Would you believe it if I told you that salespeople today spend less than 30% of their time actually selling? Weird, right? What could be taking up a majority of their time? The surprising answer is routine and often repetitive administrative responsibilities. Or, in other words, tasks that not just don’t contribute to revenue but also reduce sales productivity.
With the present economic downturn affecting businesses, maximizing sales productivity has become all the more crucial. But aspiring for something is simpler than actually making it happen.
Sales productivity issues can result in poor sales performance, pipeline visibility issues, and eventually revenue loss. In fact, 81% of sales representatives believe that spending less time on non-sales functions could increase the profitability of their business.
Therefore, you must make both independent and process-driven efforts to establish your sales representatives for success. In this blog, you'll learn how to effectively boost sales productivity with some actionable steps.
What is sales productivity?
The term "sales productivity" describes the correlation between a salesperson's input efficiency and output effectiveness. Improvements in productivity are attained by improving rep effectiveness and efficiency; to put it another way, you aim to maximize output by minimizing inputs such as time, money, and effort.
It all comes down to making the sales reps effective and efficient in their jobs.
Sales efficiency is the best use of a sales representative's time. Instead of low-impact work like repetitively typing the same cold email or manually filling in prospect details in spreadsheets, an effective salesperson devotes time to high-impact duties like client call preparation.
Sales effectiveness, meanwhile, refers to the ability of a rep to generate sales. A highly effective salesperson makes the best possible use of the tools at hand to win clients. Importantly, to close sales, these resources—content, direction, and training—must be accessible to the sales representatives. High-performing sales teams use more than three times the sales technology as compared to low-performing ones.
Here are some important sales productivity stats:
Strategies for increasing sales productivity
It is a challenging task to boost sales productivity. It doesn't happen overnight but takes time and ample effort from the whole team and sometimes the organization. Here are a few strategies that will help you increase it efficiently.
1. Understanding the sales funnel
What condition is your sales funnel in? This question can only be answered by data, specifically, the conversion rate by stage of the sales funnel metric. The Sales Enablement Analytics Report of 2021 notes that "Of all the key indicators, conversion rate by sales funnel stage, had the most substantial improvement in tracking frequency at 57%, up by 17% from the last year". This is because the enablement department can utilize this specific data point to identify problems in the sales funnel and fix them.
Utilize this data to find opportunities to improve sales effectiveness, such as revising a sales plan or upgrading your value model, and then start a training program to address any problems. Your efforts will be immediately apparent if conversion rates increase; if not, keep making adjustments until they do.
2. Paying attention to the automation of sales processes
You can boost the effectiveness of your sales team with ease by adopting sales automation solutions and letting your sales professionals concentrate solely on the selling aspect of their jobs.
Your sales team can build, schedule, track, and adjust their programs in real time with the help of good field service management software, which will put your sales email outreach on autopilot.
What’s more? You can even reduce the effort involved in typing emails by using a text expander or auto-text tool such as OSlash. You can use OSlash text expander to auto-type text using shortcuts everywhere you work.
Imagine sending hundreds of personalized emails for scheduling demos in minutes without needing to copy-paste the whole text. Simply typing out o/meet in your email editor will automatically expand to:
Plus, it comes with numerous features to manage a team, including the ability to share snippets with coworkers and a permission system to manage who can edit which snippets. In addition to text expansion, OSlash can also help you find and manage links to your files instantly, for example, by replacing the long link to your sales plan with the intuitive shortcut o/sales-plan.
Another way to significantly increase sales productivity is by using triggered emails, which are automatically sent in response to certain activities your prospects do. In essence, you're using your prospects' behaviors to deliver the appropriate message at the appropriate moment. Thank you emails expressing gratitude are one example of this. An individualized trigger-based email automatically gets sent to pique the interest of a prospect when they sign up for a free trial, subscribe to your newsletter, or make a purchase.
Additionally, use a CRM because it will enable your sales representatives to automate their repetitive and administrative duties. Data input is a prime illustration of this. Choose a CRM solution with an integrated call tool and the capability to quickly link with all your sales tools.
Recommended reading: How to use a text expander to similify sales communication and CRM success
3. Building the right team and empowering each employee
You must hire appropriate candidates for each position with an above-standard recruitment process that thoroughly assesses the sales candidates for their skills. But it doesn't stop there. Sales success requires more than just one person's effort—it requires a team. Here's how to motivate your sales team to do their best selling:
- Show your dedication to their growth and give sales representatives proper onboarding, coaching, retraining, and continuous feedback so they can get better with time.
- Create a positive team environment where representatives respect one another, feel appreciated, and believe they can succeed together.
- Invest time in developing solid one-on-one connections and talking about subjects other than KPIs and outcomes to increase engagement.
- Give your employees the information they need to execute their jobs by combining leadership with sales enablement.
- Encourage the team to thoroughly prepare for each meeting. Spend time performing role-plays to get them ready for possible client queries and rebuttals.
- Make the appropriate data promptly available to teams so they may assess their performance and determine where they can make improvements.
Recommended reading: Top advice for SDRs from sales leaders
4. Using productivity tools
Your sales representatives can improve internal communication, account management, and other operations by using productivity tools. These solutions are also useful for data sharing between teams and enhancing company-wide collaboration.
Customer relationship management (CRM), proposal creation, and sales enablement are a few examples of productivity tools that you can use to boost sales productivity.
5. Continuously improving your sales process
CIO Insights claims that companies that employ sales insights and analytics enhance team quota achievement four times more quickly than non-users. This is so that you may make better, more educated judgments because having good analytics offers you a thorough understanding of what has the most influence on your organization.
Another aspect of improving the sales process involves integrating them with the other teams. For instance, a SaaS sales team would never know the grievances of existing customers if they are not aligned with the customer service team. Similarly, the marketing team would promote something else for a product, and the sales team may fail to match it in their pitch. Here, effective SaaS product management can help integrate multiple departments to ensure that the sales team does not work in silos.
Additionally, having solid statistics can assist you in organizing the time your reps spend working. As there are only certain hours in a day, salespeople must prioritize their efforts to produce the best outcomes without being exhausted.
Discuss a high-leverage strategy for boosting your sales team's efficiency and, ultimately, their level of satisfaction.
6. Build a great compensation system
The duties of each sales representative, what they must do to meet sales targets, what drives them, etc., should be clearly defined in order to establish an effective compensation system. Then, create an incentive plan that gives your sales representatives the impression that you recognize and value their contributions.
According to McKinsey, a tweak in the sales team's mix of incentives, quotas, salaries, and bonuses "may be a catalyst for growth." Additionally, this is consistent with an HBS study that found that "bonuses increase production and overperformance commissions assist in maintaining the high output of the highest achievers even after exceeding quotas."
How to measure sales productivity?
Nearly half (49%) of businesses lack any tools for assessing sales productivity. This is one of the reasons their sales productivity suffers.
Metrics can help you understand where your team stands in relation to its production targets. KPIs (key performance indicators) are an excellent way to gauge the output of a sales team. The following are a few sales productivity metrics to monitor:
1. Conversion rate
It determines the number of potential customers your sales representative acquires.
2. Deal size on average
Ensure that no small ticket transactions are taking up too much of your sales team's time. The better utilization of their time is on bigger deals.
3. Retention rate
Retaining customers is crucial for business expansion. You need to understand why you are attracting more new consumers but not retaining them.
4. Sales length
Check to see if your team is stifling the sales process. Despite the fact that every business has a different optimum sales length, you should establish a target that your typical salesperson meets.
Other than the KPIs, activity sales data provides you with an in-depth understanding of your team's efficiency. KPIs reveal the general state of sales performance, but you can tell a lot about how effectively your sales force is performing by looking at activity indicators.
For instance, if your conversion rate is low, might it be that your marketing department isn't supplying you with high-quality leads? Similarly, could a lengthier sales cycle be a result of sales managers' excessively slow contract approval times?
Activity sales analytics show you whether your sales are effective and whether you might need to focus your efforts on some other department for greater efficiency.
Some of the parameters you could monitor are:
- Emails sent
- Calls placed
- In-person meetings
- Interactions on social media
- Sales presentations or demonstrations
- Referrals demanded
Many sales leaders experience difficulties with sales productivity as a result of the constant pressure to reach or surpass objectives. Productivity appears to be more in jeopardy than ever, especially now that sales teams are converting to virtual selling and executives have little face time with their reps.
Additionally, there will always be administrative duties that will be necessary. But technology can make them less complicated. Give your representatives the framework they need, including automation for reducing manual tasks, proper training, an empowering business environment, handsome compensation, and the ability to utilize sales activity data to increase performance.