People.ai

Increasing your sales team’s productivity leverages each rep’s value to the organization and ensures that effort is not wasted. Productive sales reps earn more and tend to feel more satisfied in their jobs — which can lead to higher retention. Not only do organizations need to improve efficiency with cutting redundant or wasted effort, but they need to boost productivity.

How can you do that?

Here are seven strategies to boost sales productivity:

1. Invest in Managers

Sales managers are your inspirers on the ground, and their expert hand on the helm is key. Seventy percent of team-level engagement can be chalked up to manager skill, according to Gallup research. The same study notes that systematically hiring talented managers can result in 27% higher-than-average revenue per employee. A Harvard Business Review article on leadership notes, “Inspired employees bring more discretionary energy to their work every day. As a result, they are 125% more productive than an employee who is merely satisfied. Stated differently, one inspired employee can produce as much as 2.25 satisfied employees.”

2. Remove Obstacles to Productivity

Before implementing other measures to increase your team’s productivity, it’s helpful to make sure there aren’t any obstacles standing in their way. “Sales leaders must ensure that sales reps are not burdened with administrative tasks when gathering productivity data,” according to the SiriusDecisions Sales Productivity Quotient Model. Today’s sophisticated artificial intelligence solutions like People.ai take the headache of monotonous busy work away from sales representatives and leave them more time for key person-to-person conversations.

3. Deploy Talent Strategically

The right people-management practices have a big impact on your productivity. All companies — successful and not-so-successful — report having the same percentage of star employees, about 15 percent of their workforce. Instead of distributing opportunities in an egalitarian way, Harvard Business Review recommends that the most talented people be assigned to business-critical roles. Their research shows that in the most successful organizations, 95 percent of these super-important jobs are given to the top talent — the A-list players. Naturally, as the researchers point out, it’s essential that you find out two facts: Which roles are most essential, and who are your best people. Star talent is a resource that your whole company can benefit from.

4. Empower Your Team

Productivity expert Michael Mankins writes that successful organizations “provide their employees with autonomy and authority to bring new ideas to life.” This correlates with Daniel Pink’s classic identification of autonomy, mastery and purpose as the three main components of motivation. Pink notes that effective teams make sure their people know that “they won’t be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns or mistakes.”

5. Build Engagement by Appreciating Your Employees

Recognizing and appreciating sales team efforts is an essential element of building engagement and (thus) productivity. Gallup research finds that 87 percent of employees are not engaged with their work, and “A highly engaged workforce means the difference between a company that outperforms its competitors and one that fails to grow.” Only 1/3 of U.S. workers state that their good work was praised or recognized in the past week, despite the fact that this type of recognition has high impact on productivity. Gallup also notes that peer to peer expressions of appreciation are powerful in building teamwork and motivation.

6. Seek Deep Insight into Sales Productivity

In order to increase something, you need to understand what it’s made up of. The Sirius Sales Productivity Quotient divides sales productivity into five components:

  • Activity: Number of meetings with prospects, calls, emails sent, etc.
  • Pipeline: Overall number of opportunities won and lost, and time involved in achieving the wins.
  • Enablement: HR statistics on sales team personnel.
  • Performance: Individual quota attainment balanced against sales team forecasts.
  • Demand: Leads generated by marketing and sales departments, together with conversion rates.

Once your metrics are clear, you can measure and track each of them, rather than merely noting raw sales numbers.

7. Create a Replicable, Scalable Process

In the words of People.ai’s CEO Oleg Rogynskyy, “Sales is about process, not personality.” Each company is unique, but you can find out the best way to express your own individual sales magic. Notice who your best talent is, and then create metrics around their activity levels. How quickly do they return emails? How many emails do they send out? How many external attendees are there at their demos? How long are their meetings or calls with prospects? Your most successful sales reps may have their own individual styles, but certain patterns will begin to be obvious if you compare what they are doing. The process can then be replicated by coaching all team members on the metrics that count, without eroding their individual autonomy.

In Conclusion

In an era when capital is abundant, (and expected to stay that way for the next two decades), the best growth strategy involves making numerous small investments. Solutions that provide you with a deep understanding of sales productivity will ensure that your investment will pay off.