6 Proven Ways to Improve Sales Productivity in 2021
Becoming productive is probably the mission of every company now. By establishing a productive environment within the company, businesses can achieve more without increasing their spending in acquiring additional resources.
An article published in Harvard Business Review upholds this by saying that today’s businesses need a different world view. To be considered as great companies, they need to obsess over productivity, not efficiency.
This is not surprising. In the current business environment, companies function in a fiercely competitive market, and sell products to a well-researched group of omnipresent customers. If they’re only efficient, which means doing the same repeated work with the available resources, their business will turn in to a sinking ship. Instead, staying productive which means doing more with the available resources is the need of the hour.
This brings us to the main agenda of this blog - Sales productivity in 2021. Unless your sales turnover is already in the upper echelons of your industry, you still be looking for different ways to maximize your sales potential. Your sales department is like a gear for your business, and when it starts moving, your other teams start operating like the pistons. However, if your gear is stuck or slow, you cannot create enough juice to run the other operations.
If you want to remain competitive, it’s high time that you examine your sales process, train your sales team, and identify the possible blockages that are slowing your sales. However, getting started can be scary, so in this blog, we will be reiterating the definition of sales productivity, and sharing different strategies that you can use to propel your sales productivity.
We also covered this topic in our weekly webinar. We invited Stephen Shartzer, VP of Global Sales at Animaker Inc to share his experience and ideas about sales productivity. Stephen has a wide industry experience, and has an expertise in building sales teams front the scratch. He has worked with conglomerates like Microsoft and Cloudera before joining Animaker Inc.
Here’s the recorded version of the webinar. By all means, go ahead and check this out, there are some serious words of wisdom shared by Stephen. We will also include a few snippets from this webinar within each point that we will be covering in this blog
How To Drive Sales Productivity In 2021 Webinar
What is Sales Productivity?
Simply put, the definition of sales productivity is maximizing the potential of your sales team, and minimizing the use of resources at the same time. It’s about establishing a balance between the two most important steps in the sales process - Sales Efficiency and Sales Effectiveness. With rising targets every year, this is a metric companies have struggled to optimize in the past.
To improve sales productivity you need to ensure that you’re aware of the factors that are stopping your sales team from achieving their highest potential. Some most-common questions that you can ask yourself to investigate what’s hindering your sales productivity are -
- Does everyone in your team contributing to the targets equally?
- Are the new hires well-trained enough to close calls?
- Is the team spending a lot of time in entering data to the CRM system?
Stephen had an interesting take on sales productivity. He was of the opinion that, “Sales productivity is the outcome you generate towards your end goal. Achieving the end goal by focusing on important activities such as prospecting, client meetings, networking with reduced resources is the best productivity formula.”
We’ve scratched the surface, now let’s go deeper into the subject to find out what drives sales productivity in 2021
Busy ≄ Productive
An average sales development representative makes 52 calls daily. If your sales team members are making more calls than that, then they’re super busy, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re productive. Productivity will depend on how many calls that they’re converting at the end of the day.
Time management while building a sales team is very crucial. Briefing every member in the team on where they should spend most of their time is pertinent. If your sales force feels that spending time only on making calls is being productive, then it’s time to take control on hands, and bring a transformation in the way work is done.
In the words of Stephen, “You can be busy all day and yet be zero productive. You have to focus on tasks that really matter, delegate others (if possible), prioritize according to the team’s requirements and plan your execution.”
Is data entry being productive?
Almost 27% of the sales team spend more than an hour working on entering data in the CRM system. The big question that needs to be answered here is that is it being productive? To be honest, there is no straightforward answer to this question. Information is power. The more accurate your information the more power you have over a customer.
When we asked this question to Stephen, after a hearty laugh he answered, “It’s kind of a double-edge sword. A CRM system helps a company, executives and salespeople too. Why is it so important? Because knowledge is powerful. If you don’t put in particular information about a company or a person, then you’re losing out on important things. The more information you have, the more time you save, and the more easily you solve problems.”
How to avoid recreating content?
This is quite frustrating for managers. If their team is spending too much time on recreating content for the same purpose, then they will never achieve the highest productivity level. For example, every time a customer asks for a brochure, instead of creating it fresh, the standard brochure can be used over and over again to avoid repeat work.
Repurposing your current content can also be a great idea for sharing information with your clients. Creating explainer videos from your emails is one such example. Videos are easy to understand, and they can be shared with customers effortlessly.
Stephen’s team create a lot of animated videos on Animaker, and they repurpose it wonderfully using Vmaker - “We create a lot of videos on Animaker because it’s easy, and my team doesn’t need to worry about recreating everything from the scratch. Also, we use Vmaker, to screen record the animation video to explain a process or just create a how-to video.”
What are the key KPIs you measure to optimize the sales process
If you don’t know how what KPIs you should measure to evaluate sales productive, then your efforts will reap you half-baked results. Measure everything that defines the sales performance. Start with the number of emails sent. Number of demo requests received, and also the number of content shared with the customers. If any or all of them appears to be on the lower side of the scale, you know where you need to start optimizing the sales process.
Stephen’s point of view, “Measuring KPI is the science part of sales. By measuring KPI, you identify the good, and waste of time activities. We track revenue, number of meetings, demo requests and even emails.”
How to advance prospects when stuck in a buying process
The Sales team spend one-third of their day talking to prospects. The higher number of prospects is great for your business, however, if they’re stuck in the buying process for a long time, then you have to do something to push them ahead. While there are a lot of tools and ideas that you can implement is to educate the prospect with value. Understand what is stopping them from buying, and then weed it out with a very personalized communication.
The sales team at Animaker does something similar, “We use Vmaker to send personalized videos to such prospects helping them connect personally without eating their calendar. This has actually helped us advance more prospects over the last few months.”
Training your resources - New employees, mentorship, Onboarding
Training is an integral part of the sales process. 42.5% of sales workers take more than 10 months to be productive enough to the company goals. To be more productive, effective training can go a long way in improving that. Better mentorship, onboarding process, and using more videos are some very effective steps to improve the training process. In fact, videos can be great for creating how-to videos, explainer videos, and giving virtual training. Managers in the sales team can use a tool like Vmaker, to record review and feedback videos. Videos are easy to understand, and there is a lot more clarity.
Stephen’s team create a lot of videos with the internal tools to train and onboard customers. Here’s what he had to say, “Training is extremely important. We use a lot of our internal tools to create videos. Animaker integrated with Zoom. We use this integration to create videos like live meetings, training, and role-playing videos. With Vmaker, we can also schedule a recording of the Zoom meeting even if you are not attending.”
Final words on sales productivity in 2021
Working on making your sales team more productive is necessary to sustain your business for the long run. Start by getting the definition of sales productivity right. A lot of companies still mistake productivity for efficiency. Once you’re through with that, start keeping a tab on the time spent by your team on calls because just being busy is not productive. Similarly, also check how much time is spent on entering data in the CRM system, if it’s too high you need to do some re-work there too.
Focus on repurposing the content that you already have.
This will stop your team from doing repeated work. Videos are a great example. Turn your emails, processes, and other documents into videos. With screen recording tools like Vmaker, you can record feedback, reviews, and how-to videos. These are great for sharing with your customers and even prospects.
If you liked the insights from this webinar, then you can register for our upcoming events on our webinar page. If you miss that, you check our YouTube channel. We upload the recorded version on the next day.