Acing a business’s sales quota is a challenge for every company.
The fact you’re reading this article means you’re looking for ways to improve your sales team’s productivity rates, and that’s great news. Being aware of an issue in your sales department is the first step to fixing it.
There are many reasons why your sales aren’t hitting the levels you want. To start with, it can help to ask yourself questions like:
- What’s the average time to complete deals?
- How do your reps utilize content and marketing collateral in sales calls and emails?
- Where in the sales cycle are your team experiencing bottlenecks?
The measurement of your organization’s sales productivity is marked by how your business harnesses the tools, processes, and resources to achieve core business goals whilst reducing time to value and customer acquisition costs.
Read on to discover five principles to improve your sales team’s productivity levels and help with your business’s productivity strategies (spoiler alert: one of them is to start a sales coaching program).
Firstly, let’s examine some mitigating factors to sales inefficiency to recognize potential problems:
- Inconsistent sales processes and strategies.
- Lack of communication from managers to team members.
- Ineffective sales training sessions.
- Performance pressure to meet sales quotas.
- Incorrect ideal customer profiles.
- Negative sales culture within teams.
Every sales team experiences issues, some of which are probably above. In a competitive market environment, it’s crucial that you take stock of the sales chaos that influences your team’s challenges and understand exactly what is causing a lack of productivity.
Let’s move on to what you can do to solve this:
1. Implement sales coaching
What is sales coaching?
At its essence, sales coaching is teaching your sales teams how to consistently improve their skills to hit their sales targets. A mix of incentives, support, skills-based training, and technology help is all part of a sales and business coaching program.
What about sales coaching vs sales training? Sales training is delivered at the onboarding stage and provides sales reps with the very basics of how to sell the business’s product or service. Sales coaching, on the other hand, provides sales reps with opportunities to continuously improve their skills and work towards reaching sales goals. You may also look into mentoring as there are also a lot of very positive mentoring statistics that show how impactful this can be.
As mentioned, the first aspect of your sales productivity strategy should be to take a closer look at how your sales team is currently performing, and take steps to improve the rates with sales coaching or outsourced sales support.
It’s common for companies handling outbound sales calls to approach sales coaching live on sales calls. In this method, managers use technology to give sales reps tips during customer calls to enhance their customer service.
Another way to coach your sales team is through post-call analysis. Using call metrics, you can analyze things like call duration and call volumes to determine the success of sales calls. Some businesses use a sales automation system to streamline sales coaching for tasks such as customer follow-ups and pipeline updates to save reps valuable time.
To make sales coaching a valuable tool in your sales processes, ensure you:
- Use the right tools
The rise of remote working means that you probably aren’t going to sit next to your sales team whilst they’re receiving sales coaching. Use the best technology to help your team learn and put their new skills into practice.
- Run regular reviews
Your sales team needs to know how close they are to hitting targets, so run regular reports on metrics like deals closed, customer sentiment, and sales quotas to foster a firm feedback culture.
- Coach behaviors
To make sales coaching as effective as possible, concentrate on coaching behaviors.
Since each of your sales team members has a different set of skills and personality, coaching behaviors rather than styles is the easiest way towards cohesive selling strategies. For example, instead of focusing on exactly what each sales rep says, make a plan for them to make a specific number of outbound sales emails per day. This way, you’ll have a simpler time measuring the success of each rep.
Key takeaway: Position your business’s sales coaching in a way that suits your team, skill sets, and experience.
2. Speed up sales prospecting
A significant factor in your sales team’s productivity downturn could be attributed to focusing on the wrong prospects.
It’s essential that your sales team understands that not every customer is your customer. Speeding up the sales prospecting process at your business means quickly establishing who the prospect is, what they want, and how you can help them. If any of these variables don’t align with your company’s values, products, or services, encourage your team to move on to the next prospect.
Teach your sales team to learn buyer intent signals. For instance, some companies develop methods of qualifying leads. Based on a point scoring system, allocate points to leads defined by the content they engage with and behavioral actions. When the set number is reached, only then can your sales team reach out to the prospect.
Other ways to speed up sales prospecting include being transparent about your business’s service prices. Doing this eliminates prospects that are out of your market range and therefore not part of your company’s lead database.
Help your sales team close more deals by including detailed product information on your website. FAQs are a great way to handle potential customer objections, and allow your team to answer customer inquiries like product testing or demos to drive them closer to making a decision.
Key takeaway: Prospect analysis done properly saves your team from wasting valuable time on chasing outbound prospecting non-starters.
3. Streamline sales processes
If the right processes are not in place, you can’t expect your sales team to be their best at work.
For example, one process could be setting up regular sales teams meetings to encourage informal interactions amongst reps to share knowledge and gather valuable staff feedback.
Becoming a collaboration enterprise improves standardization across your entire company and allows different departments to work together more efficiently. Without a robust set of workflow processes, you’re leaving your sales quotas to chance. Implementing rigid processes enables everyone to know what to expect and what is expected from them.
Key takeaway: Make sure managers and team leaders develop sales processes that are intuitive and understood by the entire team.
4. Know your sales team
Expecting your sales team to hit their sales quotas every month when you don’t know who they are is an unachievable goal.
Closing deals is inherently linked with knowing your sales team. Take the time to learn their unique selling styles, how they handle difficult calls, and what motivates them. For example, discovering how each sales rep reacts to Databricks training will give you valuable insights. You’ll be in a better position to engage your sales team and encourage them to take action to meet their goals.
Communicate as much as possible with your sales team. This is a crucial skill to possess as a sales manager. Checking in with each of your reps regularly works wonders to increase sales productivity rates and will make your team feel valued. For newer team members, this is even more essential.
Good practice is to book in regular one-on-one’s to find out how everyone is feeling, how motivated they are to reach sales quotas, and anything you can do as a manager to help them reach their goals. These meetings are great to discover common problem areas to address as a team.
Key takeaway: The more engaged your sales team is with you, the higher the productivity rates.
5. Understand your team’s challenges
This last method of improving your sales team’s productivity relates to the previous one, but goes one step further. Being aware of your team’s challenges, both individual and common customer problems, means being able to resolve objections and close more deals.
During chats with your sales team, you may discover that a typical pain point is a lack of synchronization between selling products and your company’s Amazon inventory manager system. It’s your responsibility as your team’s manager to find solutions to their problems. Other sales team challenges could include:
- Poor communication skills
- Unable to handle customer rejection
- Lack of product understanding
Key takeaway: Whatever the challenges may be, you can face them together as a team and drive more sales in the process.
6. Time sales calls effectively
Your sales team should know the best time to make cold calls, when to use an email finder to find and send sales emails, and how to get the most from your CRM system.
Closing deals is intrinsically linked to time, as well as customer mood and personality traits.
Think about it—a cold call on a Monday morning is the last thing anyone wants. Thoroughly research the peak times for sales calls and communicate these with your team to optimize their calling opportunities.
Key takeaway: Take into account your business’s industry, market trends, and historical data to determine the best approach to outbound sales calls.
Seeking to improve your sales team’s productivity is not a one-and-done.
It’s a continuously evolving process that needs all team members to achieve. By giving your team the tools they need to complete their sales calls and spread brand awareness, they will be able to go forth and increase sales and productivity rates.