In this article we’ll explore proven ways to increase sales productivity.
Sales productivity is the amount of revenue generated by a sales rep, compared to the inputs spent on generating those results. When your sales reps are more productive, your company generates more revenue. So you can see why it’s important!
Here are the 9 easiest ways to increase your average revenue generated per sales rep.
Outsource The Grind
At the time this infuriated me. But looking back, the doctor’s ‘laziness’ may have been anything but. The doctor’s job is to generate revenue for the hospital. So anything that didn’t contribute to billing was done by a nurse or admin staff. It seemed absurd at the time, but no doubt increased profits.
The same principle applies in sales. On average, salespeople spend only 35% of their time actually selling. The rest of their time is spent on things like servicing clients, admin, travel, and planning. In other words, the company’s revenue generators spend two-thirds of their time not generating revenue.
Most low skill, repetitive tasks can be given to someone other than the salesperson. Like at the hospital, it doesn’t make sense for revenue generators to spend time on admin. They should be selling at least 60% of the time.
Breakdown EVERYTHING your salespeople spend time (and energy) on. Then create roles around those functions. For example, an outsourced appointment setting team can take over the process of getting meetings.
The more you free up your salespeople, the more they can actually sell.
Get Better Sales Leads
On paper every lead looks the same.
But that’s not really true, is it? Some leads are better than others.
We teach salespeople to hustle and be proactive. And to many that means chasing down every lead, no matter how good or bad it may be.
But that’s a waste of time. Almost every lead is worth a bit of effort. But the reality is, some leads aren’t worth a lot of the salesperson’s time.
They’d be better off spending 3x more energy on high potential deals. Rather than spreading their energies equally across every opportunity.
So how do you get better sales leads? Here are a couple of ways.
Tell Your Clients Who They Are
Companies spend a lot of money making sure their websites convert really well.
But what if they are too good at converting?!
If your website converts a lot of leads that aren’t remotely like your ideal client profile, then the sales team can get overwhelmed.
They get a ton of interest, but the leads don’t match the sort of company your solution was designed to help. And that just sucks resources.
Fortunately this is easy to avoid. Make it very clear on your website what industries or types of companies you serve.
Your lead quality will improve because the people who take action will self identify as matching your ideal client profile.
And your volume of quality leads may also increase. Prospects LOVE knowing that you specialize in helping companies exactly like themselves.
Qualify Your Leads
Marketing thinks that everyone with an email address should go to sales.
Unfortunately, sales doesn’t agree. Only about 27% of leads should actually be sent to your sales team. The rest just aren’t qualified opportunities yet.
Lead qualifying is a bit different in every company. But keep a running score of your leads to ensure you focus on prospects with the most potential.
Evaluate prospects based on whether they are part of the decision making process. And what actions they take.
Marketing and sales need to agree at what point sales should take over the opportunity. If too many leads get sent to sales then it takes their focus away from better qualified opportunities.
Review Your Marketing Channels
Some marketing channels convert better than others. That’s just a fact.
Consider two types of Google ads – search and display.
On average, active searchers for your solution will be very strong leads. They know they have a problem and are searching Google to try and fix it.
Display ads are usually weaker. The lead has seen your ad and then decides to inquire. While some of these leads will convert, there’s no indication they need your solutions right away.
So evaluate all your leads. Figure out which marketing channels deliver leads with the highest probability to close. And put more money into that channel.
Environment Affects Sales Productivity
It comes from being in a work environment that allows you to get stuff done.
The biggest enemy of productivity are the distractions that are common in an open office layout. That’s why the meeting rooms are always full, even when there are no meetings scheduled. Everyone just wants a bit of peace and quiet!
Salespeople need a silent place to make calls. If they don’t have a quiet place they’ll put off making important calls. Or they’ll have conversations by email at times when phone or Zoom is more appropriate.
So make sure your salespeople have a quiet place to work. They need it.
Oh Good, Another Meeting
Some meetings are necessary.
But most are a waste of time. And the conversation could have been handled by email.
Every hour in a meeting is time away from selling. So limit how many sales meetings you require.
And choose the meeting times carefully. You don’t want to schedule a meeting at a time when your sales team usually meets with clients.
Effective Time Management
Your sales team is productive when their time gets used well. So help your salespeople plan their day, and manage their time.
Teach your team how to be efficient. For example, they should only handle email 2x per day. And they should have a fixed time where they do calls, no matter what.
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Your Sales Culture Impacts Productivity
And daily actions are determined by the behaviours and attitudes that get rewarded.
In other words, be deliberate about your sales culture. It’ll play a key role in your sales team’s productivity levels.
What You Measure Is What You Get
You get what you measure.
The decision about what KPIs get rewarded will pretty much determine the results of your team. So decide carefully.
Do you want to focus on sales inputs or sales results? Or some combination of each?
A sales input would be a quantifiable action, like meetings booked.
And results would be clients signed or other revenue commitments.
If you aren’t sure where to begin, start with a focus on inputs. Inputs are a leading indicator of your future output. For example, the more meetings you generate, the more sales that will follow.
Celebrate The Wins
Sales is tough.
So take the time to celebrate when your team racks up a win.
If your organization is focused on input KPIs then you’ll have lots of opportunities to cheer. Every time someone sets a personal milestone they get recognized for their achievement.
Recognition is important in any area. But in sales it can transform your culture from relentless to inspiring!
Set Reasonable Sales Targets
The easiest way to demotivate someone is to insist they achieve a difficult task. But provide little or no framework to achieve that goal.
That might sound absurd, but organizations do it all the time. Sales teams that achieve their KPIs get ‘punished’ with ever increasing sales targets. Which are often set by a manager with no insights into how the new targets will be achieved.
Sales Productivity Requires Organization
There are lots of benefits to using a CRM. Here are 4 big ones:
- You can track client opportunities.
- Your data is in one place. What happens if your top salesperson leaves?
- Managers can see what the sales pipeline looks like.
- Some time consuming functions can be automated (ie drip email campaigns)
Some small businesses decide they don’t need a CRM. They don’t have a lot of deal flow so they decide to track opportunities manually. It doesn’t work!
There are MANY types of CRM solutions available. Some are for large enterprises. But many are designed for companies with 1 or 2 salespeople. Switching CRM mid-stream isn’t easy so choose wisely at the beginning.
Getting salespeople in the habit of using a CRM is sometimes difficult. But insist on 100% adoption. If you are rewarding sales inputs, then CRM usage can be a part of their compensation.
Invest in Sales Training & Practice
Sales is no different.
Regular sales training is a key driver of strong outcomes for your organization. Companies that invest in exceptional coaching see measurable improvements.
“Good” sales training will increase deal flows, and reduce sales team turnover rates.
So in effect, it improves both topline and bottom line results.
Formal training can be augmented by role play. Role play is an opportunity to practice sales skills in a supportive environment.
It’s useful because it gives sales reps a chance to practice dealing with different sales scenarios. Before they come across these situations in real life!
Consider making sales training and practicing a rewardable KPI. Your team will bond more, and your sales figures will thank you for making the effort.
Boost Productivity With Sales Technology
But it’s not the only technology your team can benefit from. There is an entire range of sales tools that make it easy to automate or speed up every part of the sales cycle. Here are a few:
Preparing beautiful bespoke proposals is easy with one of the popular proposal tools.
You get access to hundreds of pre-made templates. And can deliver professional proposals to prospective clients. This helps you maintain brand consistency, and looks great.
Many proposal software tools include electronic signature functionality. Which makes it easy for clients to start working with you.
A couple of proposal tools to consider include:
- Better Proposals
Electronic Signature Tools
An electronic signature tool will save you a TON of time getting projects started. Just send your Agreement template via the tool and getting a signature takes only a few moments.
Electronic signatures are legal and considered binding in court. They record where and when the document was signed, which makes for easy tracking.
There are TONS of E-signature tools to consider. Here are a few to get you started:
Sales Team Productivity Dash
Salespeople are competitive (or at least they should be).
Sales has KPIs that can be tracked. And many companies monitor leading inputs like calls made or meetings booked.
Consider making this information prominently available to your sales team. If your ‘primary’ metric is meetings booked then post everyone’s numbers publicly.
You can even put the running ‘scores’ on a large TV in the office.
For high performers, the dash gives them the chance to be on top. The person in 2nd place is going to do what they can to displace the person in first.
For lower performers, the dash clarifies what’s expected. And motivates them to do better to pull themselves out of the bottom quartile. No one wants to be last.
A public dash can be a major driver of sales productivity. Use it in a positive way to get the most from your team.
Your Sales Productivity Tips
I’d love to know! If you share this article on Linkedin, leave a comment with what you feel improves sales productivity.
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Matthew Murray is the Managing Director of Sales Higher. He knows any company can THRIVE with enough qualified sales leads. So he’s spent the last decade helping companies meet engaged prospects and win new deals.