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  • Jamie Vassar

5 ways to improve your sales team’s productivity

Arguably anything worth doing can never be mastered. Take, for instance, learning an instrument. At the beginning it may be rocky and frustrating, but the more you do it, the more you learn and the more skilled you become. However, there is always room for improvement, always something new to try. 

In some ways, that’s part of the allure.

To remain energized in any field or endeavor, it’s pertinent to stay productive. In sales you can summarize productivity as maximizing results while reducing resources expended. Resources can include anything from cost to effort to time.

Like learning an instrument, sales requires a certain set of tools . In this article I talk about five tools your sales team can use to improve their productivity.

Embrace sales tools

Having a well-organized team is like having a perfectly tuned instrument. When you don’t have to think about all the small, mundane aspects that can throw things out of whack, you can focus on the fun bits. Tools like Asana, Slack, Monday.com, and other sales tools are the perfect way to condense and automate some of the more time-consuming tasks and allow your sales team to expend their energy elsewhere.

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software in particular can prove beneficial by providing your team with accessible ways to streamline customer processes that are most likely already in place, like sending follow up emails. In fact, a  2017 report showed that CRM platforms were voted the top “most valuable tool” in increasing a sales team’s effectiveness, scoring 4.6 out of 5.

Utilize e-learning

The average attention span in 2021 is a whopping eight seconds, making attempts at additional training a stressful situation. Along with streamlining tasks, utilizing learning tools like webinars or online classes on platforms like Lessonly that target specific goals can be an engaging way to educate your team. E-learning supplies a low-pressure environment for active learning in which team members can improve upon mistakes in private, uncompetitive spaces.

Create resources for continued learning

However, as any proficient musician would tell you, lessons aren’t enough— you have to remain studious on your own time. Research shows that it takes more than seven months, totaling upwards of nearly $30,000, to fully onboard new hires. Studies also reveal almost 87% of that training is forgotten in just a few weeks.

Luckily, there are a few ways to tackle this problem.

The first is the integration of sales enablement software. Sales reps are spending over one third of their day looking for or creating content. Yet, 80% of marketing content goes unused because agents can’t find the right content at the right time. Some content management platforms like Seismic even offer content authoring functionality. Allowing users to create and learn sales content quickly, improving rep’s effectiveness.

Of course, there is also a plethora of ready-made blogs on the best sales techniques found on a multitude of sites (Qwilr’s included), and it never hurts to learn from the best. Creating a guidebook/cheat-sheet of blogs that offer detailed sales tactics is not only a timesaver but a way to keep your team involved in learning. Some phenomenal starting points can be found here

A guidebook also allows your team to employ their own successes and experiences. Tap into your more senior reps’ knowledge and have them add to an FAQ page that can be updated and referenced as needed.

 Recommended reading lists can also be a nice touch. 

Cultivate accountability

Having to report to others is a natural deterrent to procrastination. It’s easy to make excuses to yourself, but admitting to your peers that you’re falling behind is a lot harder. One way to incorporate this into your team’s ideology is to create a buddy-system between the older and newer reps.

Seismic’s research claims that sales coaching can increase sales productivity by 88%, yet 73% of sales managers spend less than 5% of their time coaching. A small-time investment of just 3 hours a month per rep can boost revenue by 25% and increase close rates by 70%.

Setting daily goals and initiating the use of sales scorecards are more ways to keep your team on track. They provide a clear sense of direction, and both options gamify the daily tasks in the already competitive field of sales.

Acknowledge morale

That being said, the competitive nature of the sales landscape is a high contributing factor to the stress of avoiding slumps for managers and their teams. Even the best sales professionals are bound to have an off-month, and the added pressure to correct an underperformance only negatively affects sales productivity. 

A first step to take is to re-evaluate your sales quotes to ensure that they remain challenging but attainable. Quotas that are perceived as being impossible to reach are likely to deter staff from trying because they believe they’re going to fail regardless.

Secondly, remember that a clear line of communication at every level is vital. To increase sales productivity, managers should check-in with each salesperson to get a pulse on how they’re feeling and performing. Often, over-communicating is preferred, and it ensures your team feels heard.

Conducting one on ones is also a good idea. The frequency can vary, but the face to face interaction creates an opportunity for more in-depth tailoring of training if needed because chances are if one is struggling in a particular area, others are as well.

Lastly, remember to celebrate the team’s wins and hard work. The idea is certainly not revolutionary, but it’s always appreciated, keeping motivation high and the chance of burnout low.

The high note

No matter what stage your team finds itself in, there is always room to get better. Constant and clear communication, the utilization of tools, and a handful of readily available resources are just a few of the ways to ensure higher productivity at a relatively low cost. Once integrated, you can sit back and listen to the sweet, sweet sound of those beating quota. 

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