3 Strategies to help sales reps increase productivity
Feb 15, 2023
13 min read
How much time do your sales reps spend interacting with prospects or customers? How about time spent selling? Probably not as much as you would like.
Improving productivity is often cited as the number one challenge for salespeople. Performance metrics tend to back up this concern.
If you look for the root causes of this issue, don’t be surprised to find that your sales reps have too many manual tasks to do. The next biggest productivity killer is an inordinate amount of time spent on administrative tasks.
Working more hours won’t solve this problem. Most sales reps already work more than 40 hours a week. This is especially true for field reps who travel and spend a lot of face-to-face time with customers at business dinners and the like.
Here’s a look at sales productivity, what keeps salespeople from being their most productive, and 11 strategies to maximize sales productivity in your organization.
What is Sales Productivity? (and How Do You Measure It?)
Most managers would define “sales productivity” as a rep achieving maximum sales results.
While this seems like a subjective metric, there is a way to measure sales productivity. Simply look at the rate at which a salesperson increases revenue for your business. Now compare that to the amount of hours they work. The higher revenue a sales rep generates, in the least amount of time and with the fewest costs, the more productive they are.
Getting to maximum sales productivity means a sales rep has to optimize their workflow. On the other hand, everyone would love to be more efficient with their time. But it’s not always clear how to do that.
The first step on the road to maximum sales productivity is to identify the cause behind sales inefficiency.
What Causes Sales Inefficiency?
Sales professionals face many obstacles that can slow down their path to efficiency. The most common reasons for sales inefficiency often have less to do with individual team members and more to do with company culture.
If your organization doesn’t have consistent sales processes and a unified sales strategy, your reps are left to fend for themselves. If they’re not offered regular sales training, they’ll fall behind their peers who do. Frequent turnover and constant change within the company are also a major hindrance.
On top of that, if sales, marketing, and operations aren’t aligned with their goals, any company will be plagued with sales inefficiency.
This list could go on and on, but you probably see the common thread here. To achieve maximum sales productivity, a company must have a vision and mission. All employees need to be aligned with it. Strategies need to come from the top and be practiced consistently.
With all that in mind, here are 11 sales strategies that you can put in place to enable your reps to reach maximum sales productivity.
Embrace an Innovative Sales Culture
Since too much time spent on administrative tasks has been identified as one of the worst productivity killers, relieving sales teams of these burdens should be a high priority. With the technology available today, this is easier than you might think.
Software tools like CRM systems (customer relationship management) can automate many manual tasks that can drain a salesperson’s time. CRM platforms are built to accelerate the pipeline, reduce the time spent on redundant tasks, and focus on sales enablement efforts.
One of the best features of CRM is triggered events. That means when one event happens, the CRM system knows to trigger another event. So when a particularly qualified lead fills out a form on your website, the right sales rep can be prompted to get in touch with them.
This technology allows your salespeople to respond to opportunities in less time by doing less work. It also enables you to create a standard sales process, so team members always know where they’re at in the sales pipeline and what to do next.
To take advantage of these advancements, your company needs to embrace an innovative sales culture. Let it be known that the sales cycle revolves around the CRM system. The time spent feeding information into the CRM system will pay off when your reps have more time for closing deals.
Track Sales Activities
With a CRM-first methodology, you’ll have lots of data to measure all sales activities. Most quality CRM systems will feature dashboards that give you a quick glimpse at where sales goals stand.
Drilling down into the data will also reveal several key performance indicators (KPIs). Statistics like conversion rates, average sales per hour, and actual sales vs. forecasted sales are all valuable for gauging sales productivity. They’ll help you see individual members of the team who may be lagging behind their goals and could be doing more customer outreach.
Just remember to keep embracing innovation. If you want to measure your productivity gains, activity-based metrics are invaluable. The dashboards and KPIs will only work if everyone contributes their fair share of data into the system.
Create Short-Term Goals
Most organizations are good at setting long-term goals. Maybe you want $10 million in revenue this year, and in five years, you want $100 million in profit. Monthly goals are not too hard either — monthly sales quotas, for instance.
For sales reps to stay on the path to productivity, these goals should be broken down even further. If you have a rep with a sales goal of $2,000 per month, break that down to $500 per week. You can take it even further and say that’s a goal of $100 per workday.
This can make goals more manageable. It can also be a way to develop additional sales performance metrics. Using the example of the salesperson who needs to average $100 in sales per workday to meet the monthly goal, factor in some average sales statistics.
For example, if one sale will meet the $100 daily goal, figure out how many sales calls it takes, on average, to complete one sale (their “win rate”). That will give you a good idea of how many calls the rep should make per day, per week, and per month to hit their revenue goals.
Focus on the Right Leads
Focusing your efforts on the right leads can save a lot of time. After all, why spend time chasing a customer who isn’t likely to end up generating revenue?
Fortunately, another key component of CRM and lead generation systems is a functionality known as lead qualification. The task of creating the ideal customer profile can often be automated. Then, when leads fit the criteria of customers you’re more likely to sell to, they can be presented to the sales team.
Lead management tools can filter through hundreds of unique data points, such as company revenue, company size, job title, business market segment, and many more. Prospects who are a poor fit are discarded, leading to less wasted time.
Strategically Assign Sales Territories
Every sales rep needs a game plan. That’s often decided by the territory they’ve been assigned. By narrowing down the geographical regions a salesperson has to cover, they’ll have a better idea of how to pursue leads or maintain existing customers.
Just make sure the territory assignment is done strategically. Ensure every rep has enough leads to work in their territory and that there’s no overlap with another rep’s territory.
Assignments don’t have to follow geographic boundaries. You can take a more tactical approach and assign sales leaders to the biggest accounts. Or if you have salespeople uniquely qualified for a particular industry, assign them a matching market segment.
The key here is to have some strategy and not just assign territories or accounts randomly. There should be some criteria that make sense for each rep or sales team.
Have a Sales Onboarding Plan
Most every company has some sort of onboarding process. New employees will go through orientation before they get down to doing their new job. But you may not want to stop there when it comes to new hires in sales organizations.
Create an additional onboarding and orientation process for new salespeople. Sales training is not common for new hires, but it can pay dividends. Since you’ve spent time developing strategies, fostering an innovative sales culture, and defining sales productivity metrics, make sure the whole team is aware of the expectations. And who needs this training more than new employees?
After the newcomers have had their training, do a follow-up to make sure they're equipped with the skills necessary to increase sales productivity.
As a side note, training is valuable for the whole team. Even the most productive salespeople need to be kept apprised of the latest trends in your industry and learn new sales techniques. Ongoing training and sales coaching for all sales staff should also be part of your strategy.
Develop a Calling Strategy
Sales calls are still one of the most effective methods of finding new prospects and turning them into customers. Every sales rep knows they’ll have to spend some time on the phone. Your goal should be to make sure this time is contributing to the sales team’s productivity and not burning money in real-time.
A calling strategy can optimize the time spent on cold calls, follow-ups, and other phone activities.
Involve your marketing team in crafting this strategy. Especially when it comes to cold calls, marketing’s unique perspective on how to reach the ideal customer is needed. They’ll probably have their own set of ideas for crafting the perfect sales voicemail templates, as there is some overlap between sales and marketing in this regard.
Keep in Constant Communication
Communication is essential to keep sales organizations working in sync. Sales managers should regularly check in with each salesperson to see how they’re performing and whether they need anything.
Scheduling face-to-face meetings with sales reps is important when it can be done. With remote teams working across the globe, you might have to use web collaboration and video conferencing tools instead. But have those in-person meetings when you can.
Maintaining constant communication reminds the team about your goals and strategies. As you’re working to help them become more productive, it’s important to hear what they think is helping or hindering them. Encourage communication to be as specific as possible, so that any issues can be addressed.
Do make sure those issues are addressed. Nothing is more discouraging in the workplace than reporting the problems that prevent you from doing your best — and nothing changes. Of course, not every grievance can be addressed. But if the reported problems are related to workflow and the sales pipeline, sales managers should be well-equipped to handle those things.
When your team feels heard, they’ll feel appreciated and motivated to do their part. The overall effect is everyone working toward the same sales productivity goals.
Create a Standardized and Consistent Sales Process
Every sales rep may have their own way of handling leads and completing tasks, but without a consistent way to handle things across the team, it can get chaotic and confusing.
Standardizing the sales process is the best way to increase productivity, as it offers a clear system for sales reps to follow with step-by-step actions used by all.
Having such a system in place allows managers to better evaluate their teams as there are set standards to follow. A consistent sales process also makes it easier to onboard new reps, since clear instructions reduce the time to get results. It can also be used as a training tool by sales team heads to improve overall rep performance.
Better Collaboration with a Business Phone System
Collaboration among several sales reps in any organization, big or small, is always more difficult than it seems. Promote collaboration among sales reps by implementing a business phone system that goes much further than simply offering voice-calling facilities.
Such a system brings together various channels, like messaging, video, and conference calling, into a single cohesive system that can be used enterprise-wide.
Collaborating with your team or other teams in the company should not be a struggle. Using such a tool can help make communication seamless and quick, minimizing time spent on these energy-zapping, unproductive tasks.
Automate Repetitive Tasks
The answer to low productivity is not to make your sales reps work longer hours, but instead to provide them with the tools they need to work more effectively. Sales reps typically spend much more time on repetitive, mundane tasks than actually selling. While these administrative tasks are necessary on a day-to-day basis, they are not the actions that generate revenue and increase the company's bottom line.
This is where your CRM system can really shine. Sales reps can set up parameters and triggers for routine and non-sales tasks that will allow the CRM to automate them, no longer needing the reps' involvement. By reducing the time reps spend doing redundant work, they can better focus on selling and other revenue-generating activities.
There is no need to waste precious hours doing things that don't need manual intervention. Instead, allow sales reps to yield more positive results. Following these 11 strategies can help sales reps take charge of their time and become more productive.
FiveCRM Has the Keys to Sales Productivity
As you probably noticed, many of these strategies for sales productivity depend on powerful, innovative CRM systems. These tools enable sales teams to spend more time doing what’s important: closing deals and making sales. If that sounds like what you’re looking for, check out FiveCRM today.
FiveCRM’s unique suite of products can give you the keys to sales productivity. Gone are the days of repetitive manual tasks. Fast, modern CRM solutions enable your sales and marketing teams to take things to the next level, maximizing productivity — and profits.
Our solutions include the only CRM made specifically for telemarketing, email sales software for targeted and tiered campaigns, and lead management software that keeps the sales pipeline in motion. To see why FiveCRM is your answer to the sales productivity problem, drop us a message or contact us on our website.
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