Updated: Feb 5, 2021
One thing is certain our world is in a state of flux and the only thing that you can count on is constant change, which has made maximizing sales productivity harder than ever before. The global crisis has accelerated a digital transformation that will continue to change the way we work for years to come. It’s during this period of transition that sales leaders need to ask themselves:
What changes can I make now to ensure my salespeople are successful.
How do I drive efficiency and ensure effectiveness.
Let's break this down a bit:
Driving efficiency: The key to efficiency is reducing wasted effort. That means eliminating manual or repetitive work, like data entry, in favor of maximizing time spent on valuable tasks, like talking to customers.
Ensure effectiveness: Effectiveness is less about where you spend your resources, and more about how skilled you are at using them. Your team may be leveraging efficient processes, but may still be making ineffective selling decisions. For example, if your sales reps are pitching the wrong value proposition to the wrong customer segment, it doesn’t matter how many prospects they’ve talked to.
So how do we improve sales productivity?
There is no magic wand, however we do know that it is a constant moving methodology, as we know business demands and business transaction change very quickly, and it takes great sales leaders to try and predict and adapt as fast as possible, "if you know the ship is slowly heading towards the iceberg, you change your course fast".
In this blog I would like to present three suggestions to help improve your sales team's productivity, these suggestions are based upon feedback I have gathered from Sales Leaders and Consultants I have worked with in the past.
1. OPTIMIZE FOR VIRTUAL SELLING
According to Gartner, about 20% of lost and stalled deals are caused by internal complexity within sales organizations. The rise of virtual selling isn’t new, but the arrival of the COVID pandemic took it to new heights. Many sales leaders have been forced to transition entire sales teams to inside sales — a shift that can reveal disconnected processes, tools, and silos.
A single customer interaction might require sales reps to pivot from their email to their phone to their calendar to their note-taking application. Such multitasking could cost up to 40% in productivity, according to research by the American Psychological Association. By syncing your communication tools to a CRM with a sales engagement platform, you can ease that burden and give your reps a much-needed productivity boost.
Centralised productivity tools allow your sales teams to efficiently work a deal and sell as a team. When collaborative documents — like standardised account plans, template close plans, and mutual success plans — are connected to the right records in your CRM with a sales engagement platform, they can streamline deal coordination, seamlessly hand off data, and help reps align around business plans.
2. AUTOMATE ADMIN TASKS
Data entry is busywork. These manual and repetitive tasks are small but add up quickly — a few minutes here and there can result in several hours of lost productivity. The number of people involved can also lead to erroneous, outdated, or incomplete data. Clean and updated data can be difficult to maintain, but it doesn’t have to be painful. A good CRM can automate much of this work, so you can focus on making new deals, instead of tracking old ones.
Sales reps spend 8% of their day manually entering sales data. That includes contact information, deal stages, calls, and meeting notes, according to the “State of Sales” research report from Salesforce. Using a CRM that automatically syncs with emails, calls, and other communication tools saves your reps the headache of data entry and leaves them more time to connect with customers and close more deals.
With the world in flux and sales guidance constantly shifting, many reps struggle to figure out what to do next, flipping back and forth between their company’s latest playbooks and their ongoing task lists. Take the guesswork out of the process by building your playbook straight into your CRM. Not only will it scale your best practices, but it also empowers your reps to start each day off at a sprint.
3. EMBRACE ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
Artificial intelligence (AI) is the not-so-secret weapon for productive sales teams. High performers are 4.9 times more likely to use AI than underperformers, according to the “State of Sales” research report. That advantage becomes key during times of economic uncertainty. It helps sales leaders not only maintain their business, but also grow it.
Sales managers have limited opportunity to observe their remote sales reps in real time. With configurable pre-built reports and dashboards powered by AI, sales managers can better understand team performance against key metrics — like quota attainment, pipe generation, and bookings — and see how the team ranks. These insights can help leaders identify the habits of top performers, accelerate deals, and better coach every team member toward success.
The right AI tool will analyse your data, predict which leads and opportunities are more likely to convert, and surface that information to your sales reps so they know exactly which deals they should focus on first. It arms your reps with insight into the right deals, at the right time, that will increase their win rates.
In this blog I have mentioned a few times using a CRM together with a Sales Engagement platform and as an ex Salesforce employee I would be slightly biased towards using Sales Cloud.
With PipeLaunch we have developed a Salesforce native Sales Engagement platform that is focused on helping Salespeople with the prospecting process.
It would be great to hear how you are helping your sales teams to maximise sales productivity.
PipeLaunch is Native to Salesforce in delivering Sales Planning, Sales Execution, Sales Relationships and Sales Insights.
For more information visit www.pipelaunch.com