How Technology is Changing Sales Productivity for the Better

Based on our Top Four Trends Changing Sales post, we’re unpacking each trend and taking a longer look at why and how each trend is changing the sales industry. This post is part one in a four-part series.  

We recently hosted a webinar dedicated to identifying and eliminating the challenges associated with sales productivity. In that webinar we shared an alarming statistic: reps are only spending 33% of their time on actual selling, which means that reps spend 67% of their time on low value busywork that doesn’t move deals forward. When we quantify productivity, or lack thereof, it’s startling to think that much of a rep’s time isn’t focused on selling activities like strategizing about a deal or thinking through a prospect’s problems.

These non-selling activities not only impact a reps ability to focus on deals, it’s a root cause to why buyers are losing confidence in Salespeople, and therefore, reps are in jeopardy of being left behind. What can we do to help our flailing Salespeople?

We have to implement new sales productivity rules and eliminate the challenges associated with sales productivity once and for all.

Give Reps Time to Work by Embracing Automation

Between scheduling and attending meetings, emailing, calling and updating CRM data–all these activities take up valuable time that a Salesperson should spend on working towards meeting their quota. When reps only spend a third of their time on actual selling activities and the rest of their time is dedicated to busywork—that’s fundamental flaw within their workflow. As we’re entering 2016, a new trend in cutting edge sales teams is to embrace automation and give time back to their reps.

2016 will be the year of the sales stack and it’s time for sales leaders to invest in one of the many sales technologies that are specifically designed to help their team be productive and reach their quota. Much like how marketing benefited from automation, in 2016, automation will come to sales in full effect.

Instead of spending their first few hours of their day manually updating lead information in their CRM, gathering email addresses from LinkedIn and writing the same email over and over–let machines do that work. Think about it: Sales is a numbers game, and if reps continue at this rate of only focusing 33% of their time on actual selling–your numbers are going to suffer.

Tools to consider:

  • ToutApp, focus on creating email templates for every sales scenario and automatically sync information with your CRM
  • ZoomInfo, get the right contact information and data for every prospect on your targeted account list

So, cut the mindless work and invest in a tool that will do the repetitive work for your sales team, so they can get back to selling and connecting with customers.

Outsource When Necessary

If your company is based in a tech-dense location, like San Francisco, New York, Boston, Austin, Chicago— compensation is highly competitive. When you pour thousands of dollars into getting the best reps, you’ll want to see a greater return in that investment. Meaning, you can’t let sales productivity tank your business because reps are focused on manual work rather than meeting their quota. Instead, think about outsourcing when necessary.

Sales automation is going to make a Salesperson’s job more efficient by eliminating busywork, but coupled with outsourcing—your reps will be hyper streamlined to focused on deals and gaining traction in the buyer’s journey.

So, what can you outsource? You can outsource high impact tasks such as initially researching leads and finding contact information (email addresses, social profiles, LinkedIn information, etc), instead of having your competitively paid sales team do it. All this information is valuable and essential to the business, but if you invest in outsourcing those activities to remote resources to find and enter the data—it’ll free up a tremendous amount of time off your reps.

Here at ToutApp, we rely heavily on UpWork, formerly oDesk, and we post jobs for people overseas who are skilled at research and data entry to go through our list of named accounts and research the companies to flesh out the information on our prospect lists.

Eliminate Context Switching by Segmenting Your Team

As the industry inches towards modernization with tools, technology and new resources—there hasn’t been much evolution to eliminate context switching between closing deals and prospecting. It’s hard for reps to switch back and forth between strategizing about a deal and prospecting into a new company.

As Sales evolves, many cutting edge companies have embraced segmentation between Account Executives (closers) and Sales Development Reps (SDRs – outbound prospecting). This segmentation allows AEs to focus on deals while SDRs focus on generating pipeline and booking meetings for their AE counterparts.

With what we’ve learned so far, SDRs can take productivity one step further by utilizing both automation and outsourced research in their prospecting efforts. For SDRs to be truly productive, your company has to invest in automation and outsourced workers first. Why? SDRs of the future will focus on personalization, and if your company has already invested in the automation and outsourcing, SDRs will have the time to take the extra two minutes to hyper personalize a cold email to their prospect.

Conclusion

There are a handful of things that you can do to yield better results from your entire Sales team, but to improve overall rep performance—the new trend will be to start with sales productivity. Why? The challenges associated with sales productivity are crippling sales teams everywhere and many are starting to eliminate it at all costs. This is one sales trend to follow.  

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  • Bobby Littman

    Great Article – thank you for the share.