If you are currently working, or have ever worked, in sales, you’ll know the feeling… That desire to not only help nurture your clients and deliver the service/product they need but to close your deals and see your sales figure skyrocket. But what if you could make your sales results skyrocket, simply by making a few simple changes to the way you work?
The sales team is the lifeblood of any business, but sales productivity can nose dive for all sorts of reasons. The good news is, help is at hand.
From habits and best practices to quick wins and tools, here are 9 productivity hacks designed to help you #SellSmarter
1. Optimise Your Workflow
If you’re not already doing so, a CRM is something you should be using on a daily basis, and the more streamlined your processes are, the more you’ll benefit. It’s easy to fall into daily routines, but when was the last time you reviewed what you’re doing and how you’re doing it?
Perhaps there are tasks you can group together and run through first thing in the morning or the evening. Suddenly, your peak activity hours are clear of time-consuming tasks, leaving you more to time to focus on your pipeline.
Regular review can help identify areas of opportunity or areas for improvement and will ultimately help you optimize your workflow.
The Pareto Principle, or the 80/20 rule as it’s more commonly known, is a fantastic tool for growing your productivity, and ultimately, your business. It states that in general, 20% of your customers represent 80% of your sales. And 20% of your time produces 80% of your results. And so on.
As such, if you can figure out which 20% of your time produces the 80% of your business’ results, you can spend more time on those activities and less time on others. Equally, by identifying the characteristics of the top 20% of your customers (representing 80% of your sales), you can find more customers like them and dramatically grow your sales and profits.
2. Streamline Your Call List
It may seem like a small thing, but when you are preparing your call list, the order in which it’s displayed can help you both maintain focus and speed up the time in which you get through it.
Try sorting your list by industry or job title, or indeed any other vertical you use to change your script. Ideally, you will be able to keep all calls with similar scripts together.
This will stop you having to reset your mind each time you call someone new.
3. Refine Your Research Process
This step is easier now than ever before. From social media platforms like LinkedIn to analytics, the availability of business information online is abundant.
And because you know your product better than anyone, you also know which businesses need your product.
Do your homework and familiarize yourself with the industries and businesses of your potential prospects. What do they need? And how can you help them or add value?
Once you understand who you are trying to sell to, you can reach out and attempt to set up a meeting. A value proposition canvas may be of help here.
It’s worth remembering that potential customers have access to information 24/7. It has been shown that some B2B buyers are anywhere between 60% and 90% of the way through their purchase before they’ve ever had contact with the seller.
Which means your job is to then determine if the prospect has already engaged in the sales process, and if so, how far along are they?
4. Operate in One Database
Prospect research is a best practice in sales. Learning about the client helps prepare reps to better understand their clients’ needs, identify any potential pain points and rebut any possible concerns.
The challenge then becomes conducting proper research within a reasonable time and if you’re making 100+ calls a day, you simply won’t have time to jump between databases.
So, what’s the solution?
Easy, store all of your prospects in one place. Keep up-to-date records of prospects and their company info. Group, tag or filter your lists accordingly and view historical data or previous conversations.
This is where defining sales processes and CRM configuration pays off.
5. Automate Your Emails to Ensure Timely Follow-up
Research shows that 70% of sales teams do not re-contact the customer if they do not receive a reply to the first e-mail.
Yet 80% of sales require up to 5 follow-ups! Despite all the new communication tools we use, email is still an effective way to reach people. More than just a marketing tool, drip email campaigns can be invaluable in helping sales teams manage their pipeline.
Creating email templates and automating your tasks and follow-ups, allows you to give the right contact, the right information, at the right time, meaning you spend less time pitching or checking calendars and more time nurturing leads.
6. Help. Help. Ask!
If you’ve spent all that time crafting the perfect email sequence to send to the meticulously researched database – you want to know you’re going to see results. But what should your email sequence look like?
The best sales pitches (the ones that result in the most sales in the shortest amount of time) tend to be those that begin in a dialogue and / or can provide an immediate or obvious benefit to the recipient (tips, observations on their business, an e-book, article or a relevant fact or figure).
The best-known interpretation of this is the best-selling book, “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook…”, by Gary Vaynerchuck. Taking the view of jabs being the continuous, relationship building and engaging content and the right hook, the knockout blow to beat the competition and convert traffic to sales and results.
In other words, offering up a no-strings-attached tip shows you genuinely want to help and care about your client’s needs, rather than simply getting the sale.
It may sound and even feel counterintuitive, to give away information with no expectation of something in return, but remember, you are trying to establish a rapport and add value.
Taking the time to write a compelling email of value can save you time further down the line.
Quite simply, your initial contact isn’t about trying to talk somebody into buying something or doing something.
7. Have a Content Library
One of the biggest time-wasters for sales teams is searching for documents or relevant content.
But ensuring everyone has all of the necessary content they need, at the click of a button is not always an easy task.
The simplest way to manage this is to create a shared content library, that’s categorized, easy to navigate and regularly updated, and accessible to everyone. It may be a pain initially, but the rewards and time saved could be huge.
It’s important the sales & marketing teams have access to a variety of marketing content, as each client will invariably respond differently.
And of course, the content should be relevant as well as helpful – if the content only seems related, it has the potential to kill your leads.
8. Stay Focused
When an appointment gets cancelled, it can be tempting to simply move on the next task on your list. However, you’ve spent time and energy getting into the right frame of mind – so don’t waste that.
Stay in the same space and try not to shift gears.
If, for instance, you’ve prepared for a demo call, expected to run for half an hour, and the prospect cancels, spend that 30 minutes preparing for other demos booked for the week.
Your mind is already set on a demo call, let it remain there.
The instinct would be to spend your reclaimed time prospecting or making follow-up calls, but the likely reality is that unless you have leads and are fully prepared to prospect, you may end up wasting time and energy getting ready to make those calls.
Jumping into lead generation (or prospecting) is most effective, if it’s deliberate, planned, and scheduled.
9. Invest in Better Tools
Technology has disrupted the traditional method of selling but in a good way.
Tech is fueling new sales strategies and helping boost productivity. Sales technologies enable reps by providing templates, scripts, data, notifications and content, precisely when and where they need it.
The sales stack tells reps who to contact when to contact them and what content to provide in order to achieve optimal sales results.
Imagine a tool that would help you increase your team’s sales output and provide a greater insight into your processes.
– What value would you place on a such a tool?
– How much time could it save you?
– Or how much more revenue could it help you tap into?
All of a sudden, that tool investment looks mighty attractive.
What Have We Missed?
Have we missed something? How do you make the most of your day?