Company sales is what you make it to be. The CEO gives an outline, the sales executives do the monkey work but its you who makes or breaks what they achieve and how they achieve.

I like to think of the sales managers as the linchpin of growth. They fumble and a domino effect takes place which needs to be taken care of like crazy. Do you agree with me ?

Selling is evolving like a shape shifting ninja. Today, the balance of power has shifted from sales rep to customer and as a result, the sales reps are under tremendous pressure to achieve the target. Although companies are spending on training sales teams at all levels, yet most are unable to achieve the desired sales productivity.

Here’s some stats that may intrigue you:

  • 2/3 of sales reps fail to achieve their annual sales target.
  • Most sales rep on an average spends more than 50 days annually in other activities apart from core selling.
  • The deals are closed usually between 2nd and 5th meeting but only 20% of the sales reps are able to go beyond the 3rd
  • In a survey of about 2200 businesses it was found that sales teams who respond to a lead within one hour are 7 times more likely to qualify the lead than those who waited an extra hour. They were also 60 times more likely than those who waited 24 hours. ( The short life of online sales leads, HBR)

The game in sales is “multi-angled” now- You’ve got to be faster, better, more detailed and what not. The expectation of productivity is much higher than the realisation of productivity.

What is sales productivity?

Sales productivity could be defined as the amount of value of sales achieved divided by cost of resources.What’s surprising is only 20% of the average sales team are able to meet or over-achieve the target, leaving a massive scope for improvement for others

Unfortunately, there are various factors which tend to impact sales productivity-.

  • Internal pressure and expectation to achieve the target
  • No proper sales training.
  • Lack of sales processes and methodologies.
  • Lack of communication between teams.
  • Lack of synchronization between organizational goals and individual sales goals.
  • Lack of sales automation

As said my Uncle Tom – “Too much to do in too little time”. (Okay fine I dont have an uncle Tom !! )

But here’s how you can take a stab at doubling your team’s productivity and leading like a rockstar sales manager.

How to Increase Sales Productivity

1. Effective Onboarding and training: Companies need to invest both time and money in imparting training regarding effective sales methodologies and processes to make a sale. These training needs help to keep your sales rep up to the speed required.

As research indicates, 55% of the sales rep does not have the right skills.With effective on-boarding and training, there are chances of increasing the net sales per rep by 50%.

I suggest you train the teams in the 70:20:10 Model for Learning and Development thats massively popular in Fortune 500 companies. It roughly states that:

  • 70% of learning is experiential, i.e. learning on the job
  • 20% of learning is social, i.e. learning from coworkers and peers
  • 10% of learning is formal, i.e. it happens during educational classes, training programs, etc.
    Work on the latter 2 !!

2. Automation is the buzzword- On an average two-thirds of the sales rep time goes on doing mundane work other than core selling job. Most often this work is repetitive. Automate this activity so that your sales rep can spend more time on core selling activities.

I have an interesting personal story to share on this. I’m sure you understand how sometimes irritation or anger can motivate you to get into a do or die mode. It happened with me. The first time the idea for Alore CRM came into my mind it was exactly this. In my first business of running a media house I needed to prospect and cold email a lot. For months I struggled figuring out the right sales automation tool that could take care of my needs of a CRM, show its advanced analytics and update in real time. I hated the fact that I needed to find leads from one tool, then export them to a CRM to maintain my database, then schedule emails from a third tool and then track them from a fourth. I hated the time lost so much that I built my own CRM. My point here isn’t to market myself but to tell you I know how irritating time lost can be when there are goals to meet and deadlines to keep.

Automate admin jobs, sales workflow and follow up emails to save time and energy. Companies with defined workflow tend to increase their productivity manifold. In fact the average return on investment for a CRM  was found to be $8.71 for every dollar spent. ( Nucleus)

3. Align Marketing and Sales-The Sales and Marketing team should stop operating as individual teams and work more in alignment. Lack of alignment can cause the disconnect and missed opportunities resulting in loss of revenue. Both the teams need to have shared metrics and goals to increase productivity.

4. Measuring key sales productivity Metrics Measuring sales is easy as the amount of money earned is good indicator, however, measuring selling is the complex part. One of the reasons for not increase in sales productivity is lack of effective tracking it. Things which you do not measure cannot be managed. You just cannot depend on your intuition to guide your decision.Sales Productivity Metrics such as call rate, activity sales, Lead generation sales, Sales outreach, Pipeline conversion rate are a good indicator to monitor the progress. Dashboards can be used to visualize and analyze trends and also get insights into sales rep activities to take remedial measures. Proper analysis can unfurl ample opportunities for improvement thus resulting in improved sales.

5. Leverage Social media -Social media helps tremendously to engage more intelligently with buyers. A sales rep can use this platform at every stage of their sales process, right from networking to prospecting. Social media gives valuable insights about prospects which can help the sales rep tremendously to engage in meaningful conversation with the customer. According to Aberdeen research, sales rep who leverage social media are 79% more likely to overachieve their target

Happy and motivated employees are found to more productive and also achieve higher sales.

and as a totally off hand tip to you as a sales evangelist, 30 minutes of exercise and 7 hours of peaceful sleep do boost your chances of increasing your personal productivity!

Closing thoughts at this