A productive sales team is a successful sales team.
Companies all over the world are struggling with sales productivity and the added pressure to hit their annual goals only exacerbates the problem. If your sales team isn’t continually assessing their strengths and weaknesses as strategies shift, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice.
Your sales team should always be in a state of growth—keeping existing skills sharp, developing new selling tactics, and maintaining strong bonds with your customers.
The more your team focuses on sales productivity and identifying what it is your sellers should be doing to meet quota, the better they’ll be at selling and building strong customer relationships.
Your sales team is the backbone of your company, so making sales productivity one of your top priorities will be the key to improving selling and maximizing revenue.
What is sales productivity?
Sales productivity is the rate at which your sales team meets their revenue goals. The faster a salesperson meets their goal (or quota), the more productive they are.
Sales productivity can be calculated using two key factors: efficiency and effectiveness.
- Sales efficiency revolves around optimizing a seller’s time. This means a seller is considered efficient when they spend time on high-impact investment activities like meeting prep or practicing mock calls, as opposed to low-impact Mandatory activities like updating sales records.
- Sales effectiveness revolves around a seller’s impact on driving revenue. An effective seller focuses on turning potential customers into returning buyers by using content and training resources.
The easiest way to calculate sales productivity is with the following formula:
Sales Productivity = Efficiency x Effectiveness
Calculating each seller's productivity can help you identify areas and skills they can work on to improve. Say you have a seller who's high in efficiency but low on effectiveness. You can work with them to build a plan on how they’ll improve their effectiveness that year.
Strategies to Increase Sales Team Productivity
1. Prioritize sales coaching
Sales coaching should never be considered a one-time thing. Putting your sellers through a one-and-done coaching session as you onboard them won’t instill a strong arsenal of selling skills.
Take the necessary steps and set up regular coaching for your sales team. Train them on your buyer personas, your target market, and the solutions you offer. Make sure they can answer important questions about your company and value proposition. Use coaching sessions to focus on action planning and holding sellers accountable.
Encouraging your sellers to stay proactive and keeping track of their progress isn’t about micro-managing them. It’s about keeping an open dialogue, giving them the resources to develop as reps, and identifying the specific strategies they can use to drive revenue.
2. Assess your tech stack
If your team is using 25 different tools when you could be using 10, there’s an opportunity to streamline, increase productivity, and reduce confusion. The quickest way to save you and your team time is by re-evaluating your tech stack.
Meet with your team and get their feedback on whether or not they actually use all of the software you’re currently paying for. Identify the tools you can substitute, consolidate, or remove altogether.
How to evaluate your tech stack:
- Is this tool the right one for our team?
- How many tools do team members use on a daily basis?
- Can we keep current processes the same if we eliminate certain tools?
- How effective is each tool? Does it give the team the skills they need to perform well with customers? Have we seen an increase in effectiveness?
- Is the tool intuitive? Is it more of a challenge to learn how to use than implementing another tool?
It’s likely that you’ll find a handful of tools you can get rid of, saving you on budget and giving you the opportunity to organize content, training, and coaching resources for your sellers.
3. Align your marketing and sales teams
Your marketing and sales teams should be working together, not siloed and guessing at what the other needs. Make sure the communication between teams is clear. Keeping both teams apart will only hurt your company’s bottom line.
The two teams were made to work together (actually helping the other to make better decisions and close more deals). Marketing and sales teams should be meeting and collaborating with each other at a steady cadence. Make it a requirement for marketing to ask sales what resources they need to close more deals and for sales to let marketing know what content is working and what is not.
Collaboration between these teams will lead to both becoming more effective and ultimately, more productive.
4. Welcome automation
During a typical workday, your sellers are only focused on selling for about one-third of their time. That means the other two-thirds is spent on busywork and mundane tasks that don’t bring value (or revenue) to the team.
Embracing automation is a great strategy to streamline your sales team’s workflow and eliminate unnecessary tasks. Use technology to your advantage. Empower your team to do their jobs more efficiently by deploying software that takes care of the repetitive to-dos. The less time your team has to work on mundane tasks, the more time they’ll have to work on impactful activities and increase their sales efficiency.
Just remember that some software programs can automate bad habits. Triple check your software selection to make sure you’re choosing a platform that reinforces good practices rather than perpetuating bad ones.
Increasing your sales productivity is something for you and your team to work towards; it won’t happen overnight. By taking necessary steps, such as identifying how sales and marketing teams can collaborate, which tools aren’t helping your sellers, and prioritizing a coaching cadence, you’ll be able to empower your team and increase their sales productivity.
Always ask yourself if a tool, strategy, or practice is helping your team close deals. If not, you’ve got a starting point to optimize that process and find a more effective solution.
About the Author: Dustin Deno leads Showpad’s BDR, AE, and Solution Engineering groups, creating better alignment and collaboration between regions and teams. He joined Showpad as the Vice President of Sales, North America and led the company’s account executives and business development representatives, focusing on customers in the U.S. and abroad.