The DriveSales™ | Here are the top 6 proven strategies to drive sales Productivity!

A good robust sales performance is one of the crucial factors that impact the financial health and bottom-line profits of an organization. In today’s highly competitive business scenario, companies are focusing all effort on boosting sales productivity and efficiency to close a greater number of successful deals.

Sales productivity is defined as the product of sales efficiency and sales effectiveness. The ultimate goal of any sales improvement exercise is productivity which is directly proportional to the efficiency and effectiveness of the sales teams.

Sales efficiency refers to the optimization of time usage of a sales rep. An efficient salesperson spends quality time on high-impact activities such as call preparation, as opposed to low-impact activities such as administrative tasks.

Sales effectiveness refers to the ability of a sales rep to drive revenue. A highly effective rep uses the available resources, namely content, guidance, and training, to win customers.

It is often seen that poor performance on the part of sales teams adversely impacts the financial performance of organizations of all sizes. Some reasons that impact sales negatively can be broadly categorized as:

· Excessive pressure to meet sales targets.

· Poor communication about the organization’s goals and objectives.

· Lack of coordination between sales, marketing, operations, and manufacturing departments.

· Fear of adopting unique sales strategies.

· Inadequate knowledge about sales strategies and processes.

· Lack of training.

Let’s have a look at some unique sales strategies that can be a boon for sales teams in catapulting the sales productivity levels to new heights.

1) Investing in training and onboarding: The bedrock for a great sales team is a robust onboarding and training process. On-boarding impacts the future productivity of sales teams even before making a sale. Effective training is needed for new sales reps to build a deep understanding of the product without overwhelming them. With ample tech-enabled training and on-boarding solutions, the ramp time for the sales team can be decreased significantly. Using online training software with video lectures, online tests, information libraries, and case-study based assignments act as a powerful impetus for better and faster learning. This, in turn, creates a team of sales reps who are confident and equipped with the optimum knowledge for being successful and productive.

2) Automating the sales process: Intelligent and integrated automation tools enable end-to-end sales acceleration by taking away the manual and repetitive work and transforming them into easily replicable automated workflows. It also gives everyone access to the same comprehensive, cross-referenced, and up-to-date customer data for its use across the length and breadth of the sales process ranging from sales calls, quotations, proposals, contracts, upsells, cross-sells to renewals. These places the power of contract generation squarely in the hands of sales reps, without relying on the legal team to handle it and risk any form of interruption in deal momentum.

A very good example is the automation of documentation. This automation helps in consistently generating formatted, error-free documents by using updated information and pre-approved legal clauses, thus completely obliterating the need for manual work. There are countless ways to automate processes including the addition of trigger workflows in Salesforce, using email templates, or using an automated service for making phone calls. A triggered event such as follow-up emails will help sales teams to respond faster to prospects. Getting rid of such daily grinds makes the sales teams much more efficient.

3) Generate High-Quality Leads: The best way to go about it is by creating a lead qualification system to guide your sales team in the right direction. Building an ideal customer profile is the most critical step in identifying the target audience and where to find them. The following steps elaborate further on this process:

§ Using Qualifying Questions: Qualifying questions are the primary basis of filtering. Adding questions such as the decision-making time frame, help sales teams prioritize when to follow-up on a lead, or pass on the lead to marketing in the nurturing funnel till they are ready to buy.

§ Lead Scoring: Scoring the leads helps in assigning points to each lead on some pre-defined scale like 1 to 10 or 1 to 100 based on information filled by the leads in the forms. Higher the grade, the better the lead. For instance, sending more B2B leads ensures more relevance and saves time, effort, and aggravation.

§ Nurturing Leads: A bad lead is a myth. There may be instances when the leads enter wrong information rendering it useless. But organizations need to classify leads as sales-ready or not. Marketing teams should use automation tools to identify leads that are not sales-ready to move them into the lead nurturing funnel while educating and engaging with them till they are sales-ready.

4) Measure Key Metrics: Measuring ‘sales‘ as revenue is a good indicator of success. But it doesn’t paint the full picture. It is the measurement of ‘selling‘which enriches it with true colors. Being a challenging part to measure, many organizations don’t regularly track these metrics and thus lose out in the race of improving consistently. You can’t measure what you don’t track and you can’t improve what you don’t measure. Without tracking these essential metrics, the ability to judge a sales team’s performance or to take steps in improving the ROI gets impaired. Key productivity metrics such as call rate, win rate, pipeline conversation rates, the average number of touches until conversion, and sales cycle length need to be monitored continuously in addition to the performance metrics such as sales per rep, sales per region, lead to opportunity conversion rate, etc. These metrics are used to assess the efficiency of productivity strategies and address the problem areas if any. Dashboards prove to be a useful tool in visualizing trends and gaining valuable insights into sales rep activity and productivity.

5) Align Marketing and Sales: Sales and marketing are the unruly siblings of any business. Their alignment is potentially the largest opportunity for improving business performance exponentially. When marketing and sales teams unite around a single revenue cycle, they dramatically improve marketing ROI, sales productivity, and top-line growth. It is the silo mentality that hinders this cohesiveness. It occurs when several teams/departments within an organization do not share information or knowledge with other teams and individuals within the same organization. Hence, this silo mentality, where departments such as sales and marketing operate as individual units leading to a major impediment in the Business-to-Business selling space. This can be achieved in the following steps:

§ Creating a single customer journey to avoid siloed experiences for prospects.

§ Agreement on customer personas by creating an ideal customer persona document together.

§ Implementing a “marketing first” approach where marketing teams’ warm-up and nurture new leads, after which the sales teams take over to reinforce the marketing efforts.

§ Tracking joint KPIs uniting them under one common goal.

§ Use customer feedback, also known as Voice of Customer (VOC) data, for insights to pick out specific phrases for creating new marketing messages and strategies, as well as refining the product or service offering.

§ Join forces on post-sale growth and retention by shifting the communication from attracting to growing and influencing a customer for business continuity, trying new products, upgrading their product portfolio, adding more licenses, etc. with the sales team ready to step in as required.

§ Creating marketing assets such as content marketing to close sales.

A symbiotic relationship between sales and marketing departments is paramount. Alignment of sales and marketing leads to an increase in revenue, shortens the sales cycle, and improves the conversion rates along with forecast accuracy.

6) Embrace social selling: The power of social selling can help sales teams relate to and engage more strongly and intelligently with buyers. Sales reps can use social media channels in every stage of the sales process, from prospecting to networking and customer service. With deeper insights about prospects ranging from demographics and preferences, they also get access to more data such as the inner workings of an organization, the idiosyncrasies of that industry, and most importantly the pain points encountered by the prospective clients give sales reps the vantage point to move more quickly and effectively in driving an engaging and meaningful conversation. According to Social Media and Sales Quota Survey statistics, 72% of salespeople using social media as part of their sales process outperformed their peers and exceeded quota 23% more often. Social selling is about keeping track of the prospective client’s activities and engaging with them accordingly.

The sales function is moving faster than ever today. There is always a threat of emergence of new competition, the launch of similar products, or a sudden change in market scenario due to geopolitical changes forcing organizations to be vigilant to remain on top of their game. Introspecting and refining the sales process incessantly is one of the most important aspects of sales productivity. These six strategies will ensure that the sales team is the strongest link in your organization.

Now, as an effective SALESPERSON! We can do three things from here.

1. Not ignoring the opportunity and blaming the situation for revenue loss.

2. Taking necessary notes and revisiting your sales strategy with a growth mindset.

3. Reach out to The DriveSales™ in case you need any specialized help.

To conclude, what you believe also provides some idea of your development as a consultative salesperson. For more, please be connected to team The DriveSales™ as these are the foundations for our culture and ways of working!