Increasing sales is on every organisation’s wish list. Yet, sales representatives across organisations spend only a third of their time doing their job. 31% of their time is wasted searching for/creating relevant content, while another 20% is spent on CRM, administrative and reporting tasks. Clearly, there is a disconnect between what organisations want and the support they provide to their sales teams to accomplish it.
If ‘maximizing sales productivity’ is a constant refrain at your organization, maybe it’s time to take a harder look at how (and if) you are empowering your sales team. Ask yourself these essential questions:
1. Are you providing the right tools?
Sales personnel are seldom at their desks – they are either on the field meeting or calling prospects, travelling, or working odd hours -often from home. Remote access to real time data anytime, anywhere, and on any device is critical to their performance. Secure enterprise mobility technologies and tools that help your sales staff easily draft, edit, upload, and download purchase orders, contracts, get e-signatures, etc. are great productivity enablers.
2. Do you have an effective sales leads’ qualification and nurturing strategy?
Nurtured leads bring 47% higher sales over those that are not and the responsibility of nurturing leads does not rest exclusively on the sales team’s shoulders. Marketing (including content and design), product, and customer support teams must come together to improve lead quality, weed out unrated leads, and improve conversion rates at each stage of the sales cycle. Framebridge, an eCommerce site that sells custom photo frames does a great job of nurturing sales leads by sending educational emails – informative content that teaches readers a relevant skill.
3. The carrots that you dangle in front of your sales staff – are they juicy enough?
Are your pay scales and incentives at par with or better than competitors - to attract and retain top sales talent? Money is one of the greatest motivators for anyone, more so for sales people who are used to being around it all the time – closing big deals, bagging incentives, etc. That said, there’s no reason why you can’t get creative. Try basing your incentive structure on common productivity pitfalls for sales reps, like how many calls/meetings they do, networking initiatives, etc.
4. Are you training them right?
Spending on training for your sales workforce should be viewed as an investment, not an expense. Because nearly 50% of high-growth companies spend significant dollars on sales-force training, compared to 29% of slow growth firms. Be it technical or sales process training or annually gathering your geographically spread sales teams together to share best practices and learnings from customer experiences, it all adds up.
5. Do you have their back?
How do you tell your sales teams that you are behind them 100 percent? By arming them with a powerful sales-friendly customer support and administrative system. From lead prioritization and automated nurturing to simplifying reporting, tracking, and providing data-driven insights to scale sales campaigns up/down, a good CRM software can streamline the entire sales lifecycle. Studies show a 41% increase in revenue per sales person with the use of effective CRM strategies. Also, look at hiring more temporary sales support staff to allow your sales resources to focus on the work that really matters.
Take a look at these facts - the performance of the top 20th percentile of the sales team outpaces that of the rest of the sales team by 10 to 20 times.
The cost of hiring top sales talent from competitors is shooting through the roof. This means holding on to top sales people is more difficult and important than ever before. While the best practices we’ve shared here are sure to get you off to a good start in terms of boosting sales force productivity, innovation is the need of the hour. After all, when employers show their employees that ‘they care’, it truly makes a difference.