5 Things You Should Be Doing To Increase Your Sales Productivity
Author: collin stewart
Jay Mount is the CEO of basix.ai, an industry-leading company that increases its clients’ conversion rates by boiling sales down to its simplest components. He joined Predictable Revenue to discuss how increasing pressure to meet growing revenue targets without scaling processes can reduce the productivity and morale of a team. He also provided five key pieces of advice to help team leaders increase their sales productivity.
1) Increase Productivity Not Expenditure
A common mistake many companies typically make is to consider spending more money as an effective solution to a problem. Whether they are facing a challenge with demand generation, or they are not getting enough meetings — all too often businesses think that the answer is increasing expenditure. However, in the same way that just buying a subscription to a gym won’t make you healthy, throwing money at a business problem won’t necessarily fix it. “We all do it,” observes Jay. “The easiest way to optimize is to look outside of ourselves: ‘I’m just going to pull these tools towards me and they’re going to make me better’. But ultimately, it’s about using it, and it’s about getting better at whatever you’re trying to accomplish.”
Simply put, sales teams should be more focused on sharpening their skills and honing their abilities than on buying new tools. This is the core of sales productivity, which Jay describes as being able to execute and reach an end result.
“So sales productivity, for me, is tying all of the elements of the actual sales process together. At the end of the day, it’s all going to come down to productivity. You might have great lead generation, a great tool kit to work with, or be really great with customers. But unless you tie those elements together it’s not going to get you the result you’re looking for.”
One of the key elements of optimizing sales productivity is through outstanding management of your sales team. By providing the right guidance, support, and direction to your staff you can make sure they are focusing their time and skills in the right places at the right times.
“It’s all to do with throughput. If you’re doing a long-distance bike ride, you don’t want to be sprinting from the very beginning. You’ll burn yourself out and won’t be consistent through the whole race. So, the productivity game allows you to remove friction, make sure you’re there for those moments when you’re going to get a win, and ensure you’re not focused on the wrong things.”
2) Keep It As Simple As Possible
Another sales productivity pitfall is to have overly complicated processes and methods. It’s important for salespeople and sales managers to simplify their approach as much as possible. “Complexity just kills sales half the time. You might get worried about whether you have your cadences configured properly, or if you have all your tools open, or whether you’re staying on top of LinkedIn, your inbox, and voicemail. But you’re starting to get distracted right there!”
Similarly, salespeople all too often spend disproportionate amounts of time thinking about the sales process itself, rather than about their prospects. “We also get in our own heads about the complexity of that sales process: ‘Oh where am I at? Did I send that last thing to them?’ And sometimes we even forget to focus on that person in front of us when we actually get them on a call or a meeting!” By streamlining processes, and trying to avoid complexity, it becomes easier to focus on the sale itself.
The aim should always be to implement procedures that require minimal input while producing the maximum rewards. For Jay it boils down to execution. He advises that you shouldn’t spend too much time trying to make tools work or orchestrating basic repetitive tasks because you take away from the sales process. “If you find yourself spending more time not selling than you are selling, you’re probably making things unnecessarily complicated.”
3) Use Templates And Establish Core Messaging
Templates are a great way to boost team productivity. Many sales tools offer this feature, including basix.ai. Companies would be wise to make use of such functionality if they have access to it. “Templates are available throughout the tool, and our philosophy is to make them available to everyone and be collaborative.”
By subsequently monitoring the use of templates and how they impact performance, companies can increase efficiency. “I like to work with the team to figure out what’s working best. Sometimes the email side of things might be better left to someone from our marketing team. We can pipe those leads into our system where certain parts are better left to the sales team who can customize them.”
This process is enhanced by establishing the organization’s core messaging beforehand. It requires ensuring that all relevant personnel have sufficient guidance on how to describe their product and approach prospects. “It gives them something to work from, it drives consistency. You can iterate and share best practice through that.”
However, companies need to ensure that their workforce is aware of the messaging and actually using it. “I’ve seen it go wrong when companies invest in a big playbook, but when you actually talk to their sales rep they don’t even know where to find it. You have to set the expectation and inspect that it’s there. Without that follow-up it’s not going to stick. It doesn’t stick for any of us without repetition.”
4) Help Teams Who Are Working From Home To Remain Productive
Since the emergence of COVID-19, most companies have had to operate with much of their staff working from home. It seems likely that this is going to be a more common way of operating even as the pandemic subsides. This makes it vital for leaders to keep their team members engaged and productive.
“It’s a tough one, especially when you’re dealing with social individuals who like being in an office together or like being in front of customers. It’s a big change, and it is going to be tough for everybody. If you’re not careful, they’ll feel like they’re rolling out of bed, eating breakfast and then working. Then at some point that stops, and you go back to bed, and it’s just the next day again. Like Groundhog Day.”
These feelings of unending repetition can be a serious barrier to your workforce feeling excited and energized about their roles. This in turn can have a significantly negative impact on sales figures. The key to avoiding this is finding ways to break up the monotony and to keep employees feeling like they are part of a team.
“What we’ve done, and what we’ve seen working for other people, is finding ways to stay connected and provide a routine for that day.” This entails establishing routines and giving people some structure to help them stay connected. That way they don’t feel so isolated.
5) The Right Time To Prospect And To Sell Is Now
When is the ideal time to prospect and to sell? Jay explains that the answer is now — when you’re excited, bringing energy to conversations and engaging people. This relates back to not over-complicating things. It’s more important to engage with prospects, send cold emails, and make cold calls, than it is to spend an hour configuring a sales tool.
“When’s the right time for prospecting? It’s now. When’s the right time for selling? It’s now too. You need to just start. We can all get in our own heads and start thinking things like: ‘we have to do an extra hour of research’ or ‘we need to really know all these things before we get started’. Well, you might do all that and then find it’s not a fit right out the gate. So, the best thing to do is to see it as a process and just start selling.”
You might not be hugely successful at first, but that does not mean you have wasted your time by trying. Sales is a skill, and like any skill the more you do it, the quicker you will improve. “So that first call, you might over analyze it to death. But it’s the 100th call that’s going to be great, and the 500th call that’s going to be awesome. The sooner you start, the sooner you get the 500.”
If you would like to hear more of Jay’s tips and advice on increasing sales productivity, including when the right time to hire a Sales Operations professional is, watch the full discussion with Predictable Revenue here.
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