How to improve sales productivity
While we’re sure there are a few outliers, for the most part, great field sales reps make terrible admins. Ask any marketing director in charge of providing marketing support to a sales team or any VP of sales tasked with wrangling their reps.
In any case, the response is the same. Salespeople are driven by dollar signs, and if a task gets in the way of selling, it just doesn’t register as important.
The “okay” or even “good” salespeople that make or come close quota tend to perform their administrative tasks just fine. But, the reward for their compliance is… fewer sales. Ditch the losing trade-off for a better solution — sales enablement technology.
Today, we’ll consider what updated best practices can address common pitfalls for sales teams, and how to improve sales productivity with sales enablement technology filling in the gaps.
What makes sales teams inefficient?
Never-ending administrative tasks
A major concern for reps is wasting time on meaningless tasks. From our conversations, most reps don’t see the value of the CRM beyond their weekly meeting with their team leader. Logging all this data wastes countless rep hours without any discernible investment that will pay out dividends in the future.
The fix: education and automation
Here’s the thing: most companies don’t take the simple step of educating their team on why reps need to complete reports or perform paperwork a certain way. Without that understanding, reps don’t see how busywork adds any value to the company. Big-picture alignment can help sales reps think beyond the pipeline and understand how accurate reporting is a valuable resource for the company.
If their data is considered viable by sales ops and marketing, it means more organic growth, more inbound leads, more money, more company growth, and by extension more opportunities for career advancement — and, of course, higher paychecks.
That said, automation is essential here, as well. There are so many tools out there that help reps save time and provide more accurate data to the organization. For larger organizations, full-time CRM staff and sales enablement professionals are well worth the investment.
Too much time spent searching for leads vs. actively prospecting
A salesperson needs to be ready to replace any prospect in their funnel at any moment. Many companies have fully functional sales development rep (SDR) teams that help to build field reps pipeline.
However, a rep is solely responsible for their own pipeline and cannot be reliant on their SDRs, most of whom are gunning for higher-paying sales jobs, so they need to prospect on their own.
Many reps don’t know where to look for prospects and spend a lot of time trying to find the right company and the right targets. On top of that, most sales reps are not nearly as efficient as their SDR counterparts, who live in the CRM and work with all their prospecting tools on a daily basis.
How do salespeople spend less time hunting for leads so they can spend more time actually prospecting? What we’ve found from our conversations with sales reps is that the CRM is not actually built to help them prospect. If they need to prospect, they use their company purchased aggregator (e.g. Data.com, NetProspex, Zoominfo, DiscoverOrg), their LinkedIn, or even a purchased list.
The fix: prospect faster with pre-qualified targets
The companies that preloaded their CRM with pre-qualified viable targets helps reps to prospect faster and easier. This allows reps looking for new account targets to run one simple report, find unassigned or un-targeted accounts, and pull them into their prospecting pipeline. This simple action increases work efficiency by saving reps countless hours on would-be targeting that they can now dedicate to cultivating and closing sales.
Researching their own products
The third activity that chews up a significant amount of the salesperson’s time is research.
Salespeople are selling to highly technical buyers, who have a breadth and depth of knowledge that the rep shouldn’t try to compete with. That said, a certain level of knowledge is necessary, and so reps need to do hours of research on their own product lines plus call in domain experts from within the company to assist in the sales process.
The Fix: Make information accessible on any device
The most salient weapon in a salesperson’s arsenal is information. However, the best and most relevant information is sometimes not easy to find in a timely manner.
From our conversations with field reps, we’ve found that the best reps rely heavily on their company’s web-based catalog and can access product information on mobile. While file sharing through Dropbox and other company based servers is okay, these formats don’t provide the accessibility and mobility that truly boost productivity.
Sales enablement technologies enable reps to find the correct, relevant material and provide it to their prospects in real-time. The increased work efficiency with the tool has provided ways to increase sales productivity for some companies so much so that there was an article written about it in Global Manufacturing.
How to improve sales productivity with Sales Enablement
Sales Enablement practitioners — they’re about as close to superheroes as we get in the business world. Why? The person who runs Sales Enablement is often one of the most cross-departmental, well-rounded, integral people in an organization.
They fight in the trenches with sales, and talk business transformation and ROI with the CFO. They liaise between Sales and Marketing, and map out plans for long-term growth.
Learn how to improve sales productivity with sales enablement in your corner — these critical team members are the key to sustained success.
Sales Enablement means better internal communication
Sales Enablement pros bridge the divide between sales and marketing, getting both teams to start speaking the same language, work on the same projects, follow the same processes, and unite around the same goals.
Project management becomes more manageable
Sales Enablement is a big initiative to take on, with many moving pieces. In its most basic form, Sales Enablement takes on responsibilities around learning and onboarding, sales processes, and content development and analysis. The best Sales Enablement practitioners have strong project management skills and are expert-level organizers, skilled in prioritizing and delegating tasks to support revenue goals and increase productivity.
Take the first step toward building a productive sales environment
If you truly want the answer to how to improve sales productivity, it all comes back to sales enablement.
Bigtincan was designed to support sales enablement activities by providing organizations a holistic view of the sales and marketing process. Book a demo to learn how Bigtincan can help you build a more productive sales process.