9 Tips for Sales Managers to Increase Sales Team Productivity
1. Build a Winning Team with Smart Onboarding
Companies that have an effective onboarding process for new sales reps enjoy a productivity advantage.
Research shows these companies have on average 10% higher sales growth rates, and 14% better sales and profit objective achievement.
These are some ways to get your team up to speed faster:
One week before new hires start, share a slideshow with them that explains your company culture. This will enable them to come in confident and prepared.
On day one, new hires should have a basic understanding of:
Your company’s history, values, and mission
Your team’s structure and leadership
Your team’s trait and specialty
The trick of smart onboarding is to treat your new hires as your prospects. Leaving a great first impression on your new reps can help facilitate your future cooperation.
To do that, make them feel your support and guidance.
Chat about their life goals. People love to talk about their passions. Knowing their passions and goals allows managers to know which tasks are best suited for each rep and which projects will allow them to develop the skills they're more interested in.
Harvard Business Review found that new hires who had a one-on-one meeting with their manager in the first week experienced early growth. They also spent 2x more time collaborating with their teammates than those who did not have a one-on-one.
The next step is to set milestone-based goals with 30, 60, and 90-day plans. For example, an effective 30-day plan would be focused on learning about the products, the buyers, and the market.
Then, schedule check-ins to discuss their progress. Having open communication channels with your reps is really important to understand their concerns, needs, and pain points.
InsideView helps salespeople find B2B prospects through data intelligence.
This app enables sales reps to manage data through the cleaning and updating of accounts, contacts and leads in real-time. It also allows reps to discover new markets to expand their reach, and engage with buyers through data and insights.
Using chatbots is another way to automate some parts of your sales process.
Chatbots can save time to the sales team by qualifying website visitors, allowing them to schedule meetings, answering some product questions, and more — just like a human would, but with reduced costs.
Route optimization is another type of automation that can help you save time and costs to increase sales.
Finding the optimal route for multiple stops is a complex calculation, because of factors such as distance, traffic, number of turns, etc.
That’s when you need route optimization software that uses computer algorithms to quickly compare all different scenarios and find the fastest route.
Here are some strategies you can follow to keep your team motivated:
Praise in Public
Public recognition is an easy way to boost employee motivationand engagement. Everybody likes being appreciated in front of others for specific contributions to the team.
You can host a regular meeting celebrating both big milestones and small achievements. In the meeting, recognize all the goals your team has achieved since the last appreciation meeting, then select a few high performers.
When praising your reps, be specific so that they know exactly what they did well, whether it is a powerful demo or a super effective sales pitch.
In addition, other team members should be able to recognize their colleagues. This can foster an atmosphere of appreciation and teamwork.
Studies prove that the levels of organizational trust have a direct impact on productivity.
Trust provides the foundation of motivation and it’s an important factor of a sales team’s success. If your team doesn’t trust you, they’ll be less driven to work.
It’s also important to show your reps that you're invested in helping them achieve their professional goals. For example, schedule a 1-on-1 meeting to discuss your reps’ career path, where they want to improve, and how you can support them.
Once you gain a better understanding of your reps’ objectives and challenges, you can now infer what motivates them.
6. Make Your Reps Experts on Your Product and Your Competitors
Salespeople sell what they know.
With thorough product knowledge, reps will be able to answer any questions about the product, list all the benefits, and cater them to their prospect's needs. All of this creates trust in their prospects, which is essential to close the sale.
That’s why product knowledge training is necessary for any sales rep to perform well.
Many sales managers focus their training on the features of their product or service. But that is not enough.
Features attract buyers, but benefits drive sales.
A better way to present the training is through the lens of the customer — showing your reps how to identify customer needs and how your solution can benefit them. Show them customer stories that illustrate how your products solved your prospect’s biggest pain points.
But as important as knowing your product from the inside out, it’s to be an expert on your competitor’s product and how to differentiate it from yours.
An easy way to do that is by reading customer reviews of both your product and your competitor’s. This will help your reps understand which features are most popular. Also, it will enable them to speak your customers’ language while making a sales pitch.
8. Monitor and Improve Sales Performance with Key Metrics
You can’t manage what you don’t measure.
The best way for sales managers to visualize their team’s activities and measure performance is through sales KPIs that demonstrate how effective and efficient the sales department is.
Having effective ways to measure your sales performance is the key to reaching your goals faster and increasing productivity.
Here are some important sales KPIs to track:
Lead-to-Sale Conversion Rate
This common sales KPI calculates the percentage of new customers compared to all your leads. It measures the effectiveness of your sales team in converting leads into customers.
If your lead-to-sale conversion ratio is low, you can give your reps some tips on how to follow up effectively. Turns out that 80% of sales require 5 follow-ups or more, but 44% of sales reps give up after 1 follow-up.
When tracking conversion rates, you may find that some of your team members are underperforming. Schedule a meeting with them to provide some personal training.
Although not every lead will turn into a customer, improving the sales process will help increase the lead-to-sale conversion rate.
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
CLV represents the total amount of money you expect a customer to spend on your products throughout their entire time as a paying customer.
Tracking this KPI helps you determine whether it’s profitable to acquire or retain customers. For example, if a new customer costs $40 to acquire, and their lifetime value is $50, then the customer is considered profitable to acquire.
The most direct way to calculate CLV is shown below:
Measuring CLV for different customers will benefit your decision-making. It can indicate who your most profitable types of customers are, or which products have the highest profitability.
Knowing exactly which prospects to focus on will boost your sales productivity.
There are many more sales KPIs that you can collect to monitor your sales performance, but you should always focus on the ones that are relevant to your sales process.
9. Provide Continuous Training for Continued Success
Now you know how to monitor the performance of your sales team — but that’s not the end.
It’s just the beginning.
Salespeople will forget 80-90% of what they learned in training within a month, according to Sales Alliance. To make sure your team’s productivity is always at its peak, you need to provide continuous training.
Some top training strategies include:
Align their roles with your sales goals, strategies, and needs
Your reps should have a clear view of the role they play in the team’s sales strategy and goals. You can create a chart that links their responsibilities to your common goals.
Adopt peer learning
Salespeople grow faster when they are surrounded by top performers. They can learn skills like self-direction, problem-solving, and people skills.
Keep up with industry trends
The sales world is constantly changing, and so should your sales team’s strategies. By staying on top of industry trends and news, your team will be better equipped to get the job done.
Every sales team is different, so make sure you customize your training based on your reps’ unique characteristics.
Training must be an ongoing process to adapt to the constant evolution of the sales industry.
A natural curiosity drives salespeople to askthe right questions. The answers to those questions help them map the solution to their prospect’s needs.
If you’re not naturally curious, no pressure. You can ask yourself a few questions before every sales meeting:
Who - Who will you talk to? Who are the decision-makers?
What - What are their objectives and challenges?
Why - Why do they need your solution?
How - How can you help them? How will you convey your message?
Also, never underestimate your creativity.
What makes selling interesting is that you can’t sell a solution to every prospect the same way. That means you constantly need to come up with a new approach to highlight the value of your product. By regarding selling as a creative and non-repetitive task, you will get intrinsically motivated.
When you are genuinely interested in solving problems for your prospects and customers, you’ve got a winning mentality in sales.
2. Achieve Your Goals Faster with Sales Efficiency Tools
Speaking of winning mentality, something that winners do is working smart, not hard.
Top-performing salespeople use technology to their advantage — to focus on selling instead of spending time doing busy work.
Digital calendars and appointment setting tools are designed to optimize your daily schedule and coordinate it with your prospects. Google Calendar and Outlook Calendar are industry favorites, while Calendly allows prospects to schedule meetings for time slots that work best for them.
For outside sales reps, there’s no better time-saver than route planner apps.
Badger Maps is the best example of such a tool — this app helps you find the best sales routes and streamline every aspect of your job, from territory mapping to lead generation.
Inmails, LinkedIn’s version of a direct message, enable you to communicate with leads even if they're not your connections.
However, generating high-quality leads requires more efforts:
Post Targeted Content
Content is king, even on LinkedIn.
Check out which topics your prospects follow, then offer top-notch blog posts or webinars around those topics. It’s a great way to answer their questions and show your expertise, even before starting a conversation with them.
Remember that users who are not in your network can still follow you from your published content, so your next post will be seen by them.
Join LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn Groups provide a place for professionals in the same industry or with similar interests to share their insights, ask for guidance, and build valuable connections.
Joining a specific group helps you filter and qualify your target leads. More importantly, that’s where your conversation begins.
By focusing on the right leads, you’re working towards an increased CLV and, therefore, you’re increasing your productivity.
4. Master Time Management
If you did generate great leads, congratulations — 80% of sales come from 20% of clients.
But to be able to close those deals, you need more time spent on revenue-generating tasks.
Time blocking is an effective technique that frees up your busy schedule.
All you need to do is divide your day into blocks of time — each block is dedicated only to a specific task.
For example, spending a specific amount of time prospecting each day. Sending follow-up emails at the same time each day rather than checking your inbox all day long.
Grouping the same tasks together leads to higher productivity because when you focus on one activity at a time, you dedicate your full attention to that task and the amount of time it deserves.
To execute time blocking effectively, here’s your checklist:
Plan your blocks at least one day ahead to start each day with a concrete schedule.
Review any unfinished tasks at the end of the day.
Preview any new tasks for tomorrow.
Adjust your blocks based on the tasks.
Follow your schedule.
When you plan your days in advance, you can save much time from constantly determining which task to focus on.
Our product, Badger Maps, helps salespeople plan their multi-stop routes and optimize their schedule. So the feature to highlight is: “Badger Maps has the ability to optimize your route and help you build the best schedule for your day.”
The benefit is that they can save time driving that they can use to meet more customers.
So, what is the business value of that?
Ask the prospect: “What is your sales reps’ time really worth and how much more would your sales reps sell with two more meetings every single day?” If that business value is worth a lot more than your product, then half of your sales job is done.
Here is how Badger Maps CEO, Steve Benson, gets prospects to nod their head and say: “Yes, I agree. This has huge business value, so obviously I should do that.”
Steve: So, Mr. Customer, currently your company is losing out on sales opportunities because reps aren't able to spend their time as effectively as they could when they're out in the field. Reps end up zigzagging around town. It sounds like you're losing out on a lot of potential deals.
Prospect: Well, that's right. That's why we're looking at your system right now.
Steve: Okay. Well, if you could make a guess: How much more would your sales reps sell if your rep were able to spend their time more effectively and have two more meetings every day?
Prospect: Well, I haven't really done the math on this, but I'd say about $5000 per rep per month.
Steve: Wow! $5000 per rep and you got 25 reps, that's 1.5 million dollars in lost deals every year. Well, I'll show you how we can be doing this with Badger so that your reps will be able to get those extra two meetings a day and make those extra sales.
By asking the right questions and getting actual numbers out of your prospect, you can show with their own numbers how much they stand to gain if they use your solution. That's how you can move a deal forward.
Bonus to Increase Outside Sales Productivity with Badger Maps
Badger Maps is a powerful multi-stop route planner that provides all the tools that outside sales teams need to be successful.
Sales reps using Badger Maps cut drive time by 25%, freeing up an average of 8 hours a week. Teams report an average of 10 additional meetings per week thanks to the extra time.
1. Easily Manage Your Sales Territory
Badger Maps enables a visual representation of your territory that makes your management a whole lot easier.
Color Filters present prospects as colored pins on the map according to criteria set by you, whether it is by “the date last visited” or by “the product you sold them”.
Having all the relevant data about your accounts at hand allows you to make strategic decisions on the go.
2. Find Optimal Sales Routes
The Routing feature analyzes real-time traffic and distances to give reps the mostefficient route possible, and it provides turn-by-turn directions with your favorite GPS.
To target specific prospects, users can either choose from their accounts or use the Lasso tool as shown below.
3. Prospect from Anywhere
The Places tool is designed to make your prospecting smarter.
You can find new contacts on your map by keywords like industry, business name, and product type. This way, you can generate leadsaround your territory to add to your route.
4. Log Meeting Information Right from the Field
Check-ins are a great way to record meeting interactions right when they happen. These are time-stamped notes tied to every account you import into your Badger Maps account so you can keep track of what happened in every meeting.
Badger’s custom check-ins provide a lot of flexibility and can be created based on your organization’s needs.
You can add customization to include the following field types: Log Type forms/Drop-Down menus, One-line text boxes, and Multi-line text boxes.
You’ll stay organized and productive by collecting the details you want from the field.