Ah, the old “how do I increase my team’s sales productivity” chestnut. It’s a question that’s been around since the birth of the transaction itself. How do you motivate your sales team to reach their targets while also keeping everyone fresh, focused and engaged?
Small Margins, Large Gains
We’re willing to hedge our bets that your sales team is already performing well, but you want to get that little bit extra out of them. How do you push on to the next level and close even more deals?
Most of the time you don’t need to extract huge amounts out of them. In sales, the margins are small. Even a 10 percent increase in productivity can have a significant impact on profits.
Getting your team to give that little bit extra is easier said and done, however. You need to toe the line and strike a fine balance. Don’t be too hard on them, but you can’t be a big ol’ softy either. Jobs rarely come more high pressured than sales, and the metrics for measuring success are pretty black and white. You either sell or you don’t.
With that in mind, we’ve put together some essential tips to answer the age-old question of “how to increase sales productivity”.
1) Have a Clear Process
Maybe you have that one natural salesperson. You know the type: Every lead they touch turns into a customer. They were born to sell and understand the process like a duck accepts it needs to go in the water. If you do have that staff member, great, but not every rep will be an A-star seller.
It is important to have a process in place so the system becomes the key driver of your sales, not the individuals. Create clear steps that are just as easy to follow as they are to record. Arm your sales team with scripts, pdf presentations and other material you believe will give them the edge when trying to convert leads.
Learning from previous failings is also crucial for improving your future sales process. Successfully identify gaps where something wasn’t previously working is vital for success. This will give you more clarity on the whole sales setup amongst your team and help to create a fluid structure.
2) Understand Their Conditions
The market conditions in your industry also play a significant role for how to increase sales productivity. Factor in if there is a downturn in your trade, while also keeping on top of your customers’ mindsets. Everyone is an expert, which is why staying up to date with always-changing customer behaviour is important.
Determining key factors that impact your team’s performance is vital. Get to the undercurrent of their personalities and find out their strengths and weaknesses. Teams with managers that take time to understand the psyche of their staff often perform better, so find out what makes them tick.
Focus on their strengths: Some will be good at qualifying, some at prospecting, and some at closing.
Depending on the size of your team, consider splitting them into sections, with one cold calling and the other working on closing deals. It might be worth having a separate team to upsell, too.
3) Boost your Sales Team
Every sales team has a strategy for converting leads. Yet it’s always a good idea to send your staff on training courses to learn or update skills. Perhaps you feel that your team could benefit from excelling at breaking the first barrier with an unqualified prospect.
External training options also work. Especially ones that involve the whole team, as they help with bonding and general teamwork. If you can find a day every couple of months to get the entire team involved, overall confidence should receive a boost.
There really is no substitute for good old fashion hard work. Getting each member of your team to put the hours in and learn new skills will reap the rewards.
4) Quality Control
At first glance, your team spending a significant amount of time on leads looks productive. But how good are those leads? It’s not about the quantity; it’s about the quality when it comes to sales productivity.
Vet the prospects coming in to see if they are likely to end up as customers. Don’t try and move leads along the pipeline just to fill the process – be sure that your team has the best chance of closing with high-quality leads. If you don’t have access to the decision maker, or they don’t have the budget, your salespeople are losing valuable time.
At face value, an increase in dial and talk time might seem positive. However, conversion rates across the team will decrease if these prospects don’t pass an initial phone call. Don’t be surprised if your sales see an increase with fewer leads – as long as they are quality ones. Don’t overload the call logs with cheap prospects.
5) Fewer High-Fives
This is a tricky one. You really need to know your sales team to get the balance right. If you’ve got a star player that constantly converts, you’re not going to tell them when they should take a break or how to do their job.
But when you have a full sales team, especially if the reps have a slightly lower profile, you want to create an environment that works for everyone. When your team is in the zone, making calls, following leads and being proactive, champion that consistency. Don’t let them lose focus.
Many factors can combine to throw a salesperson off track. Some distractions can’t be helped – roadworks outside the building or test fire alarms going off, for example. But some can be avoided – like a lousy customer-relationship management system…
6) Choose Software That Empowers Your Sales Team
Speaking of CRM, most managers think they need one to create a trackable sales process. The problem with this type of software is that it focuses too much on entering needless data. Instead of salespeople punching in relevant information that will help them swiftly move along their pipeline, they need to enter large amounts of info. Most of which isn’t vital to converting a lead. It is also heavily time-consuming.
A sales team can end up demoralised, which will reduce overall creativity and sales productivity. To negate this problem, find a solution that accentuates the qualities of your team, instead of hindering them.
We created noCRM because we understand the needs of salespeople. They don’t want to enter data; they want to convert leads. We wouldn’t have spent so much time fine-tuning the platform if we didn’t believe that it brought high value to a sales rep.
They need to focus on their strong points; not act as admin staff.
7) Reward Quality
When your team performs well, make sure that you acknowledge their contribution. Even small touches like giving them a gift card have a positive impact. For more significant achievements, reward the whole team with a lunch or organize an outing.
Rewarding good work will encourage them to continue aiming for set targets. It also keeps morale high and creates the right mentality across the team which, in turn, should help reduce staff turnover. Team building is an important factor in keeping a positive mentality.
8) Educate Your Audience
We all know the goal of a salesperson: to convert a lead into a customer. Sure, each one of your sales team has their tried and tested tactics to win leads, but it’s also important to drill the mentality of customer education into them.
Make sure they are trying to empower potential clients, rather than simply focusing on the sale. Customers don’t want to feel like they are being given the usual sales spiel; they want to feel educated.
If your sales team can convey the message of worth without sounding like a cliché, they are likely to convert more leads. Make a point about the importance of helping customers understand how the product in question fits their needs and brings value to their professional or personal lives.
Be careful of selling too hard, though. Convince a customer to buy a product that’s wrong for them and you could generate bad online reviews, causing long-term damage for what seemed like a short-term gain.
The result could be fewer sales in the future. Make sure the product and your target audience are a good fit.
Create a Sales Machine
Make 2018 the year that you turn your sales team into a well-oiled cog, one that is positioned to get the maximum reward for their efforts. Use the right tools, find the right leads, and turn them into the right customers.
These tips are designed to give your team a vivid structure that propels them to excel and reach set targets. Combining these methods with a fluid process that allows for visibility from management, yet hands the power of sales to salespeople, will provide the best chances of success.