No matter how good you are at generating leads and closing sales, we could always stand to keep improving and getting better. The higher your sales productivity numbers, the happier everyone is. This is especially critical now, with the pandemic creating economic obstacles and impacting businesses across the world.
But January is coming, and a new year is a chance at a fresh start for everyone. We’ve assembled a few of the best tips for boosting your sales productivity, so you’ll be ready for things to take off in a big way in 2021.
Sales Productivity: What Is It, Anyway?
So what does “sales productivity” even mean? Over the years, it’s come to be something of a general term but has a very specific meaning at its core.
Sales productivity means maximizing your sales results while minimizing the resources spent to achieve those results. In this case, “resources” might be money, time, effort, or (usually) all three. Sales productivity means not only getting good results with the resources you have on hand but also improving those results without spending more resources (like hiring new personnel or putting in more working hours).
On the most granular level, this means maximizing the amount of revenue each of your sales reps generates, without overworking or burnout and the resulting turnover. One of the best ways to do that is to give your sales reps more tools and time to do what they do best.
Sales Rep Training
While some fundamental principles of sales remain the same, sales is nonetheless a constantly evolving field, especially in the 21st century. Your business strategy will, should, and must evolve, and your sales techniques will have to evolve with it.
For existing employees, this is best served by ongoing coaching. Most training information is forgotten within a matter of weeks, and more information is constantly coming in: buyer personas, product information, selling spaces, and so on. Keeping your sales reps current and informed should be an essential part of your strategy. Even a few hours a month can make a big difference in the development of your sales force.
No one relishes the idea of more meetings, but a weekly or monthly meeting with your team to see how they’re feeling can be vital, even if it’s a virtual one. This is especially useful for new hires who are still trying to find their feet in the organization.
Smooth Out the Onboarding Process
Speaking of new employees — one of the biggest obstacles to maximum sales productivity can be the time required to get new hires up to speed. The initial training process can be time-consuming and complicated, but your new team members must have great training materials, a solid training program, and mentoring by more senior representatives to guide them through the process. Nail the training portion of the process, and your sales productivity will be way up before you know it.
Automating and Outsourcing
One of the most effective ways you can optimize your sales productivity is to minimize the impact of repetitive, tedious, or menial tasks. In every business, there is “grunt work” that always needs to be done — but you can get it done faster with the judicious application of automation tools and outsourcing.
A few ways you can streamline your process with automation:
- Employ drip campaigns and email sequences to handle follow-up, reminders, and customer relations emails, rather than writing them individually or using manual templates.
- Supplement your customer relations support with help desk software or an AI chatbot.
- Simplify financial tasks with payroll software and apps for scanning receipts and paying bills.
- Automate your data backups so you don’t have to set aside time to manage it.
- Simplify social media interactions across multiple platforms with apps like HootSuite.
For those tasks that need to be done but can’t be trusted to automation, consider outsourcing them to contractors or other companies.
Tasks like booking meetings, preparing invoices, or scheduling conferences could be better handled by a virtual assistant or another outside source, rather than taking up your sales reps’ valuable time with administrative tasks. After all, your sales reps are the engine that drives your business — why not pay someone else to do the tasks that don’t directly impact your sales?
Bringing It All Together
Fine-tuning your sales productivity will be a gradual and ongoing process, and will almost certainly require some trial and error. Careful tracking of analytics and vital sales data will help you stay on course and determine if the changes you’re making are the right ones for the company. As with anything new, there will be an up-front investment of time and effort to embrace the new tools and processes, but over time, that effort will pay off in more business and bigger sales for you in 2021 and beyond.