Every business wants to sell as much as possible and as quickly as it can to maximize revenue. This increases their reliance and dependency on sales staff to rake in revenue for the firm. That’s the reason sales team needs to be extremely productive and on top of their game. The more efficient and productive your sales executives are, the higher your sales figures will be.

But with only 36.6% of the sales team's time spent in actual selling according to a report by Insidesales.com, how can businesses improve sales performance and productivity?

Here are eight ways to increase the productivity of your sales team:

1. Create an Effective Onboarding Process

The first few weeks that a salesperson spends in your firm are critical to their job success. However, most businesses struggle with ensuring that sales reps are onboarded in a way that helps them settle on the job fast. Training newly hired sales staff empowers them to sell better but onboarding them properly reduces the training duration, helping them get on with their jobs. This will keep them productive right from their initial days in your organization.

Create an Effective Onboarding Process Source

To improve the productivity of your sales team, your onboarding process should focus on the following:

  • Understanding the company - its history, values, and culture
  • Building relationships with both managers and coworkers
  • Familiarizing your new hires with the workplace
  • Developing specific skills that they need to succeed on the job like communication, presentation, and pitching skills
  • Providing them with sales strategies that can help them meet the targets

Effective onboarding of new sales staff cannot be achieved in a week or even a month. But having a well designed and standardized process in place can help you achieve great results in the long-term.

2. Create a Sales Plan

A sales plan is a roadmap that provides sales executives with clear objectives, sales strategies, and details of what your sales process entails. This plan can help you improve the productivity of your sales team by making them understand how their roles contribute to the overall objective of your organization.

Available data shows that 27% of sales executives spend more than one hour each day doing data entry work as opposed to selling. The implication of this is that critical time gets lost in doing administrative work. When you have a sales plan in place, you will be able to align your sales team’s work so that their focus is on tasks that matter most. Your sales plan should also provide details on measuring sales success so that you can track the performance of your team every week.

3. Make Meetings with Sales Teams More Effective

While most companies hold weekly meetings with their sales teams, the sessions are not always effective in encouraging, informing, and infusing a sense of accountability in executives. Ideally, meetings with sales staff should enable you to:

  • get feedback on the challenges your sales staff face, frequent questions asked by prospects, what content is working and what’s not, etc.
  • review the overall health and status of your company’s sales division
  • improve the performance of the team by keeping them focused on the objectives laid out on your sales plan
  • provide the much-needed accountability mechanism for sales executives

To make your meetings effective, consider having two kinds of meetings with your sales representatives. The first one is a weekly meeting with the entire sales staff, and the second one is a one-on-one meeting with each sales executive. During the weekly session, focus on the big picture and capitalize on the feedback provided. Allow your sales managers to share important information about new products and business initiatives.

Meetings with Sales Teams Source

For one-on-one meetings, narrow down to the performance of individual sales executives. Consider using these meetings to direct your team members and coach them based on their individual needs.

4. Embrace Sales Automation

To increase the productivity of your sales team, you need to ensure efficiency in the use of time. The time sales teams spend on repetitive tasks eats into their selling time. A PWC report shows sales managers spend 41% of their time selling compared to the recommended best practice of spending at least 60% of their time selling. This is a testimony to the fact that the sales division has gaps that refrain executives from making optimum utilization of their time that ultimately hampers their productivity.

To deal with this, you need to eliminate manual work processes like data entry and replace them with automated sales workflows. This helps the sales team save time and reduces the frustration that comes with doing repetitive tasks, enabling them to focus on their core activity - which is selling.

Sales processes can be automated in different ways, including:

  • Use of email templates that may be repurposed according to clients
  • Use of explicit signals (like industry type, job title, and company size) and implicit signals (including website activity, downloads and page visits) to prioritize leads
  • Lead distribution by assigning leads to sales representatives based on company size, industry type, geographic location or deal value
  • Use of automated call logging, appointments and invoice generation to ease administrative tasks for sales executives

5. Make Use of Sales Tools

One way businesses can achieve sales automation is by investing in proper tools. Sales tools that help with organizing and tracking of data can help increase the productivity of your sales team. Such tools could include team communication apps, marketing automation apps, and customer relationship management (CRM) systems.

By keeping track of the amount of time your sales team spends interacting with customers, scheduling meetings, and emailing, you get an indication of how productive they are. Using suitable tools, sales executives can track their progress regarding the number of leads captured, deals closed, and the time they spend selling. With this data, you can understand the sales processes undertaken by individual staff members and coach them to enhance their productivity. If a tool enables your team to focus more on selling, it is worth acquiring.

6. Help Your Team Generate Quality Leads

While all salespersons are busy creating leads, not all leads generated can convert. In fact, only 25% of the leads generated by businesses advance to sales. Rather than focusing on generating many leads, your team should focus on getting quality leads that have a high chance of converting. Develop a system for qualifying leads and guide your team through the process of using that system.

For starters, create profiles of ideal customers so your sales executives know who your target audience is and where they can find them. Some of the information that you need to feature in your customer profile include:

  • The gender and age of your ideal customers
  • The size of companies where prospects are found
  • Location of those companies
  • Income levels of customer prospects
  • How your product will help your prospects
  • The problems that your prospects struggle with

This information enables your sales team to narrow their lead generation efforts and only pursue leads that will benefit the business in the long run.

7. Streamline Your Sales and Marketing Efforts

While sales and marketing functions are often viewed as inextricably linked, various companies still don’t have them aligned. In most B2B companies, these two departments run in silos with data showing that 52% of salespeople and marketers believe their teams are well aligned to realize business goals.

This silo mentality is caused by reluctance to share knowledge or information. Businesses can benefit more by streamlining their sales and marketing efforts than when they don’t. Aligning sales and marketing and developing shared metrics can significantly increase revenue and create a positive growth graph for your firm.

For this, you can create an online knowledge base where your marketing team can create valuable content, that can be accessed easily by your sales team. When sales-specific content is easily accessible, it reduces the time spent in information gathering, which helps your sales staff to pitch better and increase conversions.

8. Motivate Your Sales Team

Sales teams that are motivated tend to be more engaged and productive. Though most people might not consider it important, motivating people and giving them incentives for even the slightest improvement has a positive impact on their productivity.

To motivate your team, start by assessing the different strengths and weaknesses of your team members and familiarize yourself with their personal interests. Where possible, provide each sales representative an opportunity to do what he is good at. Track their performance and take a deliberate effort to appreciate their wins.

This appreciation could take different forms, including sending thank you notes, giving monetary rewards to recognizing them publicly. Doing will have a significant impact on their productivity in the long run.

Summing Up

Your sales staff drives business growth by selling your products. Each working day, they have limited time to generate sales - hence, how they spend their time is of utmost importance. By using the tips discussed above, you can improve the productivity of your customer support staff, sales team and ensure their activities contribute positively to your business’s bottom line.

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Brayn Wills

Brayn Wills

Knowledge Management Manager at ProProfs

Brayn Wills currently holds the position of knowledge management manager at ProProfs. He is responsible for creating unique and relevant content on knowledge base tools and keeping track of the latest developments in the realm of knowledge management. In his free time, he is either reading a new book or exploring offbeat destinations.