A majority of a sales representative’s time should be spent interacting with potential clients and customers. But because of so many other tasks on their plate, it’s clear why an improvement in sales productivity can be key in bringing in more revenue to your business.
7 Strategies to Improve Sales Productivity
But how do you ensure your team is consistently improving their productivity? It can be a hard obstacle to climb. Thankfully, here is a simple list that goes over seven strategies to help improve sales productivity.
1. Set up effective onboarding and ongoing training
Most companies have a form of onboarding and training for new employees. What many seem to lack, however, is proper ongoing training. The onboarding process for new hires should take up to six months, but many forget this training within a few weeks.
To effectively improve sales productivity, information should be tailored in a way that’s memorable. It should also be easy to revisit from time to time. The more complex the process is, the more it needs to be relayed in a relatable manner and repeated in different training sessions.
Ongoing training is just as important as onboarding, yet a lot of companies do not implement continuous post-onboarding training. Training should be in place to help equip your team with the relevant skills to help increase sales productivity.
2. Embrace sales tools
There is so much time spent on administrative tasks in business, even for those who should be focusing on other things. This has brought about an obvious need in business for tools to help automate some of the more unproductive, repetitive, yet necessary tasks.
Online tools, such as sales enablement software, can help with these jobs that have to be done to track sales productivity. It frees up time for your employees.
According to an industry expert, most salespeople spend roughly 79% of their day doing administrative tasks, like writing emails and entering data. This leaves about one-third of their time being used to actually speak with prospects and customers. (1)
This is a good example of why sales tools can be used to free up time that can be spent on more important tasks related to sales.
3. Create daily goals
Goal-setting is a terrific way to help keep your sales team motivated. Goals provide a sense of direction and help in creating the need for a plan of action in order to hit targets.
A great way to go about this is to use SMART goals. These are goals that are:
This way of attacking goals makes it easier to create a strong action plan that focuses on improving sales productivity. It also has a higher chance of success. (2)
4. Communicate with your team
Communication is an essential practice for any team. This is especially true when the manager is overseeing things from the outside instead of inside the sales team. Things are just trickier this way and harder to coordinate.
To help increase sales productivity, managers need to check in with their sales team as a group and as individuals to help get an understanding of how the team is running and how everyone feels about how they’re performing.
It’s especially important to have a higher number of interactions with new employees going through their onboarding and ramp-up period. It doesn’t have to be a scheduled meeting; this can be done with a quick message here and there just to check-in.
In-person one-on-ones are always a plus if you have the ability to meet face to face. These can help promote a more in-depth interaction between managers and sales representatives. It’s one way of uncovering valuable feedback.
5. Have an accountability network
This is a great way to help you and your team hold each other accountable each week for getting things done, meeting KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and deadlines, and achieving any set goals. It’s very similar to having a chain of command, just less formal.
Knowing you have to report to someone is a natural deterrent to things not getting done. It’s very easy to make personal excuses, but less so when you are held accountable by someone else.
Keep in mind that you will need certain amounts of diplomacy and firmness when confronting someone about their work and productivity. Teams are productive and cohesive when teammates respect each other and each other’s feelings.
Stay objective when giving assessments. And try to stir the performance reviews toward constructive feedback and employee growth.
6. Perform time-batching
Time-batching is a technique used to group similar tasks together and not moving onto the next batch until everything currently grouped is finished. For example, if you have to make eight calls in one day, do them one after the other.
Once you are finished, you can move on to the next batch, such as data entry or follow-up research and documentation after the calls. Batching activities together is a great way to improve time efficiency and overall productivity.
7. Evaluate and re-evaluate processes
An ineffective sales process can cost a business a lot of money each year. But companies that have a more defined workflow and are consistently evaluating their processes are more likely to be high performers.
You cannot become productive overnight; you have to establish a strong process, and you can only do so by having a vigilant and critical eye at all times. You should always be looking at ways to improve your sales process in order to increase productivity because productivity can lead to more sales.
The start of each new quarter is a great time to re-evaluate your current procedures and look for areas that you can implement new methods and processes.
Time to get productive
With so much to do, your sales reps might need some ongoing training to help strengthen their skills and have clear and consistent communication with their manager.
Ensure that any problems are known and addressed. Also, sales tools and different organizational methods can be used to help improve sales productivity.