The most effective sales managers understand that a salesperson’s productivity directly relates to the results he/she is able to achieve. An unproductive salesperson will not be able to sell as much as a productive one.
So, how do you increase sales productivity in a way that helps your team sell more?
Every sales team is different, but the following tips should help your salespeople regardless of what is slowing them down at work.
By the time you finish reading this post, you will be well equipped to coach your team to greater productivity and sales success.
How to Increase Sales Productivity as a Sales Manager
1. Teach your team time management hacks.
If poor time management skills are to blame for your sales team’s lack of productivity, teach them these 4 ways to work more efficiently:
- Get the uncomfortable tasks over with. Salespeople (and people in general) tend to put off unpleasant tasks, which results in several of those types of tasks adding up. This is why you should teach your team to do the tasks they cannot stand right away, so they can move forward with their day.
- Avoid multitasking. Your salespeople might think they can get more done by focusing on multiple tasks at once, but that could not be further from the truth. In fact, studies suggest that multitasking can damage a person’s brain and career. So, teach your salespeople to focus 100% on one task at a time.
- Avoid taking too many breaks. While it is perfectly acceptable for your salespeople to take breaks from time-to-time, make sure they are not taking too many. This especially applies after they make a big sale. Instead of taking a break at that time, they should use their momentum to keep selling successfully.
- Avoid distractions. Emails, text messages, Facebook – it is easy to get distracted from your main task when you constantly receive popup notifications. Try teaching your sales team a time-management program like the Pomodoro Technique, which helps them turn off all distractions and focus on the task at hand for 25-minute increments. After each 25-minute session, your team can then take a 5-minute break, which is a great time to check for any missed messages, and then resume focus for another 25-minute task.
2. Relieve your team of as many administrative tasks as possible.
Your salespeople are most valuable to your business when they are selling – not when they are writing follow-up emails, handling customer complaints and completing other tasks that do not generate revenue.
To combat this issue in your sales department, consider hiring farmer salespeople to support your hunter salespeople. Your farmers will be able to handle all of the tasks that slow your hunters down and cost your business money.
If you are not quite convinced, consider this:
Top performing sales organizations have 30% more sales staff in support roles to help relieve sales reps of administrative tasks. This approach allows them to free up more time for their sales reps to talk to customers and sell, so they get a good return on their investment.
3. Tell your salespeople to batch their tasks.
Even if you relieve your sales team of most of their administrative tasks, they will still have to complete non-sales tasks on occasion. You can help them work more efficiently and get back to selling faster by teaching them how to batch their tasks.
Batching simply means handling similar types of tasks all at once. For example, a salesperson may choose to make 15 sales calls and take notes while on those calls. Then, he would take a break to complete all of the admin work for those 15 calls.
By batching their tasks appropriately, your salespeople can stay focused on the one task at hand and become more productive as a result.
4. Invest in time-saving tools.
While these tools may cost your business some money upfront, they will pay for themselves by boosting your team’s productivity and empowering them to sell more.
Here are 3 time-saving tools for you to consider:
- The right Customer Relationship Management system (CRM) – Ask your sales team if their current CRM is slowing them down at work. If so, you may need to consider implementing a more intuitive, easy-to-use CRM that meets your sales team’s specific needs.
- Calendly (or a similar scheduling tool) – A 2010 survey shows that professionals waste an average of 4.8 hours per week scheduling meetings. To help your salespeople cut down time wasted trying to schedule meetings with prospects, consider Calendly. Calendly syncs a salesperson’s calendar with their prospect’s calendar, making it much easier for them to set appointments.
- Harvest (or a similar time-tracking tool) – It will be difficult for you to know how to improve your sales team’s productivity if you do not know how they are wasting time right now. Use Harvest to track how your salespeople spend their workday and you will be able to learn exactly what improvements can be made to boost their productivity.
You may also want to consider investing in automation tools, contract creation tools and other tools that could help your team. Think about what tasks slow them down the most and try to find a tool that helps them complete those tasks quicker.
5. Give your team better leads.
As a sales manager, you may be tempted to prioritize the quantity of sales leads instead of the quality of sales leads. However, you should always prioritize quality over quantity.
When your salespeople have a large number of low-quality leads, they will not be able to convert as many leads to customers. On the other hand, if you only give your team high-quality leads, you can feel confident knowing that each customer conversation has great potential to end in a sale. That means each of your salespeople will be using their time at work to its fullest potential.
6. Provide all salespeople with the resources they need.
Imagine that one of your salespeople is on the phone with a customer. He is explaining the product being sold to the customer, but then, the customer asks him a difficult question about one of the product’s features.
The salesperson does not know the answer to the question, so he has to halt the conversation to ask his peers for help and/or dig through his emails for the correct information.
It is easy to see how this problem could negatively affect a salesperson’s productivity in a major way. Fortunately, you can help your salespeople avoid it by giving them helpful, in-depth resources that will provide them with all of the information they need while on the phone with the customer.
Keep in mind that the resources should not necessarily be limited to product information sheets. Decide on which resources to give your team based on what would help them save the most time. For example, you could give salespeople who struggle to overcome objections a cheat sheet with responses to common customer objections they face.
7. Ask your salespeople what is slowing them down.
As a sales manager, it is your job to uncover the challenges your team is facing so you can provide them with the solutions they need. If your team is not as productive as you would like them to be, simply ask them what is slowing them down.
This is the best way to get the insight you need to start implementing solutions that will result in increased sales productivity and better overall results.