In sales, one can never sit idle. The best salespeople are fueled by an insatiable need to do more for their prospects and clients. They know that merely hitting their targets and reaching their quota are not enough—not if they want to get ahead and be successful. That’s what keeps them moving, calling, listening. However, there is also a limit to how much one can do. Eventually, even the best sellers run into the law of diminishing returns, which is when productivity declines in proportion to an increase in energy or effort. When this happens, you must work smarter, not harder. Here are seven tips for sales professionals to get more from their efforts and boost their productivity:
Master Your CRM
CRMs are the storehouse for information on prospects, clients, or anyone with whom salespeople interact. A high-tech upgrade that streamlined the sales process and put an end to countless spreadsheets and scribbled notes, the CRM is to sales what the assembly line was to the automobile industry. Today, with reps working from different locations, at home, in the office, or out in the field, it is critical they can access their CRM from anywhere, and they receive the necessary support and training to take full advantage of its various plug-ins and add-ons. Top salespeople will know how to access critical information swiftly through targeted searches, custom reports, and insightful dashboards. In addition, as a clean, well-maintained, and simple CRM can increase productivity for an entire sales team, reps should immediately report any issues to their managers.
Without question, the top thing sales pros can do to boost productivity is to have a coach. In addition to skill development and helpful tips, which are certainly important, coaching provides the opportunity to review and reflect, bounce ideas off their coach/sales manager, and see the sales process from a different perspective. Like an actor running a scene, adjusting their movements, trying lines in differing tones and inflections, coaching with role-play allows sales pros to maximize their interactions and engagements, helping them achieve more from their daily routines and processes.
Of course, all sellers know preparation is essential. Whether it’s prospecting or prepping for a discovery call, knowledge maintains momentum and increases engagement. For sellers who want to be more productive, a simple first step is being better prepared. This can include visiting your prospect’s website and social profiles before a discovery call or reading up on industry trends to boost your business acumen in a specific area. This type of research, before you embark on that first meaningful interaction, makes it easier to forge a connection and instill trust in your prospect that you are the right partner.
In sales, nothing is more inefficient than expending time and energy on tire kickers, leads with no serious intention to make a purchase. One way to better qualifying is to employ a lead scoring system, which ranks leads based on their value to the organization. Some factors with which to judge a new lead include firmographic attributes, such as size, revenue, budget, and industry, as well as demographic attributes related to the person inquiring, like job title or email (whether they used a personal or business email). This helps sales and marketing more effectively target prospects based on their position in the sales funnel and guide them to become “hot” prospects, interested parties with the authority to get deals done.
While discounting to entice new customers might work for some ecommerce and B2C sales, it can be a mistake in B2B sales, especially if it’s misconstrued as building value. Too low of a price can be perceived as a red flag . For many, a real bargain is not the lowest price, which could come with a host of unwanted conditions, including poor performance, reduced service, a shorter warranty, etc. Adding value increases the worth of the product or service. It means the customer receives more for their dollar. To provide the best offer, sellers must be aware of their competition’s products and services to contrast their own based on value over price.
Central to increasing productivity is automating your processes. This includes the tools that streamline a sales rep’s day-to-day activities, such as email templates, phone dialers, or software, and syncs tasks and activities across various applications. Also, as many organizations return to travel and limited in-person meetings, the best sellers will transition into cost-effective hybrid models of engagement that combine elements of both virtual and in-person selling to boost productively and reach more clients.
Another way to boost productivity is to keep an eye on your sales metrics. These can tell you a lot, such as the number of calls you’re making to the revenue each client brings in. Reps who are well versed in reading and interpreting this data are best positioned to make the most of their time. Of course, reps should always view their data in relation to the daily, weekly, and quarterly goals they have set for themselves, in conjunction with their managers during coaching, and track their progress to ensure productivity.
With all that goes into selling, from finding the right prospects to establishing engagement and building relationships, which is to say nothing of closing deals, it can be easy to forget how difficult sales can be. At the same time, sellers can be their own worst enemies, pushing themselves too hard to help clients and meet both their own financial and personal goals. However, it isn’t always a question of how hard we work. To achieve success in sales requires a different work ethic than most professions. In sales, our success often derives from how smart we work, finding ways to get more from our efforts. These are the sales pros who reap the greatest rewards.