Every business out there yearns for success. What makes any business thrive is its ability to sustain sales productivity and revenue growth.
Sales success in businesses does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of planning, organizing, and decision-making. And it all starts with an efficient sales team, a clearly-defined sales strategy, and realistic and achievable set goals.
Whatever business you’re in and no matter how you sell your products, there is no doubt that you need to adopt a strategic approach to achieve sales efficiency to achieve your sales goals.
Companies are well aware of how vital being efficient is. As the old saying goes, ‘Work smarter, not harder.’
All companies aspire to have peak sales productivity with perfectly synced sales teams. But we all know that maintaining an active and seamless workflow for small and big businesses alike is easier said than done.
In fact, increasing sales productivity has always been a challenge for a lot of companies. According to Seismic, 65% of B2B organizations experience sales productivity as one of their top challenges in the business.
When sales teams fail to meet closing deals and meet their quotas, there is a big possibility that the company will have a more challenging time selling and achieving set goals for growth.
This is why it is evident that sales productivity solidifies the foundation of growth in any company. However, many company leaders tend to shrug off this simple fact. Or worse, they end up choosing the wrong strategies to increase sales productivity among their employees.
Indeed, in this virtual world, let alone being in a pandemic, being productive can be highly challenging, and needless to say, the way companies have altered their sales process during the pandemic has become quite irreversible.
And yet, the road to reaching peak efficiency and productivity should be a top priority for companies.
But here’s the thing.
You will find a lot of tactics and strategies for how increasing sales productivity in the workplace. But it is a fact that in increasing sales productivity, the concept of no size fits allapply.
Therefore, you have to find what mixture of strategies will work best for your company in order to increase the efficiency of your sales and marketing teams and hopefully reach peak productivity gains.
To do this, you have to formalize your sales productivity strategy and start empowering your sales and marketing team to maximize their potential and exceed them.
Keep reading to understand the ins and outs of sales productivity, the right sales productivity tools, and the right metrics to achieve top-tier sales performance. Explore, everything about B2B sales, SaaS sales and tech sales.
Is sales productivity “efficiency” or “effectiveness”?
The concept of sales productivity is intertwined with the terms efficiency and effectiveness. However, as connected as they are, these concepts have different impacts on sales and marketing.
To give you the basic idea, sales productivity is a combination of efficiency and effectiveness.
Let’s dive in further the differences between these terms.
What is sales productivity?
To start, sales productivity refers to the relationship between a salesperson’s efficiency and effectiveness in achieving productivity gains. In a nutshell, a sales representative will only achieve productivity gains when there is maximized effectiveness and efficiency.
Another simple explanation is sales efficiency consists of all the efforts that a salesperson puts into work, such as time selling, costs, and actions. On the other hand, sales effectiveness is a results-oriented determining factor that can be observed through the completed sales cycle or sales processes.
What is sales efficiency?
Now, when a company makes sales, its resources must be wisely allocated to avoid any chances of overspending on time and effort to reduce unnecessary costs. This is where the efficiency of sales reps comes in.
When we talk about efficiency, it pertains to the economic strategies that sales professionals apply in terms of spending one’s resources, such as budget, efforts, and time spent.
However, from a salesperson’s perspective, the most valuable resource is one’s time. Say that a person works on a tight 8 to 5 schedule every day. Efficiency in sales can be observed if all members of the sales team can maximize their time on productive work.
In today’s time, there are many manual tasks that can pre-occupy a person, whether in a sales organization or not.
In fact, Forbes released data that suggests that nearly 64.8% of a sales rep’s time, on average, is spent on non-revenue generated activities, which leaves a percentage of 35.2% for actually selling-related activities.
In another write-up published by Business Wire, only 18% of sales representatives spend time using customer relationship management tools. In comparison, 28% of sales reps follow a structured time management system.
Clearly, sales representatives face different challenges in terms of hitting the mark of sales efficiency, whether it be in lack of organization or tools – it will impact the company’s revenues.
What is sales effectiveness?
While sales efficiency talks about wisely spending resources, the concept of sales effectiveness looks into how a sales representative uses these resources to achieve the sales goals set for the company.
If you find yourself being able to do sales engagement tasks aside from your assigned tasks for the week, then you may have achieved sales efficiency. But the extent to which you get to convert these tasks into sales defines your effectiveness.
A sales rep with high effectiveness yields higher output and conversion rates than the less productive ones while doing the same tasks.
But how come the more effective sales rep yields higher outputs?
Well, simply because sales reps who have higher sales effectiveness found a better and more efficient way to do their tasks. Therefore, being a step ahead.
Peak sales productivity and why sales teams should aim for it
Of course, the ultimate goal of good sales management is to have improved and sustained effectiveness and efficiency.
Peak productivity is what sales reps should yearn to reach.
But again, maintaining a seamless and productive workflow is easier said than done.
Another barrier that impedes achieving peak sales productivity is that there can be a web of marketing activities that may consume the time spent and compromise other vital actions for daily tasks.
As a matter of fact, it was found that reps only spend 19% of their time on understanding the needs of their prospects, innovating solutions, and presenting to decision-makers.
There is a need to overcome these barriers.
When not paid attention to, these barriers can delay any progress for the business and result in lost deals, unmet sales quotas, and losing new customers.
To overcome these barriers, there should be the added value of reinforcement in your sales and marketing team. And when we say reinforcement, we refer to reinforcing activities that optimize productivity.
For example, give importance to the value of your sales funnel no matter how established you think your business may already be.
Another is to boost salesman productivity by providing them several opportunities to understand further the importance of more sales with the help of your existing customers.
Before we go further on overcoming these barriers, it is essential to understand why attaining peak sales performance is essential for growth.
Why is sales productivity important in business growth?
Being productive at work is optimizing the amount of time you spend on doing a task and achieving the best results, and most of the time, the determining factor to this success is profit.
Sales productivity is essential, especially if you want to have a business that is running like a well-oiled machine – every process is seamless, every task is done, and everyone in the team is productive.
Although sales productivity also covers other tasks that aspire to achieve broader business goals, the overall importance of sales productivity is that it stimulates the business’s growth.
Another impact of sales productivity in business processes is that it provides you a bigger picture of the potential of your sales teams. Just think of it this way, looking at the individual sales reps alone will only give you a part of the bigger picture. Whereas if you give value to the overall sales productivity, you can have a more omniscient perspective of your sales and marketing team.
Understanding sales productivity metrics of a sales team
Now that we have already established the importance of sales productivity, the question is, how do you measure it?
Having metrics is vital to determining how effective sales reps are.
By definition, sales metrics are key performance indexes or data points that help determine the performance of an individual, a team, or even the whole organization. It gives you a clearer picture that helps you track your progress towards your set goals, prepare for key decisions, make changes, and identify necessary strategies along the way.
Identifying what makes up your company’s metrics depends on you. It is vital that from the beginning of your sales activities, you already have an idea of what key points to take note of to help you have a formalized structure to measure your performance better.
You may wonder what are the different types of sales metrics there are. Here are the different measures you should consider tracking in your business.
Sales Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
These KPIs are mostly used for the overall performance of your company.
- Total revenue generated: The total amount of the overall income generated from daily operations and sales activities across the company.
- Product or service revenue: The amount generated specific to a certain product or service offered within the company.
- Market penetration: The number of existing customers compared to the number of potential customers available in the market.
- Revenue percentage from new clients: The income garnered from new customers within a given timeline.
- Revenue percentage from existing customers: The income generated from repeat customers, repeat sales, and expanded service contracts.
- Year-over-year growth: This compares annual revenue on a year-to-year basis.
- Average customer lifetime value: This refers to the expected amount of revenue from a customer throughout their lifespan with the organization.
- Net Promoter Score (NPS): This metric is used to determine the number of customers that refer your product or service to engage buyers.
- The number of lost deals to the competition: This refers to the amount that your business is losing due to competition in the market.
- Revenue by territory: This refers to territory-based income.
- Revenue by market: This refers to the amount of sales income generated based on certain markets.
- Selling expenses: This refers to the total amount that your company or your sales reps invest in selling a product.
Activity sales metrics are the different activities that your sales teams are doing as part of their daily tasks. Activity sales metrics can be easily monitored through other members of the sales team, such as the sales manager.
In a normal sales organization, sales managers can monitor the different sales activities and administrative tasks during operations. In many cases where sales reps fail to meet quotas or accomplish daily tasks, sales training is usually conducted to increase sales rep productivity.
Therefore, these activities are just some of the leading performance indicators as they quickly predict the trends in your overall sales performance and monitor the movement of your sales processes.
Activity metrics include the following activities:
- Number of sales calls
- Spending time on sales conversations
- Number of emails sent
- Social media interactions
- Scheduled and completed meetings
- Pitch presentations and product demos
- Number of proposals sent
It is also vital to monitor the overall performance of your sales pipeline. With these metrics, you can track the different strategies that work and what don’t base on your sales funnel.
These indicators are usually measured within a given timeframe, such as quarterly or monthly. You may also use these measures based on individual or team performances.
- The average sales cycle duration: This refers to the total amount of time spent for leads to go through the sales pipeline until closing a deal forward.
- Open opportunities: The total number of opportunities for open deals done by a sales team or sales reps.
- Closed opportunities: The total number of closed deals and complete sales process.
- Weighted value of pipeline: This refers to the average value of deals within the sales funnel.
- Annual contract value: ACV refers to the total amount of revenue a contract can generate annually.
- Win rate: This is the total number of deals won divided by the total number of deals measured by individuals or teams.
- Sales funnel conversion rate: The total number of converted leads within the course of the sales funnel, which can be measured by individual or team.
Lead generation metrics consist of the different activities that boost productivity, specifically for lead generation and marketing alignment.
It simply helps in answering, “how are your sales teams performing in terms of prospecting leads, working on sales routes, and increasing sales?”
Consider some of these identifiers when analyzing your performance.
- The volume of new opportunities
- Average time of lead response
- Percentage of lead follow up
- Percentage of leads follow up within a specific time spent
- Percentage of dropped leads
- Percentage of qualified leads
- Customer acquisition costs
A big part of the sales process is reaching out to customers not only to increase sales but also to foster old and new connections to close more deals.
The following are the different outreach strategies that may apply to your company that can be considered part of your overall sales KPIs.
- Successful open rates
- Successful response rates
- Engagement rate such as the number of clicks, webinar participants, video views, etc.
- Total number of converted responses
- Number of callbacks
- Percentage of agreed prospect conversations
- Percentage of successful conversions over phonecalls
- Percentage of connections made through different social media platforms such as Facebook or LinkedIn
- Percentage of successful conversions done through social media
- Successful hosted events, tradeshows, and conventions
- Number of meetings and appointments set
- Percentage of qualified opportunities generated through social media or social events
Time Sales Reps Spend on Sales Process
Most companies invest in sales enablement and sales training. To make sure that the sales reps’ time is not wasted, you may consider tracking the following measures.
- Percentage of sales team members following the sales processes
- Percentage of sales team members using phone call script and email templates
- The average cost of training
- Average time spent on training
- Percentage of reps using sales productivity tools such as CRM
- Percentage of reps using new sales tools to complete an end-to-end sales process
Key Factors that Contribute Increase Sales Productivity
With a large scale number of challenges faced by sales teams, there are also a number of different strategies which you can use in order to overcome these challenges.
Before understanding how to coach and structure your sales team to reach optimal levels of productivity.
A firm organizational sales structure should imbibe consistency. A formalized sales structure involves unified strategies that apply to the whole sales team for productivity and overall improvement.
Focus and Attention
A sales organization will face different forms of distractions that may divert members to their set goals. To overcome this barrier, you have to eliminate the things that steer away from achieving sales goals, such as repetitive tasks and manually done activities.
Innovation and Technology
With the continuous rise of technology, the field of sales operations usually requires being adaptive to modern technology.
Learning different sales productivity tools can be overwhelming and time-consuming for people in sales. But using modern sales tools can serve as the link between the company and its consumers, making it possible to close more deals and achieve goals.
Data Analytics and Forecasting
One of the primary contributing factors that make productivity evident among salespeople is the ability to analyze data and forecast trends.
The ability to evaluate market changes enables companies to plan and decide accordingly should there be a need to make modifications to existing marketing strategies towards a better position in the market.
Challenges and barriers that impede sales productivity
Just like any department within the company, the sales team can also encounter its own challenges and barriers. Although it may vary in terms of structure, most of these challenges can be observed by both internal and external factors. Some of these challenges include the following:
With a diverse set of daily activities, it is important that team members have a mutual understanding of where the direction is set to move.
Simply because an unclear set of goals can make teams work in silos which can be highly divisive, trigger inefficiency, overlapping efforts, and wasted time.
The sales team should always be able to find the balance with the wide range of responsibilities in daily operations while ensuring that all departments are seamlessly working together despite diversity and complexity.
Unclear Sales Process
With an unclear structure of processes, there will be a challenge in optimizing operations and sales team efforts. To improve sales productivity, there should be a unified sales process for the whole organization – from the sales executives, sales managers, and down to the new sales reps.
Sales training should be a part of the organization’s methodologies in order to improve and increase your sales productivity.
It is important that teams are equipped with the right tools and latest technologies to consistently provide effective strategies in meeting organizational goals.
Scaling toward continuous growth
Scaling your business is a consistent challenge among business owners. Scaling consists of commitment and continual adaptation and evolution of the different facets of the company.
Therefore, research should be a core part of the company that drives its members to observe changes and continuously calculate sales productivity to have an in-depth understanding of what the company needs.
Of course, to have an excellent performance, teams should never work in silos. There should be all-out transparency and communication among its members.
Modern-day solutions include finding the right tools that have proven to increase sales productivity, such as CRM, productivity applications, and other collaborative tools.
Best practices to optimize productivity
Have a clearly defined mission
Keep your sales team focused on one goal. With a clear and concise mission, you can be sure that you will have a unified direction and can easily help you identify your performance metrics.
Identify your KPIs and Metrics
If you are able to identify your KPIs and metrics, it will be easier for you to keep things on the right track. You can also see what needs improvement and help you modify strategies when required.
Employ the right tools
Once you are able to understand your organizational needs, you can easily identify the digital tools that you need.
It is imperative that you employ digital solutions that address multiple departmental needs, empower the business, and provide top-notch support for peak productivity.
Invest in further improvement and growth
Being stagnant is the last thing you want to become. Achieving peak productivity requires endless opportunities for improvement. There always has to be room for improvement.
To boost productivity is just surface-level. There should be an avenue for your company to invest in future growth, such as looking into different software that automates tasks to improve sales productivity and drive sales enablement.
Champion the perfect sales productivity tool
Effective sales productivity can only be achieved by having a unified sales structure alongside a dynamic team working together towards the same goals.
However, the fierce and competitive market can be demanding to businesses.
It is survival of the fittest out there.
With the pandemic disrupting the course of how businesses operate, it has become more of a challenge to reach optimal productivity.
Good thing that there is technology. And now more than ever, technology has helped businesses overcome barriers, not only those that have long existed but also the current challenges that disrupt the day-to-day operations of enterprises.
Now that many sales managers and sales teams are required to be in constant connection with their screens and devices, it is important that you equip your sales teams with the right tools that not only embrace technology but also increase sales productivity.
The market is abundant with productivity tools, and it would take a whole lot of convincing and research before companies get to decide what is best to use.
You can start by identifying where your bottlenecks come from and are recurring within your sales flow. From there, you begin strategizing on looking for different applications that will help overcome these hurdles by minimizing your effort while reaching maximum and optimal support.
Sloovi as your technology essential
Let us cap off the journey to finding the right tools for your business with Sloovi!
Champion the perfect sales outreach tool for your team with an essential product that can make everything possible for your sales workflow.
We all know that sales and marketing consist of diverse and multiple tasks within the day.
The use of the right technology can help your team pass through barriers by eliminating time-consuming tasks through automation and eventually reducing friction in the overall workflow of your team.
Sloovi is going to be the perfect companion for you. The software can help eliminate tedious and repetitive tasks through a feature-packed platform.
This centralized hub can help you manage your sales workflows from the get-go to closing deals without breaking a sweat. The platform allows its users to manage numerous leads in just a few seconds, cutting down unnecessary time spent on manual lead prospecting tasks.
With an organized platform, you need not worry about tracking your progress because the platform enables you to have a unified view of all projects and tasks that you need to accomplish through each sales stage, making everything seamless to ensure peak productivity.
So with this platform, there is really nowhere to go but up.
Get to know more about Sloovi and experience productivity at its best!