Imagine this. You onboard your first sales team and are excited to get the ball rolling.
You give them all the fancy perks, explain your product, the sales funnel, and everything else.
A few weeks in, you see them spending most of their time updating your CRM with prospect information. That’s not what you expected of them.
Your peers tell you that it is the cost you pay for building a full-time sales team. Industry figures vet the situation — sales reps only spend 39% of their time actually selling or interacting with prospects.
Rest is wasted on handling manual tasks.
But you’re not happy with the status quo.
You want to get to the depth of the issue and make your sales teams resilient, empowered, and more productive.
That’s what brought you here. Right?
Your solution lies in tackling the problem of inefficiency by boosting sales productivity. Let’s dig deeper.
Why are sales teams inefficient?
Sales productivity has been a big challenge in tech, SaaS, IT, enterprise, and the entire B2B space for some time now.
Sales professionals have been facing several challenges revealed in the B2B Buyer Behavior Study by DemandGen Report.
- 68% of B2B professionals say it takes longer to complete a sales cycle than a year ago.
- 61% reveal that number of stakeholders involving a purchase decision has increased.
Top this with the additional burden of manual, administrative tasks and distractions, and you have a recipe for an inefficient salesforce.
COVID-19 has also impacted the sales team’s efficiency. According to a Forrester report, 54% of sales reps agreed that the inability to meet clients face-to-face hurt their ability to meet sales targets and quotas.
The same report reveals that time-draining admin tasks, inability to use tech to its full potential, and not having the right content are also the culprits behind inefficiency.
Other reasons for inefficiency include:
- Inconsistent sales strategies and processes.
- Poorly planned and non-contextual sales training sessions.
- Resistance to adapting to new sales tools and technologies
- Lack of sales and marketing alignment.
- Non-structured or undocumented ideal customer profile.
- Evolving dynamics in the sales funnel.
Why is sales productivity important?
The B2B sales domain is full of obstacles, challenges, and demons. And sales productivity can be your knight in shining armor that can protect your sales growth strategy.
Sales productivity defines the relationship between a salesperson’s inputs and output — efficiency and effectiveness.
Sales efficiency involves optimizing all the available resources on the sales team’s part to maximize sales effectiveness in terms of more sales and revenue generation. Fundamentally, building a team that prioritizes revenue generation while being resourceful.
Chasing sales productivity involves removing distractions and hurdles to efficient work while measuring the effectiveness of your sales team.
This relation between efficiency and effectiveness can be denoted in the sales productivity matrix. The matrix helps you understand your top performers.
You’d want most of your sales reps (if not all) to be in the top performer’s quadrant while minimizing the number of bottom performers.
Post-COVID, you have a solid opportunity to do so. Most sales teams have been repurposing their travel time. This leaves several extra hours per week at their disposal.
Instead of wanting them to work longer hours, you can remove barriers to productivity, empower them to automate low-impact activities, and spend more time on core selling activities.
Doing this will help you build a solid pipeline and turn your sales team into a revenue-generating powerhouse.
4 simple steps to boost sales productivity
1. Outline sales productivity metrics (KPIs)
Having a clear and structured day tied to short-term and long-term goals helps solve many problems for sales teams.
These goals work as a north star metric for the sales teams, allowing them to shift their focus on activities that push everyone closer to the goal.
A goal-oriented KPI or metric is crucial for sales productivity and boosting your potential to generate and increase revenue for your company. Here are some for you to get started:
Relevant sales productivity metrics and KPIs you can track
|To track sales efficiency, keep an eye on||To track sales effectiveness, monitor||To track sales performance, keep a record of|
|Time spent on creating content||Calls made||Average deal size|
|Time spent searching for relevant information or assets||Proposals sent||Win rate|
|Time spent on updating the CRM||Social sales interactions initiated||Percentage of sales reps meeting their monthly quota|
You can use all sorts of methods to collect productivity data from your sales team via:
- Qualitative Interviews
- Sales enablement data
- CRM analytics
Getting data about sales performance metrics based on effectiveness, efficiency, and actual impact tells you if your team is working in the right direction.
Train your sales team about the importance of these parameters and show them how each one links to the long-term growth goal. This is essential to encourage them and keep them on track.
2. Audit all sales activities
Your sales activities shouldn’t be based on hit-or-miss tactics. Instead, every action should be categorized based on urgency, time spent, and impact on revenue.
This audited approach will help you play to your strengths and optimize for sales productivity.
Here’s how you should start auditing all your sales activities:
1. Make a list of all the existing and potential sales activities.
Write down all the activities your sales team performed.
This might include:
- Creating/locating relevant content
- Sending emails
- Inviting prospects for meetings
- Writing emails
- Managing CRM
- Reporting and analytics
- Generating proposals
- Prospecting and lead qualification
2. Categorize each activity by its impact
Once you’re done listing, analyze each activity’s impact in terms of sales effectiveness. See every activity by the effect it has on moving any prospect further into the funnel and closing more deals.
Each activity should be classified in terms of high or low impact.
- High-impact activities are core activities that help in closing more deals. Lead nurturing and account-based research are some examples.
- Low-impact activities don’t have a direct impact on revenue generation. They’re vital for other activities but cannot be directly attributed to sales. Admin activities like updating the CRM, reporting, and analytics, managing internal processes, and marketing tasks such as content creation are some low-impact activities.
3. Factor in urgency
Urgency defines how soon something will drive revenue and helps set priorities. You don’t want most of your sales team focused on low-impact activities.
Urgent tasks are the ones that cannot be outsourced and directly move a lead toward turning into a customer. Researching the lead and finding the right sales enablement resources are examples of urgent tasks.
Non-urgent tasks are the ones that needn’t necessarily be the responsibility of your sales team. Someone else can do it, too.
For example, creating personalized content for sales campaigns is high-impact but non-urgent for the sales team. They’ll be wasting time if they start creating content.
|Urgent high-impact tasks||Lead research for scoring and nurturing|
|Non-urgent high-impact tasks||Creating relevant sales enablement content|
|Urgent low-impact tasks||Updating the CRM|
|Non-urgent low-impact tasks||Weekly standoffs and meetings|
Both low-impact and high-impact tasks should be marked urgent or non-urgent, which will give you a matrix comprising of four different groups:
4. Record time spent on all activities
Conduct detailed surveys and interviews with your sales team to understand how much time they spend on each of the identified activities.
You can also use your CRM and resource reporting modules (if any) to understand the time spent on each activity.
Once you’re done, gather all the data and put it together. The final report will help you understand how productive your sales team is.
|Activity||Impact (Effectiveness)||Urgency (Efficiency)||Time Spent|
|Task||High, medium, low||High, medium, low||Hours|
You’ll be able to visualize how your team is spending their time. Use the data to evaluate if any of the things they’re doing is helping you drive revenues or not.
Once you know, you can start boosting your sales productivity through activity prioritization, task delegation, sales automation, and evaluation.
3. Prioritize, delegate, automate and evaluate
It takes a lot to be successful in sales. And when it’s a lot, you surely need to optimize for wins. One way is to use all the insights on sales activities to realign your team’s entire workflow completely. This will help you be more productive in terms of sales.
Take steps that move you toward your ultimate goal — getting more sales without increasing overheads or wasting time by:
- Prioritizing high-impact, urgent activities: Empower the sales team to spend most of their time on core activities that directly impact revenue generation.
- Delegating high-impact, non-urgent activities: Align your sales and marketing teams to delegate high-impact activities like content creation. Your sales team shouldn’t have to waste time on things marketing can do. Instead, they should be empowered and supported by your marketing team that can produce sales enablement content and make it easier for the sales team to sell more.
- Automating low-impact, urgent activities: Automate recurring, monotonous tasks that are essential but time-consuming using sales automation tactics. For instance, you can automate various sales process tasks in your CRM using Encharge automation flows. The Encharge flow builder supports 14 different HubSpot steps – triggers, actions, and filters which you can use to automate pretty much any sales-related task.
- Evaluating low-impact, non-urgent activities: Rethink the need to follow standard industry practices in your sales/business model and eliminate tasks that waste time.
|What to do?||Activity Type||Example||How to do that?|
|PRIORITIZE||Urgent high-impact tasks||Lead research for scoring and nurturing||Free up your sales team’s time by automating admin tasks so that your team can spend maximum time on being more useful for prospects, guiding them, and bringing you more sales and revenues.|
|DELEGATE||Non-urgent high-impact task||Creating relevant sales enablement content||Create a strong culture of sales-marketing alignment to improve sales enablement tactics and get more closed deals.|
|AUTOMATE||Urgent low-impact tasks||Updating the CRM||Use sales and marketing automation tools to minimize duplication of efforts (like CRM updates), personalize sales enablement content, and lead nurturing. Marketing automation tools provide integrations with CRMs like HubSpot and Salesforce that you can use to automate your CRM processes.|
|EVALUATE||Non-urgent low-impact tasks||Weekly standoffs and meetings||Rethink if you need micro-management and see if it adds any value to your sales funnel. If something’s wasting time that can be spent on driving revenue, eliminate it directly.|
4. Repeat, and reap the benefits
Make sales activity audit and metrics realignment a standard practice of your monthly/quarterly realignment.
Repeat the same steps every quarter and progressively shoot up your sales productivity to see you achieve your sales goals.
You can also add this process to your sales and marketing business plan with detailed SOPs to ensure you’re always on top of revenue-generating activities.
Using automation to boost Sales productivity
Automation can be an excellent sales productivity booster. It’s like popping a pill to eliminate several productivity problems at once.
If you look at industry data, sales automation is already a norm to boost sales productivity.
- 42% of sales teams automate meeting scheduling
- 40% of the teams automate content
- 36% of the teams use automation for quote generation
- 34% of the teams use automated meeting follow-ups
- 28% of the teams use automation for lead scoring
McKinsey’s Sales automation report also states more than 30% of sales-related activities can be automated.
Automation paves the way for sales enablement leading to higher revenues.
Here are some ways you can use sales automation tools to track, measure, and optimize sales activities, boost productivity and ultimately close more sales:
1. Use automated analytics dashboards to track sales activities
Technology can help you set up dashboards and processes that would simplify tracking the performance of every sales activity.
Most CRM dashboards and marketing automation tools have deep analytics capabilities to help you plan.
Use your CRM data and predictive analytics to boost your chances of closing sales.
You can pick up metrics such as attribution, ROI, lead-to-conversion ratio, and other sales KPIs to see how your sales and marketing teams perform.
For example, you can use actionable insights based on your CRMs dashboard to understand how your sales team spends their time.
You can then analyze if they’re spending the right amount of time on high-impact activities.
Discover more: 18 sales and marketing metrics you can track to boost sales productivity
2. Automate admin and sales tasks in CRM
Automation can save a lot of time typically lost in updating status, managing campaigns, lead prioritization, fiddling with CRM, and more.
Admin tasks are already responsible for almost 15% of the effectiveness drain in any sales rep’s daily routine. If we club it with the time they spend updating CRM, typing emails, and other low-impact tasks, it accumulates to almost 65% of their time.
All this can be automated using simple automation tactics. Any automation to boost sales productivity comprises two main elements:
- CRM automation: To eliminate repetitive, manual tasks that are a challenge for streamlining sales productivity.
- Marketing automation: To automate the delivery and scheduling of top and mmiddle-of-the-funnel content with the intention of lead nurturing and turning a lead into a buyer.
|Marketing automation||CRM automation|
|Automated flows for lead nurturing and re-engagement||Updating lead status based on interactions/online activity|
|Lead scoring for prioritization of high-impact leads||Reporting and analytics based on daily tasks and sales activities|
|Automated campaign scheduling based on triggers, lead status and events||Lead assignment and analytics|
Use any modern marketing or sales automation platform to automate tedious, time-consuming activities. Encharge can help you with marketing automation at every stage of the buyer’s journey.
You can use the flow builder to capture leads, move leads through the funnel and nurture it to close more sales. The inbuilt trigger-based automation helps with user segmentation, lead scoring, nurturing, and campaign personalization.
3. Automate lead management
Sales automation can manage leads at every stage. A modern automation tool like Encharge can help you to:
Capture and segment leads
Use the flow builder to automate several operations at once. For example, a simple segmentation tactic can be triggered whenever someone fills a form on your website.
If you’re looking for a basic lead qualification, like their average budget/spends, you can have a field-based validation. Add a tag to every lead that qualifies as a high-value prospect and create a deal (for follow-up) directly in your CRM system.
If they don’t qualify, trigger an automated email sequence for sending a personalized welcome email and further lead nurturing.
Identify hot leads and assign them for sales follow-up
Say, for example, a user visits your pricing page. They’ve been visiting it repeatedly, and you already have their email recorded.
Marketing automation using Encharge can help you set up automated Slack notifications in your #sales channel for follow-ups.
You can even connect Encharge to a tool like Intercom to further nudge the lead to enquire more about the pricing by booking a demo or sales call.
Automations like these can save several hours a week, boosting sales productivity immediately.
Read More: Driving leads with marketing automation
4. Automate lead scoring and nurturing
When you’ve thousands of leads to manage every week, automation is a great idea.
Automated lead scoring can help your sales team to utilize sales enablement content, send personalized prospecting emails, and engage prospects quickly.
Read More: How to separate good leads from bad leads?
Encharge allows you to create automated flows that adjust lead scores based on their interaction and activity.
The flow builder can be triggered based on several parameters. For example, if you want to increase a lead score based on email activity, assign a trigger, and your job is done.
Here’s how to score leads using Encharge:
- Create a new automation flow
- Select triggers (for scoring) by choosing between the different available triggers
- Connect triggers with lead score action steps
Illustrative lead scoring automated flow within Encharge
For instance, every time a lead turns into an active subscriber, the lead score automatically increases by 5 points. In case they book a meeting, the lead score increases by 10 points.
This score can be seen with each account’s profile within Encharge, which the sales team can use for lead prioritization.
Leads can be automatically passed on to the marketing team for lead nurturing through automated lead nurture campaigns.
Pro tip: The Encharge HubSpot two-way sync integration will automatically sync lead scores to your HubSpot CRM. That way sales reps can use the score to focus on the best leads.
Supercharge sales productivity with Encharge
When thinking of productivity, you can’t ignore marketing automation. With the right automation strategy, you can achieve the perfect alignment between marketing and sales, giving your sales team more time to spend on what they do best — closing more deals.
Don’t believe me? Read these case studies to discover how more than 3600 businesses are using Encharge to automate and boost their conversion rates, drive revenues, and book more sales.