Sales & Marketing

Improve productivity, boost sales: 3 foolproof methods

Of course everyone in the sales department wants to increase productivity, but how?

Consider all the things that can get in the way of salespeople actually selling:

  • poor planning and scheduling
  • confusing communication from top to bottom of the organization
  • pressure to exceed targets
  • inconsistent coaching and training practices
  • unnecessary paperwork
  • changing sales activities priorities
  • distractions from our always-on world

Assess time spent

The first step in figuring out how to streamline, delegate and minimize is to know how salespeople currently spend their time.

Most salespeople think they spend their time wisely – and their logs probably reflect that. But many of us are guilty of exaggerating time spent on activities such as cold calls, presentations and visits. Then we minimize the time spent on activities such as Web searches and check-ins with current customers who don’t need to be checked on.

If you want to make better use of time, encourage salespeople to be honest and realistic when they log their time.

Know what to do about it

With an assessment, you’ll see your sales productivity reality. But how can you go about improving it? Take a look at these three strategies.

1. Measure differently

It’s easy to measure sales – quota goals, revenue, deal size. They’re solid indicators of success. Measuring selling is harder.

To boost sales productivity, you want to track and reward productivity gains and results. Add metrics such as call rate, win rate, sales cycle length, conversion rate and number of touches to conversion. Reward for those metrics, too. Community dashboards help everyone see trends and can serve as motivators, since co-workers will be able to see each person’s numbers.

2. Simplify the workflow

Nearly half of salespeople say they spend up to 20 hours a week on manual processes to report leads, sales and other activities that are vital to closing deals, a Spotio study found. Some salespeople spend half of their time just reporting actual selling time!

You want to hold salespeople accountable for their time. But too much paperwork – even when it’s automated – makes salespeople prisoners to process. Eliminate as much manual lead and funnel management as possible. Add more check points, as opposed to detailed questions, to automated systems.

Keep in mind: Automation and technology tools won’t fix all the productivity issues. Tools only help when salespeople are trained to use them properly, rewarded for using them and face consequences for not using the tools.

3. Simplify the system

In an effort to maximize efficiency, many organizations amp up technology. They give salespeople tools for video, chat, email tracking, document sharing, presenting, forecasting, scoring, etc. Just managing those can hamper productivity!

With so many unrelated tools to focus on, salespeople often get slowed down trying to align them. Bring as many tools as possible under one roof – a CRM system, a multi-use app, even something as basic as a house-built, cloud-based system that runs the Microsoft suite programs. What’s important is information, account databases and metrics are centralized, easy to access and simple to understand.

Focusing on simplicity and streamlining processes can be the key to improving sales productivity and making sure your salespeople are using their time in the best ways possible.