Photo of John Green
Sales Team Productivity Tips that Get Ignored

7 Often-Ignored Strategies that Improve Sales Team Productivity

Sales Team Productivity Tips that Get Ignored

Good salespeople tend to be self-motivated.

But that doesn’t mean that as a sales leader, you can’t have a significant impact on your team’s overall productivity.

Everyone on your team, from new recruits to sales veterans, can benefit from an occasional tune-up of their processes and productivity habits.

As a leader your productivity plan has to be broad – including not just tools and software, but sound strategy as well.

Here are 7 sales team productivity techniques that don’t get the attention they deserve. Follow these strategies to help your team reach new performance milestones, and hit their quotas.

1. Streamline tasks so they can focus on SELLING

Consider yourself warned. Non-revenue producing activities are eating away too much of your sales team’s time.

A recent Forbes article highlighted this surprising statistic: sales reps spend less than 36% of their time actually selling!

Think about that.

Tasks like managing lead data, sending follow-up emails, manual dialing for cold calls, listening to and leaving voicemails, logging calls and updating contact records… all of this takes precious time away from your team.

Why not make their lives easier by streamlining these processes?  With software like Phoneburner, you can build workflow automation into your sales process. That way, you can leave more time for your sales team to do what makes money – selling!

2. Nail your FAQs

So much of the selling process is addressing questions and concerns about your solution. Naturally this process takes time.

By fully preparing your sales team to answer these common questions… or using resources such as your website, sales materials, training documents, etc. to preemptively address them, you’ll speed up your sales process and prevent sales from slipping through the cracks.

FAQs should also guide your product development. They’re like a window into your prospects’ brains, and hold the key to closing more deals, faster.

3. Embrace the “solve, don’t sell” model

The weakness of many sales pitches is that they jump right into, well… selling.

As counter-intuitive as it may sound, this is a surefire way to lengthen your sales process (or lose sales entirely).

Effective selling is about positioning your product as a solution to an existing problem or need. Of course, different prospects have different pain points that need solving. That’s why the most efficient sales model begins with gaining this understanding.

Teach your sales team to ask the right questions to qualify prospects first, and then go about “selling” in a way that addresses those problems.

They’ll be more effective (and productive) for it.

4. Demand timely follow-up

OK, perhaps demand is a strong word. But setting firm expectations for timely follow-up is a must for keeping hot prospects, hot.

The expectation will likely vary by channel. For example…

  • Emails should be answered within 1 business day
  • Voicemails on the sales line should be called back within 4 hours
  • Real-time leads should be contacted within 5 minutes
  • Chats should be answered immediately

Setting standards like these goes a long way in keeping your team focused on high-value activities – which is essentially the definition of productivity. And it keeps high-value prospects… well, happy.

5. Plan for no-shows

In a perfect world, prospects would show up for every meeting, demo, or onboarding your sales team sets.

In reality, meetings are missed constantly.

As a sales leader, you’ve got to take responsibility in a couple of key ways:

  1. Make sure your sales team has a backup plan when no-shows happen (either in the office, or in the field). They should be ready and able to pivot right into another productive activity whenever this happens.
  2. Have a plan for preventing no-shows from happening in the first place. From  using compelling marketing messaging in appointment invitations, to sending compelling reminders, to embracing multiple technologies (ie. email & SMS), to ensuring timely availability on your sales teams’ calendars, you have a lot more control over no-shows than you think.

6. Encourage breaks

This might also seem counter-intuitive, but breaks are important. Your salespeople are actually more productive if you schedule their tasks in chunks of no more than 90 minutes each with breaks in between. Being hungry is a distraction, so build breaks for food and water in your schedule.

Your salespeople will also be more productive if they get some exercise during the day. Schedule breaks for that too, even if it’s just a brisk walk around the office.

7. Track how your staff use their time

Knowing how long your sales professionals spend selling, and seeing a record of their daily tasks (calls, conversations, email sent, voicemails left, etc.) can help you look for inefficiencies inside your team. Or throughout it.

Be a data-driven sales leader. Use tools to track your sales reps and regularly review this information to hold your team accountable. Phoneburner’s sales reporting feature gives admins the visibility they need, with the flexibility to track the metrics that matter most.

Wrapping up often-ignored sales team productivity tips

Keeping your sales team not just busy, but productive, is a challenge. Smart team leaders take a broad approach that includes both tools and techniques to keep the team focused on high-value activities. To recap, here are 7 strategies  for improving sales team productivity that don’t get the attention they deserve.

  • Automate calling and emailing
  • Make sure your team can properly answer FAQs
  • Embrace the “educate, don’t sell” model
  • Encourage timely follow-up
  • Have a pivot plan
  • Encourage breaks
  • Track how your staff use their time