As a sales manager, you are responsible for your team’s efforts, successes, and failures. But how can you guarantee success for your team? Short of taking over their calls and jumping back into a sales seat yourself, it can sometimes feel impossible. But, with these ten tips in hand, increasing sales productivity from the manager’s seat is simpler than it feels.
Let’s go over the top ten methods you can use to increase sales productivity on your team. After reading, you should have all the necessary information to get started on a plan that will help you smash your toughest targets.
Things to Know Before You Can Increase Sales Productivity
What is sales productivity? That is something of a loaded question. Why? Because measuring sales productivity can be challenging. What counts as productivity? If you’ve made fifty cold calls, have you been productive?
In my mind, the answer is… maybe.
To me, sales productivity is tied to outcomes, not activity. If you have made fifty cold calls but booked zero meetings, you have been busy but not productive. So, how do I measure sales productivity? Some metrics you should keep an eye on include:
- Number of new meetings booked
- Number of new opportunities created
- Potential revenue from opportunities created
If your sales productivity is low, you and your team risk running in place. When you have high activity and low outcomes, you have an effectiveness problem. If this sounds like your team, this post can help you achieve a bump in your productivity metrics.
1. Embrace Calendar-Blocking
My first tip for increasing sales productivity is to embrace calendar blocking. Multitasking is the easiest way to run around working like a maniac all day… while not achieving any outcomes.
When you and your team embrace calendar-blocking, you’ll set up a system that will allow you to focus all of your efforts on a single activity for a period of time, ensuring that each task is uninterrupted and is performed with 100% of your attention. Some tasks you may want to explore blocking time for include:
- Cold Calls: The easiest way to ensure that your team completes their cold calls is to schedule them. Encourage your team to block an hour or two each day for dedicated cold calling.
- Emails: If you answer every email you receive as it comes in, you will enter a cycle of constant distraction. This cycle is the easiest way to tank your efficiency. Instead, set aside a few time blocks of dedicated email time each day.
- Deep Work: Deep work is any work that requires a significant amount of brainpower and focus. Your team can block out times for deep work where they will avoid phone calls, emails, and other distractions and focus on one task at a time.
2. Use a Modern Sales Approach
Is your team stuck in a rut and getting ghosted by prospects? Try this out:
Observe one of your reps on a sales call. If the first words out of their mouth are some variation of "I want to show you how our company's solutions can help your business," you've identified your problem.
You've made it about you.
A legacy sales approach focuses on creating value for your company. A modern sales approach focuses on creating value for your customers. Instead of talking about what you can do for them, do something for them. Give them insights or strategies for free that they can actually use to solve their problems. If you do that often enough, the sales will come.
It can be difficult to change the way we have always done something, but it's your job as the leader to go first. Consider providing your reps with strategic talk tracks that they can follow that will give them the exact language they need to open, advance, and close valuable opportunities.
3. Establish and Track Core Metrics
If you don’t know your team’s numbers, can you accurately assess their performance and productivity? Of course, not. You first need to understand your team’s baselines to increase sales productivity. You can accomplish this by establishing and tracking core metrics.
Some of my favorites are:
- New meetings booked
- Cold call conversion rate
- Second meeting conversion rate
- Time to close
- Prospect to Lead, Lead to Opportunity, and Opportunity to Customer conversion rate
Notice how each of them is tied directly to an outcome? I'm not tracking the number of calls because pure call volume doesn't guarantee a meeting. I'm not tracking the number of activities because being busy is not the same thing as being productive.
Remember, the metrics you set are the ones that your reps will focus on. Establish metrics that create results.
4. Level-Up Your Onboarding
How long does it take for a new rep to be ready to hit the ground running? If your onboarding processes are ineffective or inefficient, it means your new reps will struggle to obtain the skills they need to succeed and be productive.
Examine your onboarding and training processes. Do you need to develop processes, documents, or programs that can help new hires succeed? The military has a saying: “Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.”
Take the time now to create processes that will help your new hires win, or I promise you will be taking the time later.
The more quickly you can get new hires up to speed and ready to crush their targets, the more productive your team will be as a whole.
5. Prospect Strategically
Prospecting is a critical part of any sales strategy. Your team must prospect to create opportunities and build your organization’s sales pipeline. Prospecting is the stage in the process where your team finds and connects with potential customers.
However, your prospecting processes will only increase your sales productivity if you prospect strategically. Firstly, you will want to build a sales prospecting plan. You can build a sales prospecting plan in five steps:
- Define Buyer Personas: Set up profiles of ideal-fit customers to avoid wasting time pursuing contacts who aren’t likely to become clients.
- Determine Key Info: Research trends, pain points, and common concerns in your target industry. Learn your prospects’ priorities and determine how your solution can help them reach their goals.
- Set Objectives: Set targets and KPIs for your prospecting efforts—otherwise, you will never know whether or not you’ve been successful.
- Determine Contact Mediums: Start preparing to contact your prospects! Before you reach out, determine the medium your contacts prefer. Remember that using multiple mediums can help increase engagement.
- Write a Tailored Script: Arm your team with the language they need to advance every sale. Create a script tailored to your buyer personas. Don’t be afraid to role-play and rehearse those scripts.
6. Offer Sales Coaching
One of the best ways to improve rep performance—and sales productivity metrics—is to offer sales coaching for your team.
You may feel like you don’t have time to coach your reps. I’d counter that statement with another: You don’t have time not to coach your reps. Sales coaching helps reps level-up quickly and efficiently.
By stopping bad habits in their tracks and reinforcing good performance, you can create the best possible results and practices in your sales reps.
RELATED: Sales Manager’s Guide to Coaching
7. Hold Reps Accountable
My next tip for increasing sales productivity is to ensure you have processes in place for holding your reps accountable. Holding reps accountable is fairly self-explanatory: You’ll need a way to provide consequences for missed goals or expectations.
How does holding reps accountable help increase productivity? Simple. Setting tasks, missions, and KPIs without establishing accountability is ineffective.
What incentive does your team have to meet your organizational goals if there is no consequence for failure?
It's important to remember that you can't hold reps accountable for failing to meet expectations that you didn't set. That's why bullets 3, 4, and 6 are so critical. You must set the expectations first. If they are clearly laid out, you must hold your people accountable.
8. Embrace Automation
If you haven’t explored automation in your sales processes by now, this is your sign that it’s time to start. Automation has been a sales industry trend for a few years now. Many sales software solutions offer automated features that can help your team be more efficient and productive.
However, you should approach automation with caution. Ensure you aren’t automating tasks that require a human touch.
Use automation for impersonal or administrative tasks like calendar management and reminders. This practice will free up your reps for more critical, human tasks like speaking to prospects.
9. Utilize Lead Scoring Processes
Next, let’s talk about lead scoring. What is lead scoring? This process helps you determine the potential value of various leads, prospects, and customers in your CRM tool. Scoring your leads can improve your team’s productivity be helping your team prioritize their activity.
What are some factors you should consider when scoring your leads? Examine:
- Industry: Would this organization find what you sell to be strategically advantageous? The more strategic their need, the more likely they will convert into customers.
- Insight Level: Do you have deep insights into a customer vertical? If so, you may want to consider prioritizing leads in this vertical, as you are uniquely positioned to offer additional value due to your knowledge.
- Access: Do you have active communication with a lead? The quicker you engage with a lead, the greater your likelihood of wining them. Once a lead is in conversation with a sales rep, it’s less likely they will go with another solution. Even if they don’t seem like the strongest lead, if you have a foot in the door, you should explore it. After all, every lead is a lottery ticket—you don’t know if you’ve won unless you scratch it.
10. Leverage Sales Training
Regardless of your team’s experience level, sales reps need regular, effective training to continue to succeed in the ever-changing sales environment. If you want to increase sales productivity, the surest way is to engage your team in modern sales training.
Ensure you do not book your team for legacy sales training and call it a day. Legacy training is ineffective at best and detrimental at worst—after all, you don’t want your team to waste their time learning tactics that make prospects run for the door.
My Sales Accelerator is the best way to quickly and efficiently remove fear and friction from your sales reps’ processes. I’ll arm your team with the language and skills they need to advance any sale.
Increase Sales Productivity and Crush Your Targets
With these ten tips, you should have the information you need to increase sales productivity for your team and start crushing your targets.
However, a word of caution: Understanding these methods is only half the battle. The other half is understanding your team’s specific sales blockers so you can work to overcome them. Without this understanding, you may struggle to implement any of the changes you need to increase your sales productivity.
Thankfully, I have the solution: Take my free Sales Manager Challenge! When you take the Sales Manager Challenge, you’ll get a free consultation to unlock your sales blockers and learn how to counter them.
Take the Sales Manager Challenge today to get your sales team off on the right foot this quarter!