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April 20, 2016
Sales  |  5 min read

Proven Tips for Improving Sales Productivity

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Melissa Andrews

Improving sales productivity is a challenge for most B2B businesses, so it’s not surprising how much focus there is on sales teams’ efficiency and effectiveness so that their actions will positively affect revenues. The goal is twofold: to maximize sales results while simultaneously minimizing the resources expended toward achieving those results. Even top sales team members can find room for improvement. With the rapid pace of technology advancement, new opportunities to automate and streamline workflows emerge frequently.

Periodically assess what you can automate

Streamlining or automating repetitive tasks frees up more time for selling and strengthening relationships with customers. Can data entry be set up so that customer information can populate multiple forms or databases at once? Can follow-up emails be automated as “trigger” processes? Whenever you can trace a bottleneck or delay to a manual or inefficient process that could be automated or re-engineered, do it.

Provide tools, content, and training for dynamic selling

Dynamic selling is about having a fast, appropriate response to the needs of your potential customers. This can’t happen if your team doesn’t have quick access to a variety of content that they can call upon in the moment. Even if they have the content, they may not intuitively know how to make use of it. Training your team on how to use dynamic selling tools, techniques, and content is time well invested because it makes customer interactions smoother.

Remember, too, that sales productivity isn’t always about time lost in sales. With salespeople spending more time on non-selling tasks, it’s important you support them to minimize the time it takes them to do those tasks so they can spend more time selling.

Prioritize management of your CRM system

Your CRM system should be working for your sales team, and not the other way around. Since list building is so important, make it a priority to use non-selling time to update and manage CRM data. Data can go “stale” in a remarkably short amount of time—30 percent can be useless in just a year. Keeping it up-to-date by regularly assessing data currency and quality helps prevent mistakes (like wrong contact information) that needlessly slow down the sales process.

Having trouble getting salespeople to log information into the CRM? Various integrations are now allowing salespeople to enter information without going into the CRM solution itself, including automatic logging of emails, phone calls, and even what happens during a meeting with a prospect.

Get to know multiple people in customer organizations

Getting to know multiple people for each account is another wise investment of effort. Most B2B purchases are decided by a number of stakeholders rather than one individual, so establishing positive communications with multiple customer team members makes sense. Additionally, should your customer organization undergo a “regime change,” knowing multiple people there makes it easier to maintain your relationship with them throughout any disruption.

Take time to gain in-depth knowledge of prospect organizations

Research is another smart investment of time because it can pay off with a shorter sales process, which is no small win with ever-lengthening B2B cycles. Knowing your customer organizations in depth helps build trust and helps you position yourself as the expert consultant.

What free content from potential customers can you access? Signing up for their newsletters, product samples, or social media pages to learn more about them allows you to sell to them with expertise and stronger credibility.

Track productivity results and fine-tune your approach

We all know how to measure sales, but how do you measure the selling process? There are many ways, like measuring sales cycle length, pipeline conversion rates, and the average number of customer contacts before conversions happen. Learn to measure the processes that go into selling, and you’ll discover your strengths and your opportunities for improvement.

Sales productivity is something everyone says they prioritize, but saying that you’re all for better sales productivity and actually achieving it are two different things. Better productivity starts with analyzing all the steps in building the sales relationship, determining which can be automated, and which can be improved in other ways. It should be an ongoing process since in the B2B world there are constant changes in customer organizations, product advances, and technology that can help you do your job better.

Don’t just say you want higher sales productivity, do something about it. All the little steps you take to enhance sales productivity add up tremendously over the course of a quarter or a year, helping you sharpen your competitive edge, win new customers, and maintain strong relationships with existing ones.

This article was written by Melissa Andrews from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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