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Best Practices

10 Ironclad Tips for Increasing Sales Productivity

Chris Black
July 14, 2022
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Has your sales team hit a wall in growth that you can’t just seem to climb over? Or even worse, does it feel like a whole series of walls that keep popping up every time you make a little bit of progress? Increasing sales productivity is one of the most challenging tasks of any sales or operations manager because there are so many different layers to what makes a successful sale. However, we’ve compiled our top 10 tips that have been proven time and time again to help salespeople reclaim more time and improve their win rates.

Top 10 Tips to Help Your Sales Team Win More Sales

1. Use Automation Tools to Minimize Admin Work

One of the first ceilings your sales team is always going to hit is the most human problem of all: there’s too much to do and not enough time to do it. Both sales managers and sales reps sometimes don’t realize how much of their selling time evaporates to common admin tasks that are part of the sales process, such as emails, data entry, note taking, Salesforce record updating, etc. 

So, until Musk or someone can figure out how to gift every sales team some sort of tesseract, you need to find ways to reclaim the limited time your reps have in the day, so more of it goes towards selling and less of it gets eaten by admin tasks. 

Integrating task automation tools into your tech stack is one of the best ways to raise your productivity ceiling by removing some of the most repetitive, time-consuming admin tasks. 

Some great options for automating some of the most common sales admin tasks include:

Rattle

Rattle is a bi-directional Slack/Salesforce integration tool that allows you to bring your Salesforce data right into Slack. More importantly, it will enable you to create workflow automations that alert your employees of missing Salesforce data, remind them to add notes after a meeting, help them log calls, and much more. And because it works inside of Slack, your reps will get all of this inside a productivity platform they’re already familiar with, so you won’t lose too much time to integration and adoption. 

As a bonus, Rattle will also help you improve your data accuracy inside of Salesforce, so your reps will be able to spend less time doing pipeline admin work, but they’ll also end up with better data to help them win more deals.  Set up a free Rattle account here.

Outreach

Outreach is a sales engagement platform that not only allows you to analyze your sales pipeline and find ways to improve productivity and success, but it also allows you to turn your entire sales funnel into one smooth workflow, with automation like email follow-ups, text messages to prospects, and more. 

It also gives you insights into how much of your process is automated vs. manual and shows you ways to further increase your sales productivity by using data from your best sellers to inform how the rest of your team can better close more deals. 

Salesloft

Salesloft functions very similarly to Outreach, giving you insights into your sales pipeline as well as allowing you to automate many of the communication steps within it. Both Salesloft and Outreach offer excellent tools for both insight and automation, so which one works best for your team will likely come down to personal preference. 

2. Ongoing Coaching to Help Reps Improve Their Skills

Too often, sales managers focus more on pipeline metrics than working directly with their reps to hone the interactions that actually happen with their prospects. And yet, this is often where sales are really won and lost. 

Investing in ongoing coaching and sales training with your reps can be just as, if not more, effective than adding in any new sales tool. By working with your reps one-on-one to identify issues they may be facing when it comes to closing sales or where they may be struggling with their processes, you can help even out close rates across your team and bring everyone to a higher level. 

If you’re struggling to provide the right ongoing coaching to your team, tools like Salesloft and Outreach (which we just mentioned) can help you identify areas of sales activities that need strengthening in each rep and give you the insights you can use to help each one reach their full potential. 

3. Decrease Time to Ramp with Smart Onboarding

Smart onboarding is the kind of practice that costs a little more time initially but pays dividends in time saved and results rendered over time. Michael Tuso, sales coach and mentor who’s worked with many venture-backed startups, says that smart onboarding is his number one tip for sales teams that want to increase their productivity and revenue. 

Many companies just let salespeople jump right in without any coaching or training when they start with the company. As a result, their overall performance of revenue is not great. And they can develop really bad habits that are difficult to break.”

Michael has also seen that too many of these companies not only fail to set many salespeople up for success by walking them through how to access all the resources they need to be successful, but they also fail to really key salespeople in on the core values of the company and the problems they’re trying to solve. 

“The most important thing that they should start with is the original problem that the company is built to solve,” Michael explains. “And then the landscape of their buyer around that. Then work backward from there to what the product does.”

So while it may be tempting to focus heavily on setting your salespeople off as quickly as possible with just a basic understanding of your company’s products or services, taking the time to onboard them correctly makes it easier for them to ramp up their productivity faster over time and ultimately helps them yield better results. 

4. Use Prospecting Tools

Utilizing prospecting tools can be a huge leap forward for sales teams that want to save time on lead sourcing and qualification. Using intelligent prospecting tools to find and enrich new leads can massively boost your productivity by helping you quickly hone in on the leads most likely to close. Some of our favorites include:

ZoomInfo

ZoomInfo is a popular prospecting and lead generation platform that creates profiles of business people and companies based on data it collects from various sources. It provides a single platform for data, insights, applications, and integrations that provides a comprehensive insight into how to locate, engage and convert customers across your entire addressable market. It’s a great “all-in-one” prospecting tool that can help you supercharge your productivity and conversion rate with better leads across the board. 

LinkedIn Sales Navigator

According to LinkedIn, their Sales Navigator tool “combines LinkedIn’s network data, relevant news sources, and your accounts, leads, and preferences to help you better connect and build relationships with the buyers you need to engage.”

Sales Navigator does basically the same thing many of your reps are likely already doing - combing through LinkedIn for relevant information on your current leads while sniffing out new ones. LinkedIn has one of the most extensive libraries of business leaders globally. They’re using this advantage to offer a sales tool that helps you take advantage of all the data points available in their network to generate new, qualified leads. 

Clearbit

Clearbit sources lead data from over 250 public and private data sources, including social profiles, company websites, legal filings, crowdsourcing, and many more. It then dynamically weighs and scores each data source to decide which one(s) they should attribute to a given lead. Clearbit also uses four stages of verification to ensure the data is accurate. If you not only want more data on your leads but you want to ensure that data is as accurate and holistic as possible, Clearbit is a great option.

5. Encourage Knowledge Sharing Across The Team

Sometimes the culture of competitiveness and hyper-focus on closing among sales teams can result in each rep sitting on their own little pile of information that they believe belongs to them and no one else. Many of them don’t realize that hoarding knowledge and not sharing it with their fellow team members can result in fewer wins, not more.

Sharing knowledge can help your reps identify what works and what doesn’t work much faster and more effectively, allowing them all to tweak their strategies and fill in gaps they may be missing as new objections are discovered. 

And knowledge sharing shouldn’t stop at just your team. Knowledge sharing between teams such as sales and marketing helps everyone understand different aspects of the customer journey and utilize the knowledge that other teams are gathering to improve their own strategies and approaches. 

6. Create a Central Hub for Sales Content

Working from a single source of truth for all your sales content can have enormous benefits for your sales team. First, it creates consistency across your entire sales strategy, ensuring everyone is working from the same materials at all times. This makes it easier to flag potential issues both in your content and your implementation.  

Second, it saves reps from searching through emails and Slack alerts looking for the latest updates. 

It’s one of those things that makes so much sense once you have it, but too many teams don’t invest the time in creating and maintaining it and then lose out on the productivity boost. 

7. Split Test Cold Outreach Emails

Ever wonder why there’s so much conflicting information out there about how to increase your email open rates and click-throughs? Well, if no one else is going to say it, we will! It’s because no one is ever really sure what works. 

Audiences are fickle, and a subject line that might work incredibly well for one product with one persona might perform terribly with a different product but the same persona. 

So, how do you improve your cold outreach effectiveness? A good ol’ A/B test (also known as a split test). Write two different cold outreach emails, then send each one to half your prospecting list and compare the results. 

Now, before you do this, it’s essential to keep in mind a few key things that make split tests effective. 

First, you should only ever test for one metric at a time. Decide what result you’re looking to improve, whether it’s open rate, click rate, or reply rate. Then, only change one significant thing in your campaign to test your results, for example, your subject line. 

Keep repeating this with different tactics until you find the ones that work for you. We highly recommend using data insight tools to help you track your results over time. Many can even give you a deeper analysis of what is and is not succeeding in these tests to help you decide what to change next. 

8. Implement Incentives and Contests

Who, in total honesty, can say they hate the feeling of winning? Even better, have you ever known a salesperson that didn’t absolutely love the high of not only clinching a prize but doing it better/faster/bigger than their co-workers?

Wins in sales don’t need to be reserved for closing deals. Creating regular goals with fun or useful prizes for things you want your team to improve on can increase your sales team’s productivity and overall morale. For example, if you want to improve your team’s data hygiene practices, you can award a prize to the sales rep that fills out the most data fields in their Salesforce records or catches the most data errors. 

One pro tip is to stay away from cash prizes. Cash prizes can result in a little too much competition and often erode the morale of the people who don’t win them. Instead, stick to mid and low-value prizes that people will want to show off or will be fun to use. 

9. Practice Inbox Zero

A sales rep's inbox can be their best friend or worst nightmare. Too often, it’s the latter, with thousands of emails piled up day in and day out, pretty much guaranteeing that key correspondence will be missed. 

Inbox Zero is another key practice that Michael Tuso swears by and finds that it’s one of the most common stumbling blocks for salespeople who can’t isolate why things keep falling through the cracks. 

“Most of the salespeople I know don’t do this,” Michael tells us, “and as a result, things often fall through the cracks. If I do a one-on-one with someone and say, ‘Let's go through emails,’ I almost always find something they missed because they don’t practice inbox zero.”

Michael says he treats his inbox not as a dumping ground for information but as his daily checklist. He clears out every email by the end of the day, starting with an empty inbox each morning. That way, new information doesn’t get buried under the old, and he has a clear picture of what needs to be taken care of that day. 

10. Get a Recurring Meeting Going with Marketing

It’s honestly pretty baffling why so much disconnect exists between the marketing and sales teams. Each team has a significant impact on the other. Yet, they often work completely isolated from each other, inevitably creating problems that could easily be avoided with a little more cyclical communication. 

Marketing needs feedback from sales so they can understand what messaging and tactics are proving most effective for converting leads and making them ready to have a sales conversation. In addition, marketing should know what pain points the sales team is uncovering in their conversations with customers, while the sales team needs access to the latest marketing collateral to help them boost their pitches. 

Scheduling regular, recurring meetings for these two teams to exchange information can make both teams more effective in their individual roles and help you create a system where the success of one builds the success of the other, and on and on it goes.  

Key Takeaways

If you want to increase your sales productivity, you need to look beyond just customer interactions and find new ways to support your salespeople beyond the time they spend on the phone. Improving your internal organization, offering coaching, and helping them automate some of the most repetitive (but essential) admin tasks in their workflow will help salespeople reclaim their time and help them work from better information that they can use to craft better sales conversations. 

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