According to The Bridge Group, 65% of B2B companies find sales productivity the number one challenge they face on a daily basis.
That can be quite a serious problem because sales productivity means maximising your sales results whilst minimising your expended resources (e.g. cost, time and effort), something that will have a direct impact on your revenue.
How can it be addressed?
If you are one of the 65% the good news is that the problem can be solved.
You might think the issue is due to poor sales reps. Granted, not all your agents will be pulling their weight sales-wise, but you must also think about all the other tasks they have to do on a daily basis that aren’t core selling activities.
By reviewing and streamlining your workflows and eliminating unnecessary tasks you can turn things around.
The barriers to better sales productivity
As your business grows so do your sales targets. As a result you hire more sales agents, but is that the best course of action to take?
Throwing more bodies at sales might seem the obvious option, but if your processes and sales tools aren’t up to the job it will be like trying to fight a forest fire with a water pistol.
The 7 reasons below outline why companies are struggling with sales productivity and how you can address them.
It takes time (usually about 7 months) and money to hire and train a sales agent. If that wasn’t bad enough, around 87% of the training content is forgotten within weeks leaving you with sales representatives with knowledge gaps.
Ongoing sales training is essential because it can lead to 50% higher net sales per sales agent. Training quality and engagement is also key because acquiring a new skill without practice is as effective as learning to swim, ride a bike or perform open-heart surgery by reading a book.
2. Introducing automation
Did you know that only about a third of your sales agents’ time is spent selling? The rest is taken up with repetitive and unproductive administrative tasks.
Review your sales processes to reduce administrative and data entry tasks and then automate as much of the sales process as possible.
This will not only boost your sales productivity, it will also improve your customer service levels by offering a more streamlined and efficient service.
3. Singing from the same song sheet
According to Forrester research, only 8% of B2B companies have sales and marketing departments that are tightly aligned. Too many organisations continue to operate a silo mentality causing missed opportunities and lost revenues.
Bringing these departments closer together with shared goals and targets will boost your sales productivity and provide a joined up process that will add value to your customers.
4. Exploit your content
Up to 95% of deals are influenced by content, but sales agents are wasting around 30% of their time trying to find relevant content or producing it.
The content you produce attracts interest, generates leads and nurtures prospects, which is why it should be used throughout the customer lifecycle. A central repository for all your content will ensure your sales team can find the relevant information quickly. However, you also need to make sure the content is available at their fingertips in their office and more importantly during their customer meetings
5. Social selling
Although social media is a huge part of our lives these days, knowledge gaps are preventing your sales agents leveraging it to generate sales and improve customer service.
Ongoing training in social media will arm your agents with the skills they need to use these platforms to glean insights that will assist them with the sales process. According to Aberdeen, those who leverage social media are 79% more likely to hit their targets.
6. Measuring selling
The problem with measuring selling is that the metrics used are less clear cut; it’s often judged by the number of calls made, but this will never give an accurate picture of the effectiveness of your sales process.
Visually identifying and regularly tracking the right metrics will boost your sales productivity. Areas such as win rate, average number of touches to conversion and sales cycle length will help you quickly uncover areas for improvement.
7. The right tools for the right job
Too many companies recruit and train sales agents and then leave them to their own devices.
The right sales tools are essential if you want your sales productivity to soar. From dynamic CRMs toall-in-one sales management tools, your team need the latest technology to streamline their processes, identify more opportunities and drive revenue.
Improve your sales productivity
If you want to boost your sales productivity you must make sure your team have the training, tools and easy access to the information they need to identify and drive sales.