Reports have shown that salespeople spend approximately 2 days out of every working week selling and interacting with customers.
So what happens to the other 3 days?
How does the salesperson “kill time”?
More often than not, it’s spent on admin and non-sales related tasks which don’t contribute to your bottom line. Sales is a numbers game though, so if they don’t add up, you don’t succeed.
In this post we’re going to identify the 7 sales productivity killers and how to improve them.
1. Improve your sales efficiency by setting goals
In order to get better at time management, it’s vital to identify what your sales team’s goals are and focus on building a strategy around them.
Short term goals may include writing down your daily tasks which need to be achieved while long term goals may include your sales forecast for the next 12 months. By doing this you can quickly decide what actions you need to do short term to ensure you achieve your ultimate sales goal – closing more deals!
The most successful goals are specific and measurable.
Top tip: Writing down your MIT’s (Most Important Tasks) is crucial to helping you achieve those short term goals.
2. Automate processes and integrate
The key to working more productively is to get systems talking to each other, as duplication of admin work is very time consuming. A certain amount of non-sales related tasks are inevitable but salespeople need to focus on what they do best – selling – not preoccupied by heavy admin tasks. Nowadays, you don’t need to invest in costly development teams to integrate systems as there are great cloud based apps available like Zapier which can do the system talking for you.
3. Take action and follow up!
Making the initial sales call is easy. It’s following up afterwards which can prove troublesome.
It’s not because they don’t want to follow up, but rather that they are juggling 20 different things at the one time, and only the top 5 “screamers” will ever take priority.
Salespeople can stay organized and close more sales by implementing a 6 step follow up process like the Next Action Sales Methodology. This method was inspired by productivity consultant David Allen and its main focus is on Getting Things Done (GTD). In the same way that GTD increases productivity and improves time management, when the Next Action is applied to sales, it becomes a powerful tool which focuses you 100% on taking action and thus closing more sales.
“Once applied within any sales system, Next Action Sales will help to minimise slippage and maximise deals.”
Paul O’Connor, Get Sales Done
A CRM also proves invaluable when recording your prospect’s and customer’s data associated. It allows you to see at a glance what the previous conversation was and what needs to be done in the future. A good CRM also allows you to build a sales pipeline which will help you focus on closing those all important sales!
4. Implement a lead scoring system
It has happened to the best of us, you’ve spent all this time hand-holding a client, and just when you think you’ve got them across the line, you get the dreaded, ”Thanks but no thanks.'” Not only is your dial and talk time wasted, but you’ve quite possibly missed out on deals with other potential leads too. Not all leads are good leads!
As a result, conversion rates suffer.
It’s important to identify a Lead scoring system where you assign a rating or a point system at different stages of the sales cycle. At the initial stage…
- Identify how much a deal is worth.
- How interested are they?
- What stage are they at in their buying process?
- What is their budget?
Of course you must prioritize the high earners over the time wasters and work on proactively driving those deals forward.
For more on this subject, check out Wishpond’s complete guide to lead scoring.
5. Knowledge is power
Sales is a competitive game.
It’s much easier to sell a product when you know it inside out because you know instinctively whether it’ll meet your prospects needs or not (saving you time on unsuitable leads). Also, if the client needs further convincing to see see the merit on your product or service you’re confident enough to talk them through a demo or invite them onto a webinar.
6. Build a sales development team
Some salespeople are good at identifying sales potential from online trawling, others are good at the initial meet and greet, whilst more are equipped to close the deal. If you find your sales team are spending lots of time on research and not so much on making the sale, then it might be time to generate more sales specific roles.
Research into the top B2B companies reveal how they organize their sales teams and reward their SDR’s:
The cold calling gets done by the SDR (Sales Development Representative) who after the initial meet and greet passes on your prospect to a AE (Account Executive) who will do the demo and close the sale. The more experienced the SDR, the higher the conversion. This will give your sales team more time to focus on bringing those customers over the line. It’s all about the sales figures at the end of the day!
SDR’s: “Companies that require 2+ years of experience achieve a 12% higher performance.”
7. Social Listening
Gaining social insight on your prospective leads and customers is now central to the “lead gen” process. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s acceptable to spend hours upon hours of your day trawling through social profiles of your friends, ex boyfriends mother, (let’s admit, it’s easy to get lost) it’s more about successful targeting. Applications like Hootsuite are ideal for allowing you to select specific keywords related to your product or industry. In addition, you can use apps like CoSchedule, which enables you to schedule social posts on Facebook & Twitter for weeks or even months at a time – again saving you spending time daily scheduling them one by one.
Make sure you’re tracking this activity and conversions by using Google campaign URL’s in Google Analytics.
There’s no doubt about it, sales is certainly not a mundane role and each day is full of new and exciting experiences. However, it’s important not to lose sight of your primary task and that’s selling! Time is our biggest asset and once it’s spent you can never get it back. Being organized and working more efficiently is paramount when it comes to closing more sales and of course the sales will keep on coming….
Want to increase sales and become more productive? Then check out OnePageCRM and stay up to date on all the latest sales resources and insights. You can get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or follow us on Twitter @onepagecrm.
About the Author:
With a primary focus on Customer Wow (Zappos style of course) onboarding and partnership marketing, Carmel has a huge interest in marketing trends and all things ‘Saas’.