue. This motivation is determined mainly by curiosity and imagination. Salespeople are driven to ask the right questions as a result of their natural inquisitiveness. The answers to those inquiries help them figure out how to address the prospects’ problems.
No pressure if you’re not naturally inquisitive. Just recite these questions before every sales meeting:
- Who: Who is part of the buying circle?
- Which: Which person influences the decision-maker?
- What: What are their pain points?
- Why: Why have they decided to start looking now?
- How: How does our product or service help them alleviate their pain?
Selling is unique in that you can’t sell a solution to every prospect the same way. That implies you’ll need to develop new ways to emphasize the value of your goods all the time. You will become intrinsically motivated if you think of selling as a creative and non-repetitive activity.
When you have a winning mentality in sales, it’s because you genuinely care about resolving issues for your prospects and clients.
Align Sales Strategy with Efficiency Tools
When it comes to having a winning attitude, one of the things winners do is work smart rather than hard. That indicates utilizing cutting-edge sales technology to improve sales productivity in the business sector. Top sellers may use technology to their advantage: instead of wasting time on unimportant duties, they can use it to focus on selling.
Calendars and appointment setting tools are meant to help you manage your time more effectively. Tools like HubSpot have a Calendly clone built-in. It’s not the best scheduler out there, but it eliminates email tag; by allowing prospects to schedule appointments for timeslots that work best for them.
Don’t let your strategy be based on software. We’re frequently seduced by the allure of a tool’s capabilities, no matter how unusual or innovative our approach has to be. Only utilize software that supports the methods your company employs.
Quality over Quantity for Leads
According to a study, 50% of salespeople’s time is spent on prospecting that is deemed irrelevant. It’s ideal to have a lengthy list of prospects with whom you can establish a business to acquire consumers. Still, it’s preferable to have a shorter list of superior leads with more potential to buy.
You’ll not only increase productivity, but you’ll also get a better conversion rate if you can pick leads that are most suitable for your product. LinkedIn is the best instrument for locating high-quality leads.
According to Hubspot, LinkedIn is 277% more efficient than Facebook and Twitter in generating leads. This may be since LinkedIn users are primarily professionals with purchasing power.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator allows you to save contacts or organizations that may be in your pipeline so you can find them later. These leads will appear in your Sales Navigator news feed. Inmails, a kind of direct message on LinkedIn, allow you to communicate with prospects even if they aren’t connected to you. Producing high-quality leads, on the other hand, requires more time and effort:
Post Content for your ICP
Even on LinkedIn, content is king. Check out which themes your prospects follow, and then provide high-quality blog articles or web seminars on those subjects. It’s an excellent method to answer their queries and demonstrate your knowledge even before starting a conversation with them. Keep in mind that people in your network can see your published material and follow you. As a result, so make sure your next post is interesting to them.
Join Relevant LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn Groups are a fantastic networking tool for professionals in the same sector or with similar interests. Joining a group is the first step toward filtering and qualifying your target leads. More significantly, that is where your discussion begins. Working towards higher CLV and hence increased productivity by focusing on the proper leads.
Start Time Blocking
Time blocking is a practical approach to free up your crowded schedule. All you have to do is divide your day into periods — each of which is focused on a specific activity.
Spending ten minutes each day prospecting might be one way to breakthrough. Rather than checking your inbox all day, try sending follow-up emails at the same time every day.
When you group similar activities, your productivity will increase because you devote all of your attention to one action at a time.
Here’s a list of things to do to successfully time block:
- Plan blocks at least one day ahead
- Start every day with a concrete schedule
- Unfinished tasks are reviewed at the end of the day
- Preview tomorrow’s tasks at the end of the day
- Adjust are based on the tasks
- Stick to your schedule
When you schedule your days ahead of time, you’ll save much time by not having to pick which activity to focus on constantly.
Illuminate the Cost of Inaction
It’s all too easy for businesses to endure existing solutions rather than investing in new technologies or adopting needed business innovations. This hesitation is usually motivated by a concern about the effort and disruption that change may cause, which is why taking the path of least resistance and avoiding the pain of change is tempting. The cost of inaction for an organization is the revenue and opportunities lost due to its non-adoption of necessary technology and other company-innovation developments to match its complexity.
These firms have recognized the need to change but have put it off for one reason or another. Of course, at some point, any growing company will be forced to make a transition. That threshold is frequently reached much later than the agony of change outweighs the suffering of staying the same.
A good sales rep can help prospects identify potential loss of revenue or quality by simply not looking to change the status quo.
B2B selling is under threat from the digital economy. Automation and artificial intelligence is replacing sales activities traditionally performed by salespeople.
Sales teams must strive to add real value in the sales process or else they will become irrelevant – the ultimate sales productivity and revenue killer.
The key areas to focus on require an integrated approach to goal setting, the use of technology and tools, sales rep engagement, and performance measurement.