Boost Salesperson Productivity with These 2 Steps


  • Research shows that salespeople spend an average of 25 percent of their time engaging customers and selling.
  • By focusing on the right metrics and implementing the right salesperson productivity methods that selling time can grow to 50 percent within 120 days.
  • The data also shows that more selling time directly correlates with increased revenues per salesperson.
Johnny Grow Revenue Growth Consulting

Results from the Sales Excellence research show that salesperson productivity improvement programs are a recurring goal among business leaders. Unfortunately, these programs tend to be intermittent, without structure and deliver mixed results at best and temporary results at worst.

To do better, consider starting with the right performance metrics and then implementing methods that are proven to drive sales productivity improvements.

Start with the Right Performance Metrics

First define, measure and report your baseline productivity. Without measuring your baseline, you cannot show real progress or payback. You want to know where salespeople spend their time and how those time investment areas impact revenue results.

Sales Time Reallocation

Then identify your most essential performance metrics. Sales productivity is equal to the salesforce revenue divided by the resources consumed. Improving sales productivity means increasing salesperson revenues at a pace greater than the increased resources expended.

But salesperson revenue achievement is impacted by many factors so you need to drill down to underlying metrics such as sale opportunity win rate, revenue per sale, selling cycle duration, sales quota achievement and sales velocity as these measure directly impact the headline metrics and therefore can be targeted for specific improvements.

Implement Salesperson Productivity Methods

Determining the highest impact improvement methods starts with a requirements discovery or a design thinking workshop. What you will find is that reps want things like the ability to access information quickly, reuse content and assets, automatically schedule their time and be alerted to changes to their leads and sale opportunities.

Some of the more common ways to improve selling effectiveness include focusing on the rights prospects and customers, achieving a 360-degree customer view and simplifying access to content.

Reps can gain a significant performance boost by prioritizing their limited time to the most qualified prospects. This can be aided with lead and opportunity scoring calculations that measure sales-readiness for leads. These objective scores then provide confidence to make Go- or No-Go selling pursuit decisions. This then enables the seller to divest time from poor fit opportunities and double down on the best fit deals.

Those leads that are not qualified can be returned to marketing and put into nurture marketing campaigns until they demonstrate buy signals and are ready to be returned to sellers for engagement.

Achieving the elusive 360-degree customer view will also aid both selling efficiency and effectiveness. While this is a frequently cited goal, few understand the five types of data that deliver a 360 degree customer view. These data types are demographic (including firmographic), transactional (quotes, sale orders, purchase history, fulfillment status, etc.), behavioral (digital footprints and online engagement), environmental (often enriched or third party data) and social data (customer sentiment and social graph).

360 Degree Customer View

See the 5 types of customer data that contribute to a 360-degree customer view.

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Making content easily accessible delivers a big time savings. When reps can't find what they are looking for, they recreate or use less relevant or dated materials. They get frustrated when it's faster to create content than to find it. The challenge stems from content that is scattered over multiple repositories and ineffective search tools.

McKinsey advises that salespeople waste 10 to 20 hours per week searching for content and then curating or recreating content because they cannot find what they are looking for. The problem is a double whammy as SiriusDecisions reports that Marketing people go to great effort and expense to create content, but 60 to 70 percent of marketing's content goes unused because it's not found. Enterprise search tools, self-service knowledgebases and content management systems are the sales productivity tools to make content more easily found.

Another high impact improvement method is to reduce the number of information systems reps need to use. For most companies, reps should spend most or all or their time in one system – the CRM system.

To do this, you will need to reduce or eliminate spreadsheets and shadow systems. Salespeople spend an average of 9 percent of their time in spreadsheets or apps outside the core applications. First identify these shadow systems and the reasons they are used. Then shift their use to the CRM application where data can be managed, tasks can be automated and information can be shared.

You can also use CRM software to make content more accessible and to deliver the right content to the right person at the right time. CRM systems can be designed to proactively suggest artifacts, scripts, collaterals, insights, offers or assets based on customer type, persona, sales step, sales cycle stage and other factors. This push-based technology facilitates guided selling, eliminates search time and better leverages the company's content.

There are many other technology enablement tools and apps to increase sales productivity. Some examples include tools such as ZoomInfo or Inside View that import all types of customer or contact information into your CRM system. Or Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) tools that reduce the time needed to create complex quotes. Or route planning apps that minimize travel time and maximize field visits. Or digital contracts with e-signatures to accelerate deal closure. The possibilities are near endless and will depend upon your baseline performance and vision of where you wan to be.