7 Tips to Improve Sales Productivity
The salespeople on your team are top-notch, you have provided them with state-of-the-art technology and tools to close the deals, and market research shows that your product is well-received. Yet your sales are still flagging. What gives?
Even the best field sales reps can lose their motivation once in a while. Try some of these tried-and-true methods for boosting their productivity — and improving your bottom line.
Seven Tips to Improve Sales Productivity
Ever Heard of “Smarketing”?
A relatively new term, “smarketing” simply describes an approach that integrates the sales department with their counterparts over in marketing.
Of course, there shouldn’t need to be a word for this at all; sales and marketing should skip along happily, hand-in-hand, helping one another in a symbiotic relationship. After all, they have the same goal: to increase revenue.
In reality, it doesn’t usually work quite so well. Sales reps may feel that marketing is out of touch because they’re not interfacing directly with leads and customers. On the other side of the coin, marketing managers can get frustrated when sales reps go rogue and ignore the marketing collateral they have so carefully crafted.
Integrating the two departments can prevent resentments from developing, unify their efforts, and result in better sales productivity. So how do you put smarketing into action? One crucial step is having marketing and sales come together and agree on actionable goals, with metrics for each that will be regularly measured and reviewed.
At the very least, using the term “smarketing” will help keep cooperation top of mind.
Provide Training and Professional Development
When you bring new sales representatives on board, providing training on your processes and products is the first order of business. Over time, their knowledge of both only solidifies, so you may not think they need additional training.
However, sales professionals cite lack of coaching, training and professional development as one of the top two reasons they leave an organization. You know it’s important to retain your sales force — not just for reasons of sales productivity, but because hiring and training new sales people is time-consuming and costly. So why not give them what they’re asking for?
Training can take many forms, including webinars, seminars, and motivational speakers. Naturally, you’ll want to keep reps up-to-date on new products. Consider asking experienced sales reps to sit in on new-hire training sessions, both to welcome new team members and as a refresher on tactics, they may have forgotten since their own early days.
Create Healthy Competition
It’s likely that your sales people know exactly what their numbers are, but how do they stack up against their peers? Pitting your team against one another can be tricky, particularly if it affects company culture by creating a toxic, dog-eat-dog atmosphere. But a little healthy competition can be a good thing.
Sales people tend to be somewhat competitive by nature, so if you can find ways to channel that spirit into sales productivity — rather than into office March Madness pools or the break-room foosball table — everyone will benefit.
Heathy competition can boost morale and foster camaraderie, as well as being great for sales productivity numbers. Just make sure that reps are competing with the company’s best interests in mind.
A stretch sales goal, complete with incentives, can help you harness that competitive spirit. These incentives can be the usual — restaurant vouchers, Amazon gift cards, or even cold hard cash. Everyone appreciates those gestures, especially sales people who work wholly or partially on commission.
But why not mix things up? Casual Fridays (and variations thereof) are popular, but how about Bring Your Dog To Work Day if the team hits a sales productivity goal? Maybe your employees would like to work from home one day a week. Let them, if they meet a quarterly sales productivity challenge.
Other inventive incentive ideas include meal-delivery or housecleaning services. Hire a few massage therapists to come in and give chair massages to your top performers, or send them out to the spa.
Try A Little Mentoring
Younger, less-experienced sales reps might need a helping hand developing their skill set. You can facilitate a fantastic working relationship and improve sales productivity by setting them up with mentors.
You can do this informally — pairing up sales team members within your organization. If necessary, bring in professional mentors or coaches. The benefits of professional mentoring include immediate feedback, a shift in perspective, and increased motivation. The results may seem intangible, but mentoring relationships can lead to improved sales productivity.
Tailor The Tech
Just as some people are visual learners and others are more hands-on, not all sales reps use technology the same way. You probably rely on a CRM, apps, or proprietary software to track and measure sales productivity goals, but don’t assume all your employees have the same level of comfort with these tools.
In addition to providing adequate training in the tech that makes your company run, it’s wise to give reps a bit of free rein in terms of using that tech. If one person is a data-cruncher while another is more of a people person, try letting them pair up to make a sales productivity dream team.
However, unless you have a BYOD policy in place, it makes sense to level the playing field for your reps. When they use the same type of device, they can collaborate more easily, share tips and tricks with each other, and get the most out of training. Consider providing iPads or iPhones for your team.
Check Your Culture
Do your salespeople feel as though they are heard? Do they like coming to work each day? If they’re out in the field, do you have to hunt them down to get reports?
Your company culture’s effect on sales productivity shouldn’t be underestimated. It may seem touchy-feely, but look at this way: when people enjoy their work, they will work harder. If they’re unhappy, they may already have one foot out the door, which means the bottom line will suffer.
Take a long, hard look at the culture of your organization. It can indeed be hard, and painful, to do so, but it will reap rewards. One good way to honestly assess your approach to culture and communication is to read reviews of your company on Glassdoor or other sites. Former employees aren’t usually shy about telling you what they didn’t like about working for you. If you can address those issues, you’re one step closer to better retention of your employees — and better sales productivity numbers.