Strategies to improve sales productivity

Looks pretty busy in the sales department right? Lots of phone calls going on, plenty of email traffic and face-to-face meetings being set up? Sounds great? So why do you need to worry about how productive they’re being if they’re clearly working hard?

The problem lies in whether your sales department is working productively or just working! Productivity is measured as the ratio of output effectiveness (value of sales made) to input effort (the sales budget).  Maximising productivity means the least you can per pound earned and clearly, that will have a knock-on effect on the success of your sales process as well as your balance sheet at the end of the year.

Invest in training

You can’t sell a product you don’t know. Even your best sales rep needs to keep up to date with market, with evolving buying processes, and changing best practice methodology. Scheduling in regular sales training time for the whole team will give them the opportunity to attend strategic sales workshops, learn new aspects of your CRM or simply catch up the latest innovations from your competitors.

Use your CRM

Far too many CRM systems are used as nothing more than fancy contact databases. That’s rather like buying an iPhone and only ever making phone calls on it. Train your sales department to actually use the CRM to record and then to influence the sales process. Use it track what it takes to clinch deals and use it to influence future sales cycles.

Implement robust sales processes

Of course, in order to improve your sales processes you actually need to have some! Your staff should be following the same steps for the same type of contracts each time. This is another area your CRM can manage if you let it. Automated tools can set up templates with customer contacts, notify salespeople when they need to make a contact, who else is involved and allow them to identify good leads faster enabling them to concentrate their resources on the sales cycles that are most likely to lead to a successful conclusion. Not wasting your time is key to improving productivity.

Listen to your analytics

Your CRM should be a goldmine of customer data and, when you use it effectively it will produce analysis (i.e. keyword analysis) that can be used to point you in the direction of better processes and more likely new customers. But that can only happen if you are prepared to listen to what the data is telling you. It might come as a shock to see a sales graph dropping but instead of ignoring the message take it as a call to action. Use your CRM to tell you where you’re struggling and allow it to help you redesign your processes to target the areas where you’re not performing as well as you could. And then use some of your training time to disseminate the findings to the whole sales team ensuring that they all know what they should be focussing on and what they need to do to improve.

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