Generate more revenue. Improve market agility. Grow your business.
These are three primary goals of pretty much every organization. They’re universal pillars of success. However, they all rely on one crucial element: your sales team.
Without sales, you can’t generate revenue, which gives you resources to adjust to changing market conditions which allows you to grow your business over time. To achieve these three seminal goals, you need a sales team that’s dialed into their processes and operating within the most productive workflows possible.
Easier said than done, right? That’s why we’re here. Optimizing your sales processes is hard enough without also having to figure out how to get your team to be more productive overall.
In this post, I chat with Amanda Sleger, Director of Sales and Marketing, who gives us some expert insights into how your sales team can work together with marketers to become more productive and effective.
Understanding Sales Productivity
Different organizations define sales productivity in different ways. Overall, it’s the measurement of your team’s effectiveness vs. efficiency — meaning you drive more sales without hiring more people or working more hours. A “more sales per capita” model, if you will.
Productivity is influenced by a number of different factors, including:
- Motivation or lack of it
- Amount of admin work a seller is responsible for
- Resources they have available to help them in the sales process
- Tools available to lighten the workload
“Resources like email templates, pre-created content and clear processes are incredibly valuable because they’re easily duplicated across multiple sales opportunities,” Amanda notes. “It can save your salespeople tons of time to have these things ready to go.”
Metrics to Watch
Measuring productivity might seem difficult, but some key performance indicators (KPIs) can help you determine if your team is achieving the most for their time.
- Contacts created — How many new contacts did each sales rep get from emails, calls, social media outreach etc.? You can even segment these results to find the most effective channels for your team.
- Deals created — Of those contacts, how many have a deal created in the pipeline?
- Deals in each stage — How are deals spread across each stage? Are there enough deals about to close and enough new deals coming in?
- Won/Lost ratio — How many leads, on average, are turning into customers?
- Time to close — How much time does one of your sales reps have to spend nurturing a lead, on average, before they convert to a customer?
“You can measure these across the entire team and individually to get a sense of how each team member is contributing to the business's overall success,” Amanda explains. “It also gives you a starting point for setting realistic goals and benchmarks for productivity.”
Now that we know how to measure sales productivity, let’s learn how to put it into practice.
Strategies to Enhance Sales Productivity
Of all the strategies out there, Amanda recommends implementing the following five:
- Effective time management
- Streamline the sales process
- Align sales and marketing
- Empower your sales team
- Utilizing technology
1. Effective Time Management
“Prioritizing tasks and managing your time effectively is super important in sales,” Amanda says. “Trust is built during the sales process and your team will set the expectation of the client experience. If the sales process isn’t given priority, it can leave a bad taste in the mouth of leads and prospects.”
Your sales team needs guiding principles and best practices to maximize their time and minimize distractions. Amanda recommends taking the following three steps:
- Block out time on your calendars for administrative tasks and follow up activities.
- Create a process and resources for sellers to use as they nurture leads.
- Structure your team and tech stack to take as much admin work off your seller as you can. This allows them to spend more time doing business and less time managing the back end.
2. Streamlining the Sales Process
Another way to promote productivity is to evaluate and optimize your sales funnel so it’s easy for your team to work within.
“Review what is and isn’t being used and where leads are falling off in their customer journey,” Amanda suggests. “You can use A/B testing on your content, offers and messaging at these stages to find better ways to resonate with your audience.”
Assessing the strengths and weaknesses of your process isn’t the only way to streamline. You should also consider how automation can help your sales team save time and boost productivity. Amanda notes a few different repetitive tasks that can easily be automated and improve efficiency:
- Sales follow up emails using sequences (in HubSpot).
- Task reminders for social connections, phone calls and quick outreach with potential customers.
- Templated email messaging, contract language and product descriptions that can easily be added to any communication.
3. Aligning Sales and Marketing
Productivity is a group effort, so you can’t forget about your marketing team when trying to make sales more efficient. After all, the leads you work and potential customers in your pipeline all come through the marketing campaigns your business runs.
You could fill an entire blog about aligning sales and marketing teams — and we have; read it here — but the central tenant of this task is to create shared goals and strategies. Neither team should operate in a silo and both need to be pushing toward the same business goals.
Take time to schedule regular meetings between these two departments so you can coordinate efforts, review sales performance and make adjustments together. This not only improves your sales team’s efforts but also creates more consistency for the customer as they move closer to a purchase.
4. Empowering Sales Teams
“Empowering your sales team with training and development opportunities can go a long way to making everyone more productive,” Amanda says. “It shows that you care about their success and want to help them reach their goal, so you can reach your company goals.”
She adds that having a sales methodology that aligns with your brand (Sandler, Zig Zigler, Challenger Sales) can help your team hone their skills. Hold team meetings and training sessions where you teach them how to apply this methodology in their interactions to help them improve their performance.
“You should also expose them to the post-sales customer experience so they can speak to prospects from a place of experience. This will foster much more valuable conversations during the sales process.”
Every training needs the right tools to accompany it. HubSpot Playbooks makes onboarding and sales training easier for sales managers by compiling the organization’s sales strategies, approaches and methodology all in one place.
Amanda also recommends call recording tools like Avoma to help you review and share sales calls, and gifting platforms like onGoody or Postal to make a potential customer’s experience unique.
“Above all, you need to be in the trenches with your team,” she says. “Show them how it’s done by example and don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty helping them close deals.”
5. Utilizing Technology
Finally, we cannot ignore the fact that we live in a digital world that requires digital tools to succeed. The bottom line is: Your sales efficiency is directly tied to the sales productivity tools you’re using.
There are plenty of ways to promote sales enablement through high-tech tools like automation and AI. In Amanda’s opinion, the role of technology in sales is to take on mundane, repetitive sales activities so that your team can focus on building customer relationships and moving leads through the sales cycle.
Some areas where AI and sales automation can be helpful include:
- Editing and proofreading emails.
- Changing the tone of voice in templated emails for different audiences.
- Lead generation tasks such as researching new clients or industries.
- Setting reminders and tasks for your team as prospects move through the sales pipeline.
“AI is great!” Amanda notes. “It’s a super powerful tool, but it won’t replace the human element of the sales process. You’ll always need sales professionals in your organization to make that connection with potential customers and push deals over the finish line.”
BONUS: Sales CRM
To be really effective, your entire team needs to be on the same page. That’s why you need a Sales CRM like HubSpot or Salesforce. You should have a standard process for using the CRM, tracking leads and setting or assigning tasks so it’s uniform across the board. This saves your team time and ensures more accurate sales reporting.
The key to getting the most out of your CRM is to look for one that’s powerful and customizable.
Powerful means the CRM has enough functions and integrations to lighten the load of your sales people. You want to get the most bang for your buck, so streamlining your sales process with automations should be a primary focus. Many CRMs can also track lead activity, such as if a prospect opened your email or what pages they visited on your site.
Customizable means...well, that you can customize it! Being able to make a CRM your own is an easy way to make sure it’s working its hardest for your benefit. Every business is different, so don’t settle for a stringent CRM that locks you into their protocols. To be truly effective and efficient, you want something you can tailor your needs and workflows that’s still easy to use and understand.
As with any task, increasing productivity and improving sales effectiveness comes with challenges. Amanda notes two major hurdles:
- Lack of motivation. The average sales person thrives in conversations and feels bogged down by administrative tasks and paperwork. Organizations should leverage tools, apps and automations that take away the rote tasks and leave their team more time to focus on “deep think” work.
- Too much to do. Some sales organizations simply give their team members too much to do. Win rates might look low, but it’s only because there’s so much administrative work associated with nurturing a potential customer that they don’t have time to spend with the most qualified leads. Take a step back and assess if the amount of work your sales reps are responsible for is realistic? Is it making the most of their efforts? Where can you lighten the load?
“It’s important to have your sales leaders rally around your sales team, share wins and give kudos,” Amanda says. “The more you can support them and allow them to focus on their zone of genius, the more productive they’ll be and the better they’ll perform.”
Boost Your Team to New Heights
Your sales team’s productivity directly impacts your business’s bottom line. That’s why it’s important to set your team up for success with the right processes, tools and culture to foster robust performance. One of the easiest ways to do this is with your sales tools.
We help businesses leverage the power of HubSpot to facilitate growth and reach their goals. Reach out to us today to see how Sales Hub can help your team be more productive and effective!