Your revenue targets are rising, but your sales productivity isn’t.
You might think your sales reps are to blame here. But the real culprit behind a sluggish success rate is using the same-old sales framework you’ve followed for years without iteration. Growth is bound to slow down if you don’t scale your processes and update your sales stack.
An outdated sales workflow only hampers a team’s ability to create value for prospects, win more sales and produce tangible outputs — directly hitting sales productivity and the bottom line.
But what is sales productivity, and how does it impact your sales numbers? This start-to-finish guide will help you understand how it works and how to help your team.
So, let’s dive right in!
What is sales productivity?
Simply put, sales productivity measures the proportion of your team’s inputs (efficiency) and outputs (effectiveness). It weighs the hours your reps put in with the sales they win.
You can also look at sales productivity as a ratio of deals closed and resources spent. The idea is to minimize resource usage — like sales reps’ time, cost and other factors — and maximize conversions.
Since sales reps devote less than 40 percent of their time to actual sales, you need to put an emphasis on sales-centric efforts to balance the ratio. This might require structural changes, updates to your tech stack or enhanced training.
So, what exactly should you do to boost your sales productivity? First, let’s look at why it’s so important.
Why does sales productivity matter?
If you’re on a mission to increase your team’s revenue, sales productivity is your secret weapon. A measure of your productivity will give you a clear picture of what your team is doing well and where it’s struggling.
Gain an edge over competitors while boosting sales. Organizations that track their sales productivity levels have a 4 percent advantage in their win rates against businesses that don’t measure sales productivity. By identifying the areas of improvement, you can make data-informed decisions to empower your sales reps and increase their efficiency.
How to measure sales productivity
It’s easy to monitor sales efficiency when you have a set of relevant metrics and an interactive dashboard. Here are some key performance indicators (KPIs) to consider:
Measure your reps’ call activity and analyze the quality of their calls. Categorize each call by its nature — prospecting, support, and follow-up. Determine the success or failure of every call based on how its outcome aligns with goals.
Lead generation quality
Sales reps can’t produce results if they spend their time compiling heaps of dead-end leads. Prioritize quality over quantity to assess a prospect’s efficiency. Identify your target personas, then create an industry or departmental division of leads to monitor conversion rates.
Forecasted vs. actual sales
Comparing your sales numbers against the forecasted figures can also give you a good productivity assessment. The forecast serves as a benchmark for each sales rep to track their progress and achieve goals.
Since each sales executive has a quota to fill, this KPI will help you monitor if their effort is supporting conversion. Set a margin for the pipeline-to-quota ratio based on previous numbers.
Now that we’ve laid the foundation for team productivity let’s observe some practical tactics you can offer your team.
8 best practices to improve sales productivity
Every team faces challenges, but they’re not always easy to identify. The following strategies can help you overcome concerns, identify gaps in your sales workflows and simplify everything for your team.
1. Create a mindful employee onboarding plan
It’s harder than ever to crack sales, and the buying process continues to change. In this environment, a one-and-done training program isn’t enough.
Your sales reps need to understand the buyer personas, market trends and business aims to sell proficiently. A solid onboarding plan will convey this information at the start of their tenure.
Your onboarding is an opportunity to acquaint hires with your brand, unique selling points, target audience and other info.
Make sure your training is easy to access and use. Leverage an intuitive tool like Scribe instead of relying on slide decks and instructional videos. Scribe can enrich your training content and save you time by automatically producing a step-by-step guide that you can share or embed.
2. Prioritize high-value sales activities
Direct your reps’ focus on sales-centric activities. You can implement this tactic in several ways, such as:
- Follow priority levels: Assign a priority level to each project and task type. Encourage reps to manage their time according to priorities.
- Create structured timelines: Create a daily schedule that references all crucial commitments. Incentivize your reps to stick to their agendas — making it easy for you to measure their performance and for them to reach targets.
- Create time blocks: Support how your team balances their sales and admin by adding time blocks. This helps them allocate priorities and designates time to focus on prospecting, pitching and closing deals.
- Plan sales route: Sales route planning establishes the most efficient path from point A to B. So, when you outline all the sales activities as crucial opportunities in your sales route, you can automatically improve your team’s efficiency to complete their tasks.
On top of these tactics, consciously minimize and automate your sales reps’ admin responsibilities. Give them more time to focus on selling.
3. Automate and delegate admin tasks
Optimizing sales productivity is primarily about streamlining your processes to eliminate manual efforts.
Leverage tools to do all the heavy lifting for your sales staff. Technology is creating a positive disruption in sales, and automation comes with several perks — from email delivery to push messaging and follow-ups. You can create automated workflows to boost your reps’ time investment in selling.
Then, delegate admin-centric tasks to sales ops and enablement teams. While your representatives hustle hard on the frontline, their counterparts can hold down the fort for all other functions.
4. Build and document efficient workflows
Fact: Companies with a well-defined sales process enjoy 28 percent more revenue growth than those that don’t.
Your sales workflows speak volumes about your productivity. It’s no surprise that ineffective processes can cost millions. But strategically designed and optimized sales processes can catapult efficiency.
So, if you don’t already have a seamless sales process, here are some questions to get you started with building one:
- What are the most crucial gaps in your existing strategy?
- Where is your team missing desired outputs?
- Where could you use more resources and how can you approach the reallocation of resources?
Once you have some solid answers to these questions, ideate on what a a friction-less process would look like. Then, test your hypothesis and monitor performance for opportunities to optimize.
Pro tip: An automated documentation tool like Scribe can simplify your work. All you need to do is download its browser extension and let it record your training session — it’ll automatically create interactive guides for your reps.
5. Track the right KPIs to boost performance
Analytics and productivity go hand-in-hand. When you don’t measure your team’s performance, you don’t know what you can improve or eliminate.
Besides easing your decision-making, performance analytics will also help you identify growth opportunities. So, choose a relevant set of sales KPIs for your team and visualize its efficiency and effectiveness in a single dashboard.
Let’s look at some ideal sales metrics you can monitor:
Calculate the percentage of converted leads to assess their effectiveness. This will easily single out the under-performers who need more attention.
Customer lifetime value
Understand the quality of conversions your reps are making. Ten leads can amount to the same revenue as just one. Check the LTV figures to measure productivity.
Sales cycle length
See how long it takes your reps to close a sale from the first point of contact. This length demonstrates how quickly or slowly your team moves the needle to drive conversions.
Collecting and visualizing this data isn’t enough. You also have to derive insights and take relevant actions to increase your productivity.
6. Leverage sales tools to strengthen your pipeline
Technology is changing the face of the sales sector. With so many advanced tools, you can better equip your sales staff to generate more revenue. That explains why high-performing teams leverage three times more tools than the others.
Your sales tech stack can reap multiple benefits, including:
- Greater quantity and quality of conversions.
- A shorter prospecting and lead qualification processes.
- Better communication and collaboration within the sales department.
- Easy integration of sales and marketing activities.
The combined benefits skyrocket activity and return.
7. Train your reps continuously for better outputs
Increased productivity can’t happen overnight. It’s an ongoing process with long-term aims. With that, you need a cyclical training process to ensure consistent progress. Consider some of these best practices to master your sales coaching plan:
- Outline the content pillars for your training program and create weekly/fortnightly/monthly modules.
- Cultivate an environment for peer learning and leverage gamification to make coaching more exciting.
- Encourage your reps to become more proactive and set short-term learning targets.
- Categorize your coaching sessions and designate a fixed frequency for each category.
A training program allows you to bring out the best in each team member. It’s a solution to low productivity that enables rather than blames. Instead of pointing fingers at your reps, invest your resources to make them more proficient.
8. Establish a full-fledged sales operations setup
Sales operations are the backbone of any well-functioning sales team. Essentially responsible for managing the technical side of selling, your sales ops team will empower your sales closers to produce better results. It directly supports the sales function by:
- Identifying strategic prospecting and lead qualification to increase conversions.
- Optimizing the sales pipeline with analysis to identify shortcomings and gaps.
- Enforcing data-driven selling with complete management of the CRM tool.
- Setting actionable strategies to lay out the roadmap to fulfill sales targets.
- Eliminating bottlenecks and areas of friction from the sales process.
Build your sales operations wing to give your representatives the support to maximize sales.
Building your sales stack to multiply sales productivity
Now that it’s clear that your company’s sales tech stack will directly influence your team’s efficiency and effectiveness let’s look at the essential tools for your stack.
- CRM: An adequately managed CRM helps you stay on top of each lead and sale. It’ll also help create powerful reports to determine the success of your KPIs.
- Prospecting: With the right tool, finding leads is a cakewalk. Simplify and shorten the process of sourcing leads with a good prospecting tool.
- Project management: Team collaboration and communication can be challenging for bigger groups. Choose a project management tool to bring everyone on the same page and share real-time updates.
- Sales automation: Automate the most repetitive and mundane parts of the job so your representatives can focus on what’s important. Save their time and your resources with a one-stop automation tool.
- Documentation and training: With so much knowledge-sharing involved, pick a dedicated tool to create high-value training materials, such as videos or process documents.
Never underestimate the power of your tech stack to scale your revenue. The more organized and focused your sales reps are, the higher productivity they can achieve.
Reinforce productivity for real results
Productivity metrics can be an eye-opener for businesses. By preparing, enabling and listening to your teams, you can identify underlying causes of poor performance. When you understand the challenge, you can strategize solutions. A more robust sales process empowers sales reps. Armed with a capable and dedicated team, your numbers will soar.