In the cutthroat world of commercial operations, we are continually looking for an advantage over our competitors. The term, profit maximization, gets thrown around a lot, meaning, in layman’s terms, to increase profitability as much as possible. With constant looks over our shoulder at the fast-approaching competition, it’s something that we can never leave untended.
But this begs the question, how exactly do we achieve this? Lucky for us, the world of business is highly advanced, and almost every trick under the sun has been tried. This gives us the benefit of hindsight, as we can pick, choose, and explore what options lay at our disposal.
But first, what is sales productivity?
Much like profit maximization, sales productivity is a term that gets thrown around a lot. But while profit maximization relates more to the net amount of revenue generated, sales productivity is more concerned with the processes and overheads that were used to get there.
Sales productivity relates to the effectiveness of the output (I.e., your staff, training, advertising, time, etc.) compared to the efficiency of the inputs (I.e., sales).
Research into sales productivity strategies is roughly a hundred years old. During the 1920s, marketing scientists focused on making salespeople more effective to take advantage of burgeoning prosperity and economic opportunities. Subsequent decades experienced WWII and the Great Depression. Correspondingly, during this era, research switched to focus on better sizing and the use of sales resources. Read on for different ideas and results that have come from this and subsequent research.
Without further ado, here are different ways to increase sales productivity:
- Auto dialer software
There are no shortages of tech solutions to bolstering sales productivity. One option that’s gaining traction across the business world is auto dialer software, a software that makes customer outreach possible from anywhere.
Auto dialer software integrates seamlessly with your CRM (customer relationship management), ensuring that every call is associated with the right account and tracks the number of contracts contacted and location.
It’s as easy as downloading an app on your phone. The software is a favorite amongst sales reps for its ease of use, convenience, and effective results. A proven way to boost input while expending minimal output.
Research from the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Psychology has bridged the links between optimism and sales productivity. This work suggests that motivation and ability are not the primary determinants of sales outcome, emphasizing the importance of optimistic expectations in this equation.
These findings are particularly true in settings like sales, where persistence is a requirement. It has found that positive or negative expectations are self-fulfilling prophecies but has also started to research how training programs and inspiration can stimulate optimism for increased sales productivity.
- Ongoing coaching
It’s generally believed that roughly 20% of salespeople, or one out of five, regularly meet or exceed their sales targets. This leaves the remaining 80% lagging behind, and this can come down to a lack of training or being up-to-date.
A lot of introductory and probationary training is forgotten by sales staff within weeks. This means they often adopt an ad hoc approach to their sales. While effective sometimes, they are prone to missing out on opportunities, costing you time and money in the process.
Continually train your staff on things like the constantly evolving sales environment, recent tech updates, and industry news. In fact, regular training has been linked to benefits that include an increased sense of purpose, engagement, energy, enthusiasm, and creativity which trickle down into improved sales productivity.
- Continually assess your sales against your analytics
They say that the first step to fixing a problem is identifying what it is. If you keep on top of your data, including sales outcomes and the number of staff tasked on what jobs, then this kind of oversight makes the areas of the business that require improvement much easier to identify.
Many companies fail at consistently increasing their sales productivity because they are not regularly tracking the metrics behind them. This includes things like call rates, success rates, the average length of a sales cycle, and additional things, like pipeline conversion rate. Understanding these factors will enable you to get more out of less with your sales productivity.
- Embrace technology
Technology is one space that is experiencing immense growth on a scale not seen before. A lot of these innovations are focused on consumer convenience and commercial success, meaning that there is always something new waiting to be optimized for, or adapted to, your sales productivity.
It’s thought that about one-third of a salesperson’s time is spent on core sales-related activities. This leaves the rest and majority of their time spent doing tasks that don’t add value to the business. Tech and automation processes can cut out this unnecessary labor to enable them to work more efficiently.
- Reevaluate sales processes
A flawed sales process can cost your business upwards of millions of dollars per year. This is despite the full awareness from business owners and sales departments. All too often, they simply often lack the dedicated time and resources for a comprehensive overview. Make the time for evaluation so that you can dive into the sales pipeline to establish the strengths and weaknesses of the processes.
This is a journey, not a destination. Remember that no one will boost their sales productivity overnight. Once you start an evaluation and iron out any creases, make sure this develops into a regular occurrence to ensure your sales processes remain effective against the continual shifts within the business climate.
Sales productivity is fundamental to your business. You need to ensure that everyone in your team is working efficiently and productively. You can start by investing in tools and software to automate tasks, especially ones that are tedious and time-consuming.
Don’t neglect the psychological aspect of productivity. You must encourage your employees and coach them to boost their morale, which is both connected to their effectiveness as part of your organization.
From its beginnings in the early 20th century to now, focus on the steps outlined above to help your business land more sales while expending fewer resources.