As the old sales productivity adage goes, “Always Be Closing” – and organizing data, and scheduling meetings, and searching for content, and…
According to a recent survey by Docurated, sales reps spend only 1/3 of their time actually selling. In a for-profit business, that doesn’t quite add up to the sales productivity needed for profitable ROI. There is an urgent need for businesses to improve the efficiency of their sales processes, and provide sales teams with the opportunity to focus on what they do best – sell!
We compiled several key tips from some of our favorite sales experts on how to improve your sales productivity.
Provide Your Sales Team AI Data
Using a strong CRM to provide your sales team with up-to-date customer data and one system to log and review prospect activity is a basic necessity these days. Having an agile technical environment for your CRM is important, as emerging trends are constantly providing opportunities to optimize your processes. Right now, that trend is Artificial Intelligence (AI) utilized for sales data, such as Salesforce Einstein.
“As software continues to get smarter, we must also consider how the B2B sales person’s role and the sales process will change. if you’re focused on navigating the next two years, the advice we’re giving our clients is to dip your toe in the water with AI. No need to dive in head first. Start out by harnessing AI technology to develop a more effective content marketing plan that will deliver improved sales leads. In the meantime, keep an eye on these companies and others that get on your radar with AI powered marketing and sales technology. Ground yourself in the reality that AI is not going away.” – Bernie Borges, CEO Find and Convert
Limit Your Sales Reps’ Administrative Tasks
According to Docurated, 20% of sales reps’ time is spent on administrative tasks. That’s a huge portion of the day spent on activities that aren’t contributing to sales productivity. This is not only a huge annoyance for sales reps, but also a drain on business resources. It’s important to prioritize and automate tasks that take up precious selling time.
“Follow the money. When planning your day or week or month or year always determine which activities are closest to bringing in revenue and prioritize those activities. For example, paperwork is far down the list when it comes to generating revenue. Meetings or conversations with existing customers to potentially sell additional products or services would be high on the list. Prospecting is a high priority item although it’s further down the list than meeting with a prospect who is about to say, “yes.” Save non-revenue generating activities for off hours or better yet, delegate those activities. Too many sales professionals spend far too much time on activities that do not increase sales. Prioritize and execute on the activities that generate revenue and watch your sales soar.” – Wendy Weiss, President ColdCallingResults.com
One way to “follow the money” and focus more on revenue generating tasks is to automate some administrative tasks, like scheduling meetings.
- Use a meeting scheduling app, like AcuScheduler, that integrates well with your calendar and your CRM to cut out the back and forth in scheduling a meeting. With an online scheduling app, the task of scheduling (or rescheduling) a meeting based on your calendar availability is in your prospect’s hands. So you can spend more time meeting with prospects and selling.
- Use a social scheduling tool, like Buffer, to schedule all your social posts when you have down time. This limits the distraction of managing your social media channels while you want to be focusing on closing deals.
- Take notes via dictation. Especially if you’re out on a sales route or visiting customers, you may not have time to stop and take notes, type an email, respond to a text… So, try out dictation. Many devices have dictation built-in, so you don’t even have to use an app for that.
Collaborate Across The Team
Collaboration in the business sense means more than just “working together”. The purpose of collaboration is to combine individual mind-power to achieve better results in less time – which aligns directly with improving sales productivity. CSO Insights conducted a recent study in which they found:
- 55% of salespeople in environments with ad hoc collaboration environments met their quota
- 76% of salespeople in environments with a formal collaboration approach met their quota
That 21% difference in sales productivity shows the value of developing formal collaboration processes among your sales team (and across the organization).
“Have Daily Huddles – Have them each weekday morning. Meet with your team – who is working on what? Share your biggest area of focus for today. I have been in sales for years, we do this every day. It keeps you honest and helps keep your focus on what is important.” – Lori Richardson, CEO Score More Sales
Daily huddles are great done in person, and for remote teams or those who can’t meet in person daily, tools like Slack also work well for collaboration. A good place to start is by having the team answer three questions at the start of each day:
- What they achieved yesterday
- Their key focus for today
- Any roadblocks
Create a S+Marketing (Sales+Marketing) Machine
31% of sales reps’ time is spent looking for and creating content. That means if the sales team has access to content that addresses prospects questions, they can save 31% of their day searching for the answers that could close more deals. Additionally, many prospects skip the sales questions entirely, and choose to search for their own answers – having them available is key to generating more warm leads for your sales team.
This is where the marketing team comes in. The most functional S+Marketing machines work together to outline the buyer’s journey and buyer personas. By collaborating with the sales team to clearly understand prospects needs, marketing can begin creating content that helps the sales reps close more deals.
“The bottom line is, the content you create has to map to what your personas are looking for at each stage or their buyer’s journey… As prospects move down the funnel, you turn them into leads by explaining how your solutions solve the problems, till eventually you compel leads to connect so that you can explore their needs. ” – Bob Carver, Principal Consultant Carver TC
There are so many expert techniques for improving sales productivity – What else has worked for your team? We’d love to share your tips with our community. Comment below or Tweet us at @acuscheduler.