Sales Productivity

Even if you have the best product offering on the market, your success still relies on the performance of your sales teams. After all, they’re the people responsible for communicating your brand’s value to potential buyers, attracting new leads, and often the driving force behind closing deals.

And yet, sales productivity remains a challenge for many companies as sales departments continue to grapple with inefficient sales tools and administrative overhead. Studies have shown that only about a third of a salesperson’s day actually contributes to selling.

So, how can businesses increase sales productivity and reclaim the revenue they can potentially achieve, especially alongside the adoption of new technologies like sales enablement platforms and proof-of-concept delivery methods?

What Makes Up a Productive Sales Department?

It’s easier said than done to make a business function more “productive.” In sales, the goal is typically increasing a metric like conversion rate, but some companies are digging deeper and drawing distinctions between cost-effectiveness and sales effectiveness.

At maximum sales effectiveness, your sales teams are achieving the highest results possible given the time and resources you provide them. By contrast, cost-effectiveness measures how much revenue you obtain compared to the amount you invest in your sales teams.

The distinction here shows that blindly throwing money at a department doesn’t guarantee success. Sometimes, you have to change the workflow or introduce new sales tools to ensure you’re getting a proper return on investment.

Even if your sales team is providing results, are they working as efficiently as possible? Are they utilizing sales tools and platforms to their advantage? Or is organizational overhead capping what could be even better sales performance?

Measuring Sales Productivity and Learning How to Increase It

Before you can raise sales productivity, you need to know where you are first and how you can measure progress. The objective way to measure success includes sales metrics:

  • Conversion rates, sales, and closed deals
  • Open and click-through rates of email marketing campaigns
  • Participation rates of marketing events like meetings and conferences
  • Deal efficiency, or the return on investment when compared to the resources invested

The formula for sales productivity depends on your specific organization and how it sees success. For example, a call center that works on cold calling might measure productivity by taking the number of calls that resulted in a conversion and dividing it by the total number of calls the team made, resulting in a percentage that represents sales productivity.

However, just as important is how you tie these numbers back to your sales efforts. What’s working in your sales funnel that drives these metrics, and what can you do to foster even better results?

Strategies For Addressing Holes in Sales Productivity

Ensuring high sales productivity starts with your teams. Provide them with the right resources and make any necessary policy changes to start boosting sales efficiency.

Invest in Staff Training and Onboarding

Sales productivity starts with staff. Well-trained, well-equipped personnel are the key to getting more “bang for your buck” in your sales investments. And this fact underscores the need for quality training procedures that:

  • Detail your product or service. Whether in the form of brochures, user guides, or employee manuals, provide information on the technical specifications of your product or service. What are its main selling points and value propositions? What pain points does it solve? And what is the target demographic?
  • Show off your sales processes. Educate new hires on how your company obtains new leads and closes deals. Software companies, for instance, benefit from employees who know how to conduct a convincing demo. And don’t forget to teach them the ropes of the sales tools you use, such as customer relationship management (CRM) platforms.
  • Are part of a formal onboarding process. The most successful sales teams have their training programs planned out. Find out what your sales personnel lack and tailor the training to fill in performance gaps. Everything from learning objectives and topics to delivery methods should be set in stone.

Training is especially vital for new hires, who must get up to speed on your company’s work culture, technical stack, and general workflows. Comprehensive onboarding also benefits the employees, who enjoy more confidence at work and are more likely to stay with the company.

Keep Sales and Marketing Operations Cohesive

While marketing teams attract new audiences to your company, sales teams are responsible for converting those prospects into clients. Because the two departments share similar goals, getting them to work together is the best way to gain new clients.

Tear down any communication barriers between sales and marketing so that both teams can share data and best practices, effectively helping to optimize the customer journey together.

Continue To Monitor Progress and Improve Productivity

As the market and consumer demand change constantly, sales cannot be a one-and-done. Continue to collect sales data and keep track of key performance indicators, which are invaluable for sales teams to identify opportunities to improve.

Modernizing Your Technical Stack to Boost Sales Productivity

Today’s fast-moving markets necessitate a change of workflow for most sales departments. While it can be daunting to shift business strategies so drastically, many sales productivity software tools and platforms have arisen to help businesses of all sizes scale up their sales and marketing capabilities.

Among those new developments is building new, interactive experiences for potential customers to get a hands-on look at your product offerings. Other tools are also available to empower your teams with the expertise they need to pull in more conversions.

Spicing Up Sales Meetings with Live Proof-of-Concept Demos

Any company can list out features and say that its software package is the most powerful or the easiest to use, but how many of them can prove it? Proof-of-concept demos allow sales representatives to provide a genuine simulation of how your software works in the field.

By delivering these hands-on demonstrations over the cloud, sales teams can showcase product features and offer interactive trials in a way that’s convenient for the customer.

Potential buyers get a chance to demo your software before signing any contracts or putting down any payments, and sales representatives can offer live guidance to help them find value in your software package more readily.

Demos are the most engaging and persuasive way to boost sales productivity. They increase conversion rates and allow sales teams to use their working hours more efficiently to communicate features and selling points in a live environment.

The Value of Sales Enablement Training

Another way to squeeze more results out of your sales investment is a sales training platform. While sales teams already know general tactics for obtaining new clients, do they know enough about your specific industry and how your company’s products fit into it?

Sales enablement is the business function of providing marketing and sales teams with the knowledge they need to communicate your product’s value to your customers. Sales enablement training specifically covers topics like:

  • Features and benefits of your solution
  • Use cases and scenarios where those features shine
  • Types of customers that are likely to find your solution useful
  • Comparisons with the competition and how your solution stacks up to others in the market

Just like with the sales demos example, a live demonstration is the most thorough way to educate sales personnel on your product.

Next Steps: Staff Expertise Is at the Heart of Sales Productivity

While providing sales personnel access to the resources they need through sales enablement is vital to sales productivity, it’s just as necessary to ensure they can use those tools effectively.

Interested in capitalizing on the benefits of software sales training? Take the next step forward with CloudShare’s Accelerating Software Sales: The Home Edition eBook, which covers pre-sales responsibilities like delivering proof of concepts and interactive demos to potential buyers. 

Do you manage a sales team yourself? Check out our 9 Must-Know Metrics to Measure Sales Engineer Performance to learn more about the most impactful sales metrics you can measure to boost the performance of your sales engineers.

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