Did you know that, according to some research, your sales reps may only spend 39% of their time setting up and closing deals with potential customers?
This average time may seem low, but it does not indicate a lack of effort from your sales reps. After all, they are still working, but selling is not their only focus. One study shows that sales reps may spend up to 23% more time on administrative tasks than sales activities.
However, the fact that it is normal does not mean you can not seek to alter it. Improving the sales efficiency of the entire pipeline is a significant challenge for most companies today. Everybody wants to find the best way to optimize their company’s productivity.
Thankfully, we have some excellent tips to help your sales pipeline receive maximum throughput and improve productivity in sales. Read on to learn some of the sales industry’s most vital information and tricks!
What Is Sales Productivity?
Sales productivity is broad, but that is because sales efficiency requires you to consider every aspect of the selling process.
Specifically, sales productivity refers to the rate at which an individual field sales rep or an organization can generate revenue through its sales process.
This process includes all sales cycle aspects, starting with lead generation and ending with closed deals. To maximize sales productivity, you want to go through the sales cycles as fast as possible with optimal results and minimal expenditure.
Ultimately, the desired result of sales productivity is to maximize your sales results.
The best way to increase productivity in sales boils down to finding the most efficient ways to manage your sales team’s time. Thankfully, there are multiple ways to go about this goal. Let’s take a closer look.
Why Care About Sales Productivity?
As vital as they are, sales and associated costs can get expensive. Let’s do some quick number crunching to see what results you need to justify the cost of your marketing department.
Let’s work with some average figures. For example, the average company spends $1,000 monthly on marketing and advertising. If your sales team generates just ten new customers each month, it will cost you $100,000 over a year.
Of course, these are not solid numbers. The sales needs of every company vary wildly. Studies show that some businesses may consider a 1% success rate a horrible failure while others consider it a wild success.
The easiest way to improve sales productivity is to optimize the sales process. Before we get into some more advanced tactics, let’s take a look at some of the main philosophies behind optimizing your sales process:
- Create a plan and identify any potential gaps in your current sales process
- Identify what needs to change to improve sales effectiveness and productivity
- Formulate a plan regarding what changes you will make
- Implement changes based on your plan
Sales Productivity Pillars
There are several effective metrics that you should consider when improving productive sales team performance. These building blocks can serve as pillars for your sales effectiveness.
Some of these pillars may seem obvious, but some may not be so apparent.
Consistency Is Key
A consistent sales process is key in the sales industry. Sales organizations require a consistent structure to operate at maximum efficiency.
Even if you are trying your best, you might need help to solve some of the major issues in your operation. An organized structure can help you maintain efficiency and fix any significant problems.
With modern technology, distractions are everywhere. Advertisements and shiny new products hide around every corner, ready to shock you and your prospective clients with a new distraction.
With a culture of instant gratification, modern generations face a shorter attention span. Unfortunately, nobody can change the culture of the world single-handedly. The most that you can do is help eliminate distractions from your sales team.
Ask yourself one question. Are you pleased with your sales performance? Is there truly no room for improvement in your sales strategies?
The odds are high that your company wants to grow, but you can not grow if you are happy with where you are. However, sales managers may tell you that things are going great solely because that is what you want to hear.
You should always stay on the lookout for new opportunities in your field. If you are at the forefront of every innovation, you can help forge a more efficient and consistent sales process.
Maintain A No-Pressure Environment
Sales are a competitive field. Everybody wants to make a sale because if you do not get to the customer first, somebody else will!
With this reality, it is easy for field sales reps to feel under constant pressure to perform. While pressure might seem effective, the truth is that a certain level of constant stress is counterproductive and may lead to reduced performance. Employee burnout can severely impact your results.
Consider taking measures to lower the pressure on your sales reps. Keep your sales team happy, and they might perform far better.
Focus On What You Can Control
It may be a hard pill to swallow, but sometimes there are things that you can not control, despite your best efforts. Sometimes, salespeople may face high stress due to market forces encouraging a competitive rate.
The most that you can do is focus on maintaining a healthy work environment for your sales team and improving your productivity strategies. Do not try to change the world; change your workplace.
Strategies For Improving Sales Performance
Noone accidentally stumbles onto sales productivity. To maximize efficiency in your sales team, you must plan carefully and utilize several strategies designed for optimal sales output.
The first thing you should know when outlining a sales plan is how your larger business works. While your main concern may be the sales department, you are not operating in a vacuum.
Know your company’s common goals and ethos to help set and meet goals for your sales team, and you will surely notice productivity gains.
However, there are other strategies you should keep in mind. Here are some of the best ways to impact sales productivity.
Utilize Digital Sales Tools
Innovation may be vital to the sales industry, but you can do some things from scratch. Specialized software companies offer hundreds of available tools to help you save time and money.
Whether you use CRM software to manage your employees and prospects, social media platforms to launch meetings, and marketing campaigns, digital sales tools can improve sales productivity more than you ever hoped.
Consider The Pillars Of Sales Productivity
We have already covered some vital factors of sales productivity. Remember to implement these building blocks in your sales goals and plans to help improve sales productivity.
However, you do not need to implement these pillars all at once. Sometimes, specific methods only work for some companies. Nobody would make sales if every sales team operated on the same theories.
Start with more minor changes and work your way up. Making several significant changes at once can disorient your sales team, resulting in lower productivity and wasted time.
Consider setting up an experimental group of average salespeople to test your potential changes in advance.
Understand Your Goals
Every business has goals, and every department may have its own goals. Ideally, you should align your department’s objectives with your company’s, but they do not need to be the same.
Setting goals is a noble pursuit, but you should not do so blindly. The best goals are ones that you thoroughly understand.
When you set a goal, ask yourself a few questions, such as the following:
- Why is this my goal?
- How will this goal benefit my department?
- How will this goal improve my company as a larger entity?
If you can understand your goal, you have a higher chance of reaching it. However, the best objectives are not only understandable; you should be able to measure your goals, as well.
Measure Your Progress
Data is vital to a sales department. When you collect data, you can understand what works for your sales team and what does not.
It is vital to measure the progress of your sales activities. Measuring progress can help companies project future income and identify potential roadblocks before they become significant problems.
Measuring your sales team’s progress can also help calculate conversion rates versus your sales volume on an individual level or as a department. It can also help key metrics such as customer retention.
This information is vital to any administrator, both in the sales department and otherwise. Company executives may use this information to project future revenues, while sales leads may use it to find their best performers and offer bonuses.
Maintain Open Communication
Open communication is one of the best ways to help boost productivity in your sales team. If nobody communicates with each other, nothing will get done.
By maintaining open communication, your sales team can help each other overcome any roadblock, improving both synergy and productivity.
Utilize Modern Methods Of Marketing
Marketing has experienced a colossal shift in the past few decades. If your sales department has also been tasked with marketing, you should look into the new marketing methods taking the world by storm.
We all know how powerful an effective marketing campaign can be. A powerful campaign can help generate hundreds, if not thousands, of qualified leads. However, it is up to you to convert those high-quality leads into customers.
One of the most significant hotbeds for marketing activity is social media. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube are excellent social selling vessels to promote your product or services.
On the other hand, platforms such as LinkedIn are a great way to network for meeting field sales executives and business experts.
Take Opportunities To Learn
Learning does not begin and end in school. You will learn new things throughout your life. Take any opportunity to do so, especially if these things can improve your sales pitch.
Some people are natural-born salespeople, but selling is ultimately a developed skill. The best sales representatives may be naturally charismatic, but a persuasive argument takes years of sales training and practice to perfect.
Thankfully, many books, videos, and seminars are available.
Visualize Your Customers
As technology continues to advance, digital sales become more popular. Therefore, you may not have a face-to-face connection with your customers like you had in years prior.
Nowadays, many prospective customers seem to be faceless entities. You only interact with them through screens, such as your computer or phone. You may occasionally have a video chat or sales call, but it is hardly a substitute for human interaction.
Even if you can not physically see them, visualize your customers as if they are right in front of you. They will appreciate the closer connection.
Listen To Your Customers And Build Relationships
Everybody likes a good listener. Listening to somebody will make them feel you care about their issues. As an experienced salesperson, this is vital.
When actively listening to a prospect, you can gain vital insight into their life. You may learn their needs and wants, which can help you close a deal.
Listen to your customers and build relationships to help foster a more solid sale.
Staying organized is critical to succeeding in any industry, and sales are no exception.
By keeping everything and everyone in its place, you have ease of access that can help save valuable time.
Promote a schedule for your team, from daily schedules to regular training sessions and sales coaching. You will see far greater results when your team is organized and effective.
Maintain stable routines and training regiments to help promote organization skills in your sales team and allow for easier onboarding of new hires.
Studies show that effective onboarding practices can help new hires reach optimal performance anywhere between 30-40% faster. Additionally, continuous training can help increase the rate of sales by up to 50% for each sales professional.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is Sales and Marketing Alignment?
Sales alignment is the foundation of effective sales performance. Marketing and sales departments already follow similar guidelines and may seek a more active partnership to help increase productivity and synergy in both entities.
What is the value of collaboration between sales and marketing?
When sales and marketing departments work together, they may see stellar results for their respective entities. Studies show that a close alignment between marketing and sales teams can increase closing rates by up to 67%.
Collaboration allows sales and marketing teams to develop and maintain a common vision and goals. When two teams work together, they will be stronger than either team alone.
What is the pipeline target?
In sales, pipeline coverage refers to the value of all your sales opportunities compared to the company’s revenue target.
A pipeline target is a quota for how much money you should extract from your opportunities.
With a pipeline target of $20 million, sales and marketing leaders must calculate all measures they must take to reach that target. These measures include the number of generated leads, demos needed, and more.
What is content management software?
A content management system, also known as a CMS, is a powerful tool for any department in a business. These programs help provide a central location for all content relevant to a particular service.
As a sales leader, you may utilize content management software to help store and maintain data relating to your prospects or your sales team.
What is artificial intelligence?
Artificial Intelligence, also known as AI, is a technology comprised of programs that learn based on a provided set of data. Companies may utilize AI for seemingly endless reasons, and sales are no exception.
What are the benefits of AI-guided selling?
AI-guided selling can help maximize sales productivity by providing a prospect’s vital information to a salesperson.
What are the benefits of sales coaching?
More training is always a good thing, no matter what discipline you practice. As we said earlier- always look out for new opportunities to learn.
Sales coaching is an excellent way for new and veteran sales professionals to gain experience and practice new sales situations with hands-on training.
Salespeople can learn in shorter, 15-20-minute interactive lessons that allow them to keep their knowledge fresh by practicing it through real-world scenarios.
What Can Sales Do?
The better question is, what can’t sales do? As a department, the main goal of sales is to increase company revenue.
However, with the persuasive ability of many salespeople, the sales department can be notoriously effective in administrative tasks such as negotiating business agreements or exit packages for outgoing employees.
Sales productivity is one of the most vital things you should consider when managing your sales team and results. Ideally, you should aim for maximum output via minimum resources.
Thankfully, many tools and techniques are available to help improve sales productivity. However, even then, we know that it can be difficult.
Sometimes, things do not fall into place as you would like them to. If you feel improving sales productivity is more complicated than expected, The Brooks Group is here to help you.
Contact us today if you would like to learn how to improve sales team performance. At The Brooks Group, we can leverage our expertise to help improve the efficiency of your sales team and promote effective practices for the future.