Ask any sales manager or representative how they are doing and the answer is likely to be “busy!”
A good salesperson is highly driven and proactive — but sometimes they have long to-do lists filled with everything from fulfilling customer orders to finding new prospects and planning how to reach out to them. But having a chaotic to-do list is no real indicator of sales productivity and it’s easy to slip into the trap of being busy getting nothing done.
In this article, we walk you through eight of the best hacks to improve sales team efficiency in your sales organization. Read them carefully and apply them to your team to ensure that everyone stays focused on achieving the ultimate goal: making more and bigger sales.
1. Define Roles
Step one in creating a highly-effective sales team is clearly defining each individual’s role within the team.
This can be simple in sales teams where roles are clearly separated into:
- Lead generators
- Lead qualifiers
- Customer success representatives
However, in teams where each individual sales rep is responsible for the full sales process, this can be more tricky.
Defining the roles of your team will increase efficiency as it will allow individuals to develop their knowledge and skill in one given area. This is especially beneficial when you are able to batch work together and allocate it based on individual role and skillset, ensuring maximum efficiency.
This approach also ensures that there is no overlap and wasted effort between functions.
2. Implement a Clear Desk Policy
Maintaining a clear desk policy can be a good way to increase sales productivity.
Not only does doing this create a cleaner and more inspiring environment, but it also encourages the correct filing and storage of all documents and other important work. This, in turn, ensures that time is not wasted looking for lost or misplaced items when they are needed.
Mentally, this process also ensures that your team is turning up each morning without yesterday’s work hanging over them. Wiping the slate clean allows them to tackle the new day with renewed energy.
Bonus: Don’t forget to tackle digital clutter too.
3. Plan Regular Progress Meetings
When everything is go, go, go, it can be difficult to find the time for a progress update. These are often put off in favor of focusing on the seemingly more important tasks at hand.
But spending more time reflecting and updating one another on challenges and wins helps improve sales productivity in the long term. Setting and sticking to a regular progress meeting schedule is a great way to increase efficiency and ultimately get more done. Doing so provides you the opportunity to identify areas where support is needed, areas that are taking up too many resources and areas where past effort can subsidize future efforts — for example where research on a client has already been conducted.
Consider implementing the following types of progress meetings:
- Daily ‘buzz’ stand ups
- Weekly performance updates
- Monthly goals outlooks
4. Use Automation
Technology has provided sales teams with endless possibilities when it comes to automation.
Although there are plenty of ways you can automate your sales process, it is important to take the time to identify and assess the best ways of doing so. Over-automation can become overwhelming and chaotic, especially when it goes wrong.
Customer relationship management tools (CRMs) are a great place to start. Check if yours has any automation functionality for administrative tasks, such as auto-logging emails sent to the customer. A small tweak like this can save hours a day in some cases.
You can also check whether the tools you use can be automated in any way on IFTTT, which supplies smart plugins to help platforms and apps talk to each other in intelligent ways.
5. Use a Calendar
This seems like a no-brainer, but strangely consistent use of a scheduling calendar is often overlooked and neglected.
The use of a good calendar software is a great way to both monitor your plans for the day and keep on top of what is happening with your wider team. Blocking out time to undertake specific tasks can also help you increase efficiency, letting you focus and block out other distractions.
Using the Calendly tool for scheduling important sales calls and follow-ups will help customers to find time to talk to you at their own convenience.
6. Question Actions
Once established, sales teams will often settle into their own way of doing things. This can mean that opportunities to increase efficiency are missed, especially as resources and focus changes over time.
For example, it is always worth asking yourself whether making a short call would be quicker than writing up a long email. Similarly, especially when you know a client is very talkative, would a short email save an hour on the phone?
7. Commit to a Kaizen Sales Processes
The term Kaizen originates in Japan and refers to the practice of continuously and incrementally making small improvements, which make a big improvement over time. This has been applied successfully to all business processes and is a major reason why Japanese manufacturing is world-leading.
Applying Kaizen to your sales process requires you to first define exactly what your goal is. A great place to start is to determine how many sales you hope to make, to which customers or market and by what date.
You can then continuously monitor and assess your sales process, identifying ways to make small improvements, making it easier and more efficient to achieve your goals.
8. Prioritize Effectively
Having sales staff create a to-do list at the end of each day can be a great way to increase sales productivity. This is because it means they can hit the ground running as soon as they sit down at the desk, instead of wasting time trying to work out what they are doing for the day.
Prioritizing this list also means that they get the most important tasks done before the day gets away from them. It is also worthwhile to tackle the biggest or more crucial task first thing in the morning when your energy and motivation is at its highest.
Increasing sales productivity can have a seriously positive impact on the overall profitability of your business. By introducing the tips we have highlighted above you will be able to get better results from the same or less amount of effort.