Every sales team in the world is, at all times, looking to improve sales productivity. Whether they succeed or not depends on any number of factors, not the least of which is how they approach the task. There are countless wrong or half-right ways a company, team, or individual might boost performance, but only a valuable few that will work consistently and reliably in any industry. Fortunately, we’re here to give you a head start on the process, with five key methods for boosting sales productivity that no one ignores.
Pay Attention to Metrics
There are countless tools available that make analyses of teams and individuals trivial compared to the difficulties of data crunching even a few years ago. Any sales person or sales team lead looking to improve sales productivity needs to be looking hard at the hard data, figuring out what actions are leading to sales most effectively, which people have problems with which tasks, what demographics respond best to which approaches. If you’re not gathering data, not looking it over and figuring out what it means for your sales productivity, you’re not really trying. It’s that important.
Refining the Sales Process
Defining and refining process should be considered another mandatory aspect of improving sales productivity. Even the most natural, unfettered sales person benefits from putting on paper what they do to close a sale. In doing so, it becomes much easier to analyze what is and isn’t working, much easier to teach their most useful tricks to coworkers and improve across-the-board productivity, and much easier to experiment with new approaches without introducing confounding factors. When you understand your sales process intimately, you understand your sales intimately, and you become a better sales person as a result. Individuals and teams should both be looking at process, and both are considering ways to apply metrics to refining those processes.
Word of mouth matters more than anything else. Returns hurt the bottom line more than missed sales. Unhappy customers cost more money than they’re worth, and happy customers come back for more—and bring their friends. With all that in mind, it’s common sense to ensure you’re making customers happy for maximized sales productivity. Sales people who utilize underhanded tactics to boost their numbers today fall behind tomorrow, when the company’s reputation plummets, the customer service lines are full, and every review on the internet seems dissatisfied. With just a little more effort, you’ll get referrals, good reviews, and dedicated customers that stick with you even in those times that your products are behind the competition’s--a major boost to sales productivity.
Sales productivity shouldn’t only be considered in terms of individual performance, but in terms of how the salespeople work together to optimize their results. A well-lead, well-organized team can put metrics and process refinement to work for the greater good, putting the best man or woman for a particular demographic or sales medium to work on that task, keeping those with weaknesses working other jobs, and sharing valuable tips and information for closing more sales. A team that works well together will do far, far better than another team of more talented individuals that don’t work together.
Maintaining energy is another vital aspect of boosting sales productivity. There are many ways to do this, from the inside and outside. Team leads and company decision makers can boost sales productivity by thoroughly incentivizing better work. Good incentives, such as personalized reward, recognition within the company, health benefits, etc., work wonders at making sales personnel excel—just don’t rely on Byzantine incentive systems, or think that throwing more cash at your team will get better results. Cash is a weak incentive. On a personal level, individuals should aim for difficult but reachable goals and figure out ways to stay positive (breaks, etc.).