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7 Strategies You Can Use To Improve Sales Productivity

Sales productivity has a direct impact on revenue and is a key factor in the success of nearly any business.

Improving sales productivity means maximizing results and minimizing the resources used. This is no easy task.

Studies show sobering statistics about the state of sales productivity. A study by Aberdeen Group reports that two-thirds of sales reps fail to reach their annual sales quota, and only 20% of sales reps are top performers. This reflects the reality that the majority of salespeople have significant room for improvement.

Why is this? In part it is due to the fact that salespeople have a lot on their plate that has nothing to do with selling. A recent study estimates that sales reps only spend about 37% of their time on activities actually related to selling.

What can we do about this? To start, try these 7 strategies to improve sales productivity.

Prioritize

Busier salespeople are not necessarily more productive. One of the best-kept secrets for effective and productive work is very simple: get your priorities straight. This allows you to work smarter, not longer.

A study conducted by Wrike shows that over half of sales reps are unclear about their priorities. This confusion negatively impacts sales reps ability to accomplish key goals. The best team managers take the time to outline and explain both individual and group priorities.

Eliminate or Automate Extra Tasks

Though multitasking is often seen as an asset, research shows that it is often counterproductive. The same Wrike study shows that 60% of sales reps struggle with working on too many things once.

Sales reps only spend about one-third of their time actually selling, and administrative tasks are responsible for a large part of the drain on productiveness

Simple steps like automating email responses can cut down on busy-work, but technology can do a lot more than that these days. Setting up web campaigns that give prospects easy access to informational content, video tutorials, and product reviews can help push prospects further down your sales funnel before involving sales reps.

How to Increase Productivity: Measure Everything

Measure Everything

Many companies fail to improve sales productivity because they don’t consistently track key metrics.  CIO Insights reports that disorganized data and limited visibility of metrics presents problems for 40% of sales organizations.

Data quality and visibility is essential to gaining key productivity insights and track improvement. In fact, the most successful sales teams are often the most data-focused. A recent Accenture report shows that 57% of high performing sales teams rely heavily on sales analytics, compared with 16% of underperforming sales teams.

Invest in Sales Enablement Technologies

Strategically chosen cales enablement technology can have a big impact on sales productivity. 

Sales gamification solutions are a powerful addition to classic CRM systems. Primarily designed to motivate sales teams, they help get sales reps more engaged in daily activities, and motivate teams with healthy competition.

Use Your CRM

CRMs play a huge role in many sales organizations today, but achieving good user adoption can be a struggle.

Consider that the average sales rep needs to update over 300 CRM records per week. It’s no surprise that companies are more and more turning towards tech solutions to enhance CRM data and usage.

CRM user adoption has declined as processes become more complex, and surveys show that reps waste a lot of time trying to interpret and organize CRM data. Automating and simplifying the CRM updating process can go a long way to cut down on frustration.

Data visualization is also key to user adoption. Keeping data visible helps create accountability and transparency. Reps are more likely to update data regularly and not let a backlog pile up, and data errors are easier to spot.  Sales leaderboards are an extremely useful tool for live data visualization.  Real-time performance broadcasting helps improve data quality and boost awareness of your KPIs.

Improve Sales Productivity: Work in your priorities

 

Recognize

Positive reinforcement is as powerful as it can be simple. Recognizing team members for their successes, big and small, can go a long way to incentivize productivity and enhance performance. A culture of positive and constructive feedback helps build a healthy sales organization. 

Team engagement and dedication, while hard to measure numerically, are important motivators of sales productivity. Thus, recognition and support should be encouraged both from sales team managers and peers alike. 

Communicate With Your Team

Last but not least, it’s you can’t take sales productivity to the next level without good communication with your sales team. Sales reps need to know and to be constantly reminded of priorities and expectations. More is more in this case. A Harvard Business Review survey revealed that 70% of employees are more engaged when senior leadership continually updates and communicates company strategies.

Still, communication is not just about passing along information. Encouragement, and engaging employees in open dialogue are key to building a healthy sales team.

Improve Sales Productivity: Communicate With Your Team

 

How can Hurrah! Help Improve Productivity for Sales Teams?

When it comes to improving sales productivity, we like to think of Hurrah! Leaderboards as the ultimate tech solution.

  • Recognize

    Celebrate achievements instantly with real-time recognition.

  • Communicate

    Communicate goals and strategies with your team.

  • Engage

    Enhance employee engagement with gamification.

  • Adopt

    Improve CRM user engagement and data transparency with live metrics displays.

Did you find this article helpful? Would you like to try Hurrah! for free? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

Try Hurrah! for Free

 

3 Tips to Become a Rainmaker in Sales & CRM

What are the best days and times to close sales? Why shouldn’t you drink coffee in a sales meeting? When having lunch with customers, why should you take the best seat at the table? Why should you never ‘be in a meeting’ when a customer calls? Why do breakfast meetings make rain?

These are some of the questions and rules brought up in the book ‘How to Become a Rainmaker. The Rules for Getting and Keeping Customers and Clients’ by Jeffrey J. Fox. This is a bestseller about selling and if you haven’t read it yet and you want to be above average, you should.

It was great information for me and so I wanted to share just three concrete examples where Mr. Fox’s advice + the use of a CRM platform like Microsoft Dynamics CRM and some gamification techniques, will help  you make rain!

1) Always Precall Every Sales Call

As Mr. Fox states, appointments with decision makers are relatively rare events. And yet Meeting with decision makers is crucial to getting the sale. Because of this, meetings (now very commonly held virtually) with decision makers must be carefully planned.

In his book, Mr. Fox says that “Ninety percent of all sales calls are won or lost before the salesperson sees the customer. This is because so few salespeople actually plan their calls…Rainmakers never waste a sales call: they always make a Pre call plan.”

 

What does that mean in the CRM world? Adopting, adapting and implementing a simple checklist like the book suggests into your CRM. It should be no more than adding some fields to the PhoneCall system entity to help you and your sales team make more effective sales calls and save valuable time for next phone calls.

Example:

  • Sales Call Objectives
  • Relevant questions to ask
  • What am I going to show in this call?
  • Anticipated customer concerns and objections
  • Points of differences with competitors
  • Which dollarization benefits to the customer will  I share today?
  • Expected results and next steps from the call
  • Expected surprises?

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‘A Rainmaker never calls on a decision maker without a written precall plan’, Jeffrey J. Fox.

2) Fish Where the Big Fish Are

It makes no sense to waste your time, money and energy chasing poorly qualified opportunities or low profit deals, aka small fish!

Making good use of CRM can substantially improve your accuracy when qualifying opportunities and best of all, decrease headaches and increase  revenue.  How can that be  accomplished? 3 very simple ideas:

  • Exploit the new Business Process Flows (BPFs) introduced with CRM 2013 (unfortunately I have seen very few customers  using it to its potential). Mandatory “Yes/No” questions aligned with Mr. Fox’s concepts i.e. ‘Current customer?’, ‘Contact is familiar with our products?’, ‘Want or need our products’,  ‘contact is decision maker?’, ‘I know about budget’, ‘We are first bidder’, ) combined with options (i.e. timeframe, purchase process) and stage may be very useful. Example:

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  • Leverage Business Rules, also introduced with CRM 2013. Visually display your rules that have been proven successful in qualifying  or disqualifying opportunities. By that, I mean proactively alert the sales rep the opportunity doesn’t fit with some proven criteria. For example, if your contact isn’t a decision maker, and you don’t know the budget then a suggested action is to diplomatically skip this one and invest the time in other opportunities.
  • Start your day with dashboards, not records! Dashboards (customized  internally ), can quickly tell you things like: your top opportunities, your top customers, # of opportunities won/lost by customer, $ in revenue by customer, # of phone calls by customer or opportunity, % quota achieved (if combined with CRM goals) besides of course, the most common charts like sales funnel. Work from dashboards and drill down to records, see the forest first, then focus on the right trees.

dashboards

 

  • Celebrate BIG sales! As Mr. Fox states the big sale is the trophy fish on the wall’, a phrase I couldn’t agree with more!. And I am very happy when customers tell us stories about how much their sales people love to see their picture on the widescreen through Hurrah! Leaderboards after a gong rings or a goal is scored celebrating a BIG SALE!

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3) Use the Point System Every Day!

I will re-state the author’s advice here:

‘There are four steps which are part of every sale:

  1. Getting a lead, a referral, an introduction to a decision maker.
  2. Getting an appointment to meet the decision maker.
  3. Meeting the decision maker face-to-face.
  4. Getting a commitment to a close (a purchase) or to an action that directly leads to a close.

Assign one point to Step 1, two points to Step 2, three points to Step 3, and four points to Step 4.”

 

Of course,the  number of points and everyday targets may vary from business to business but gamification of your CRM will allow you to assign points to important business processes and keep everyone focussed and on track.

We at CRMGamified offer tools to award and keep track of points and progress toward well qualified opportunities with great profit and revenue potential.  Gamification of your CRM helps you develop rainmakers and increase success for all.

 

Look how easy it is using Dynamics CRM and our Motivation Engine:

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That’s a pretty simple but common rule, including the creation of a record (in this case Lead), that meets some condition or conditions.

Very similar configuration can quickly be done for appointments, phone calls, opportunities and actually whatever system or custom entity you may be using in your Dynamics CRM to track sales data.

Oh! Who is going to make it rain this month? Visually design a badge and define a more difficult rule like generating 10 new opportunities this month with actual revenue >5.000 and closing 2 of them. You may want to include making certain number of phone calls or appointments as well.

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Moreover, if you’re in a management role, you may want to know in real time how your sales team is performing, encouraging the behaviors that drive more sales:

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While if you are in a sales position aiming to improve your stands, you will love to see how nice your trophies and your next upcoming missions look.

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There is a lot more to be done but I hope this post briefly helps to leverage Mr. Fox concepts through a real and fast way of bringing them to action.

Leave your comment below with opinions on how to improve sales performance with Dynamics CRM!

 

Cheers!

PP

@pabloperalta

MVP | Microsoft Dynamics CRM

PS:  Of course if interested, I will be happy to demo our Motivation Engine as well as our TV Leaderboards for Dynamics CRM any time for you. Just try the chat below or simply click Get a Demo link.