Strategies to maximize your sales productivity

sales productivity(This article was originally published by HubSpot.com and has been edited for both content and style.)

Sales productivity – the time your team spends selling – has decreased. According to LinkedIn, sellers spend less than 30% of their time actually selling. Administrative tasks and non-selling responsibilities put a strain on your salespeople.

Increasing the productivity of your team is essential to increasing the revenue of your company. In this article you will learn the ins and outs of sales productivity. That includes tips to increase the time your salespeople spend selling.

What is sales productivity?

Sales productivity is a measure of how effectively and efficiently salespeople generate revenue. Tracking sales productivity can help you identify areas where your sales force can improve.

Why should sales productivity be measured?

Sales productivity has a direct impact on your bottom line. When sales productivity is low, salespeople don’t generate enough revenue to cover their costs. In some cases, low sales productivity can even mean that a company loses money.

The average salesperson spends only a third of their time selling. The rest of their day is taken up with administrative tasks. That includes emails, research, training, internal meetings and data management.

The solution is twofold. You must:

  1. Find ways to increase the time salespeople spend selling.
  2. Ensure that the time actually spent on sales maximizes efficiency.

By tracking sales productivity, your company can make changes to its processes and strategies that can increase the number of deals closed.

Improving productivity can also have a positive effect on morale. Representatives are happier because they spend more time doing what they like and less time doing what they don’t, while generating more revenue in less time.

Sales Productivity Challenges

Before we share the key to increasing sales productivity, let’s take a look at the three root causes of the problems sales organizations have faced for decades.

Complexity

Selling is more complicated these days. There are more touch points and buyers are more sophisticated. In addition, the technology that reps use changes almost daily.

Chaos

Entropy is always increasing, and so is the chaos that comes with managing current sales interactions. Differences between sellers are becoming increasingly nuanced. Despite record investments in data and analytics, sellers are facing more uncertainty than ever.

context

Online decision making has blown up the alignment and synchronicity that existed in traditional buy/sell situations. This has put sellers at a contextual disadvantage. Coupled with modern demand generation strategies, salespeople spend more time managing administrative tasks than managing the sales process.

How to measure sales productivity

Efficiency and effectiveness are two ways to understand your team’s productivity. Sales efficiency measures how many opportunities a sales rep converts into actual sales. This can help you understand the steps in your buyer’s journey and potential barriers to buying.

For example, more than one in five sales professionals say that the length of the sales process is why prospects pull out of deals. If your team is affected, you can focus on finding ways to remove unnecessary steps from your sales process.

Meanwhile, sales effectiveness measures how well salespeople close deals and generate revenue. Effectiveness can help you understand how well your sales operations are working. This is how 61% of sales professionals thought it was set up Face-to-face meetings were the best way to convert B2B customers in 2022. This would show that these meetings are effective.

Within these categories, your team can focus on more specific metrics. The number of sales per hour worked is one of the most popular measures. This metric can help you see how effective your sales team is at monetizing during their sales time.

Another way to measure sales productivity is to look at the number of sales per contact. This metric can help you see how well your sales team is converting leads into customers.

Finally, you can also measure sales productivity by looking at the number of sales per seller. This metric can help you see how effective your sales force is as a whole and identify areas where you need to improve.

Understanding your team’s performance can help you identify and resolve a productivity drop. To see the most popular stats that sales teams are tracking in 2022, according to research data from HubSpot.

How to improve sales productivity

Provide training

One way to improve sales productivity is to offer sales training and development programs. These programs can help salespeople learn new skills and strategies that can make them more effective at monetizing.

Implementing software solutions

Sales automation software can help you free up your team’s time. Find software that can help with administrative tasks. Plus, sales intelligence tools can help salespeople collect data and information about their prospects so they can close more deals.

Use incentives

If morale has created a barrier to productivity, you can use incentives to keep your team motivated. Sales contests and commission structures can motivate sellers to sell more and close more deals.

Sales Productivity Tools

There are several sales productivity tools that can help increase efficiency. We dive into popular solutions below to help you discover the best options for your team.

CRM systems

A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system can help your team track leads, deals, and customers. CRMs can also provide salespeople with information about their customers so they can sell more effectively.

From sales leaders, 22% mention making the most of their CRM as their top target in 2022, research from HubSpot shows.

Sales automation

Sales automation uses software to automate repetitive tasks so your team can spend more time working directly with prospects and closing deals. That often includes emailing prospects, scheduling sales meetings, and creating sales reports. Our recent State of Marketing Report found that 45% of the sales force uses automation.

Sales Intelligence Software

Sales intelligence software collects data and information that can facilitate the sales process. That includes tying down industry-specific talking points for contacts before outreaching.

Sales intelligence tools can also help your team find contact information, track prospects’ social media activities, and identify buying signals. Popular options include LinkedIn Sales Navigator, ZoomInfo SalesOS, and Apollo.io.

Other useful tips

With a targeted approach, sales productivity can be improved. Here are a few additional ways you can improve sales productivity across your organization.

Map the customer acquisition process

The more complex your offering, the greater the variance and complexity in your customer acquisition process. While creating a repeatable process when the process is different every time may seem like an insurmountable problem, in reality it isn’t. The key is to view the process through an “object lens”.

Do not develop your methodology from A to Z; instead, map the system and find the waypoints. By mapping the system in this way, you can find the key inflection points where adjustments take place.

This allows you to turn your repeatable process into a series of repeatable mini-processes that can be connected as needed.

Create a clearly defined Service Level Agreement (SLA)

Large sales organizations have crystal-clear service-level agreements that define what each lead definition means, the protocols for managing those leads, and what is expected of each aspect of the revenue-generating team.

A strong SLA allows everyone, especially salespeople, to spend their ‘thinking time’ on sales situations, rather than figuring out what to do and when to do it. This provides more discipline and speed.

Designing and performing contextual plays

Salespeople run their sales pace like a poorly programmed bot, or they have to spend so much time thinking about what to do that they don’t have the time or brainpower to focus on the conversation taking place.

Contextual games free a salesperson’s genius to focus on their most important asset: the prospect/customer.

Integrate and automate your playbook

Playbooks are powerful. If you don’t have a defined and documented playbook, you’re at a disadvantage.

However, if your salespeople need to think about or refer to the playbook, your playbook won’t work. Representatives shouldn’t be thinking about the script. The script must be integrated and automated within the existing systems.

Maximize your sales productivity

Sales productivity is an important aspect of your business. By tracking sales productivity, companies can make changes to their sales process and sales strategy to help salespeople be more effective at their jobs and close more deals. By making these changes, you can increase sales and revenue for your business.

The key to maximizing the productivity of your sales force is to equip them with the right tools and resources.

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