Increase sales effectiveness to hit your numbers every month
If members of your sales team have been missing their quotas, it may be time to make some changes. Although there are many issues that can derail the sales process, a lack of productivity and effectiveness are often big problems that can prevent your employees from closing deals. Addressing the lack of effectiveness can help sales managers get their teams back on track.
Low productivity could be one of the biggest barriers to sales effectiveness. Depending on the size of your sales force and whether you have a separate marketing department, employees could be hard-pressed to manage their various tasks each day. Between making presentations, sending lead-nurturing emails and following up with prospects, most salespeople have really busy days. But a lot of their time isn’t spent on revenue-generating activities. It can be difficult to attract new customers when sales employees are distracted by busy work and other tasks.
What role does productivity play in sales effectiveness?
It’s probably no surprise that the most effective sales representatives are usually the ones who have the most time to sell. These high-achieving employees take productivity very seriously, according to an infographic from Salesforce. Additionally, the most productive salespeople are comfortable using company customer relationship management platforms. In fact, nearly one-third of sales reps said that a CRM system was crucial for them to accomplish tasks.
Improving productivity may not be as simple as investing in additional sales training or new technology. Your sales force needs to have more time to do what they do best: sell. Sales managers need to find ways to make more time for their teams to focus on revenue-generating activities, according to an article for Sales Training Connection written by Richard Ruff. More time is one of the best gifts you can give your sales team, and it may be more affordable than extensive training programs.
How to improve productivity
Ruff cited data from MicKinsey, which revealed that the most effective sales organizations were the ones who had more sales support staff. Most salespeople are uniquely talented when it comes to selling, but they get bogged down with other tasks that aren’t related to this activity. Many of these projects could be handled by an employee in a support role. While it may not be possible to hire multiple sales support employees, taking some of the pressure off your top performers can significantly increase effectiveness. If sales employees are spending a large portion of their time on activities that are not directly related to selling – especially tedious administrative tasks like reporting – it will be difficult for them to close deals.
Some sales coaching and changing how tasks are assigned can be highly beneficial in this area. An online marketing system can provide better visibility into the sales process, allowing managers to assign tasks to the employees who are best equipped to handle them. If one rep is close to finishing a deal, a sales-ready lead can be directed to another member of the team. This ensures everyone can spend their time more productively and important leads are never missed, improving your team’s numbers over time. It may be beneficial to have an employee dedicated to different lead generation techniques so your best performers have a pool of prospects to work with and aren’t spreading themselves too thin.
The role of technology in sales effectiveness
Much has been made about technology’s place in modern selling, but some believe it creates an additional distraction, Ruff wrote. In particular, CRM software can have a bad reputation because sales employees have to spend time doing activities they don’t like with these systems, which doesn’t do much to alleviate the burden of administrative tasks. An integrated marketing environment is a better way to handle this issue because sales reps aren’t trying to juggle disparate programs. When all data is in one place, the process is more streamlined and sales employees aren’t distracted by switching between multiple platforms for different tasks.
Revamping the process of assigning tasks can revolutionize sales effectiveness in your company. When sales employees are no longer responsible for repetitive administrative tasks, they can spend more of their days having face-time with clients. An integrated marketing platform can not only improve task assignments, but it can also perform repetitive tasks, such as sending requested information to leads. Eliminating manual processes frees up more time for sales reps, which allows them to engage in conversations that advance their relationships with prospects.
While small companies may not have the resources to hire multiple sales support employees, investing the right technology can significantly increase productivity and effectiveness. This helps your business grow revenue. Identifying patterns in sales performance allows your sales reps to see which parts of their methods work and what needs to be adjusted.
Eric Murphy is the Digital Marketing Manager at ActiveDEMAND. He is responsible for driving the marketing strategy for the ActiveDEMAND integrated marketing platform. He has a strong background in online marketing, communications and working closely with sales teams. For many years Eric was an evangelist and marketer for the industrial communications community through guest articles, maintaining industry blogs and speaking at conferences and other events.