How to boost sales productivity

Productivity in sales is essential for increasing results over time. Sales representatives have to be motivated and focused to build relationships with leads and close deals. As a sales manager, you need to assess your team and determine if the amount of effort they put in results in comparable revenue generation. Your company may need to make some adjustments to sales strategies, but reps also need the right tools in place to succeed. An online marketing system can increase sales productivity.

Many sales organizations grapple with improving productivity or effectiveness, according to an article for Business 2 Community written by Joellen Sorenson. This dilemma essentially comes down to selling more or selling better. Both of these are important pursuits for sales organizations. Is it possible to have it all in the world of sales? High-growth companies often prioritize speed over effectiveness, which does not result in scalable or lasting revenue gains. Managers need to strike a balance between productivity and effectiveness. Too many steps in the sales process can significantly slow reps down. Productivity may vary by company, but here are some common problems that get in salespeople’s ways and how to improve your organization:

1. Take a more sales-oriented approach to Internet lead generation

The entire sales cycle can be bogged down if there is a lack of understanding about what makes a qualified lead. Sales reps should take some time to consider what characteristics they need from a lead to eventually close the deal, Babette Ten Haken wrote in a blog post for Salesforce. Most companies can benefit from a lead generation strategy that doesn’t treat all contacts the same. Different customer segments will have varying needs, and this may require separate approaches.

2. Stop doing busy work

Some sales managers think overall volume of calls is an indicator of productivity, but this doesn’t guarantee that reps are conducting effective conversations with prospects. It’s more important to generate quality leads rather than to keep up with a certain quantity of calls. There are a number of other administrative tasks that can significantly decrease productivity. If reps have to make reports with Excel or create presentations, it can distract them from revenue-generating tasks, like having meaningful conversations with sales-ready leads.

3. Assigning the wrong tasks

Just because a salesperson is always busy does not necessarily mean he or she is the most productive person on the team, according to Firmology. One characteristic of a highly successful sales rep is the ability to identify which tasks he or she is best at and pursuing these activities. This allows them to maintain a strong focus on the assignment at hand – free from outside distractions. Managers need to consider the skills of each member of their teams and determine how to effectively delegate tasks so everyone can do what they are best at. For example, some reps may be great at closing business but not as good at performing lead generation activities.

4. Training

This may seem counterintuitive because it takes salespeople away from their primary responsibilities for a short period of time, but it can pay off in the long run. Extra training can work to fill in some of the skills gaps on your team, Brian Hasenbauer wrote for The Center for Sales Strategy Blog. Managers need to identify crucial areas that need improvement and hone their training efforts around these issues.

5. Make sure reps are staying motivated

Good sales employees are highly self-motivated, but it can be difficult to sustain this momentum – particularly because the B2B sales cycle keeps getting longer. A good sales manager needs to understand that their team members are motivated by different things and know how to encourage them. Understanding the differences in your sales staff can help you boost the productivity of individuals, which is good for the whole team.

6. Give sales employees a little more independence

No one likes a micro-manager. Sales reps may be dealing with unnecessary obstacles, and this can slow them down. As long as salespeople are adhering to certain key procedures, they can be given a little more free reign to manage their contacts.

7. Implement technology to boost productivity and effectiveness

A marketing automation platform can solve many of the issues impacting sales productivity. These systems improve task assigning so the right reps are handling the most appropriate tasks. This can drive both productivity and effectiveness. Your sales team will have the resources to better inform how they approach prospects, which may increase the number of deals they’re able to win. Sales employees need to contend with a number of distractions, which can decrease effectiveness. Marketing automation can streamline how your staff approaches these responsibilities and ensures steps in the process aren’t being missed.