How to improve sales team efficiency: 7 easy tactics growth-minded startups can implement today

Dig into this guide on how to improve sales team efficiency using 7 proven (and actionable) tactics. We’ve also got tool suggestions & tips for you.
Table of Contents

Poor time management, regular rejections from leads, and a lack of understanding of the right target customer are just some of the many productivity-draining hurdles SDRs encounter daily.

Fortunately, you can solve each of these with the right processes, tools, and a listening ear.

In this guide, we’ll show you easy strategies for improving sales team performance. We’ve also got proven tips on how to motivate reps.

7 best practices for improving your sales team’s performance

7 best practices for improving your sales team efficiency

Knowing the heart of the problem solves almost half of it. For each best practice, we’ll first take you through the challenge reps struggle with, then highlight solutions to overcome each.

All in all, here’s a brief answer to your question on how can I improve my SDR performance:

  • Automate
  • Offer time management training
  • Create a sales prospecting workflow
  • Implement a sales enablement process
  • Use an automated sales intelligence software
  • Integrate a dialer in your CRM
  • Offer incentives and encourage reps to take up side projects

Sales team efficiency headache #1: Lack of automation

Sales reps end up tied to an unproductive work cycle between manual prospect research, data entry, and other admin tasks.

The result? Reps can’t focus on qualifying and nurturing leads – their primary job.

Research from HubSpot confirms reps spend only one-third of their time talking to prospects. The rest of it goes into writing emails (21%), entering data (17%), prospecting and researching leads (17%), and scheduling calls (12%).

Solution: Automate, automate, automate

You can automate everything from choosing which leads to contact first to getting AI-backed suggestions on when to follow up with prospects.

How? Using a customer relationship management (CRM) software to handle all of this.

For example, a robust CRM can automatically curate prospect data from various sources. It can also track progress on each account by automatically logging in updates such as follow-up emails sent to prospect A, demo calls delivered to prospect B, etc.

Sales team efficiency headache #2: Poor time management

Outreach calls can be time-consuming, particularly if SDRs are still learning to identify the best leads to reach out to. To add, these calls often lead to nowhere except for demotivating reps.

What’s more, it’s not uncommon to see SDRs focusing too much on a lead that never converts, all while delaying closing a warm lead.

All this points to one thing: helping reps better manage their time is necessary to save them from falling down a rabbit hole of inefficiency.

Solution: Host regular one-one meetings and help reps set SMART goals

  • Host one-on-ones. Regular one-on-one sessions with SDRs will help them review their progress and understand where their time goes as they discuss their performance with you. Also, make sure you offer help and suggest tips for improvement. For SDRs unable to identify what’s making them unproductive, assist them in getting unstuck.
  • Help them set small, achievable goals. Often the overwhelm arising from hitting goals results in SDRs poorly managing their time. To solve this, help them break big goals into small ones, and small goals into daily or weekly tasks. For example, if a rep aims to become an account executive (AE), assist them in getting there with SMART goal setting. Please give them a target of an average of 15 sales qualified opportunities (SQOs) per month for ten months straight. Next, help break an SQO into small goals such as 100 dials, 300 emails, 30 videos, etc. An actionable plan gives reps direction, making them more productive.
  • Set aligned incentives from the bottom up. Knowing the results and having clearly defined incentives to achieve them boosts SDR motivation – another hurdle blocking their efficiency. Put another way: you must take the time to define measurable key results that the team needs to achieve in a determined time frame. Then tack on incentives to encourage reps to drive these results.

Sales team efficiency headache #3: Struggling to follow the sales script

A sales script is a performance shortcut. And it can encourage reps to focus on leveraging proven strategies and tactics that deliver results.

The problem, however, is that not all SDRs realize the sales script’s potential. As a result, they struggle with sticking to using it.

Solution: Develop a consistent sales prospecting process

Since the root of this inefficiency lies in not knowing the full potential of the script, here’s what you should do:

  • Show, don't tell why the script works. For example, give SDRs access to (and coach them using) call recordings of reps leveraging the sales script and how they’re succeeding with it. It’s also good to conduct calls in front of reps to see exactly how the script helps.  
  • Create a sales prospecting process complete with check-ins. Doing so will help you keep a pulse on your team’s performance. For instance, here at UserGems, we follow this workflow for our remote sales team – feel free to swipe it. 

Sales team efficiency headache #4: Lack of customer understanding

Not knowing who they target is a recipe for SDR inefficiency.

In fact, without a thorough grip on the ideal customer profile (ICP), reps are likely to waste a lot of their time chasing the wrong leads.

It also means there’s a high risk of them losing warm leads. The reason? Reps fail to reach out to them in time.

Solution: Create a sales enablement process

84% of sales reps hit their quota when their employers implement a sales enablement strategy, as reported by Aberdeen.

However, what makes a successful SDR program is ensuring you don’t just dump reps with sales enablement content. Instead, run them through the content to understand how, when, and why they should use it.

For example, explain how email templates can optimize their prospecting workflow to your reps.

Sales team efficiency headache #5: No data or bad data for target accounts

Manually researching target account data can be time-consuming and error-prone.

On top of that, some tools that promise to deliver target data might not refresh it in time — leaving reps with wrong or inaccurate target account data.

Solution: Use an automated sales intelligence software

To maximize SDR efficiency, it’s essential you invest time in identifying the right sales intelligence tools to increase sales productivity.

Keep in mind that the right tool can improve sales team productivity. And drive up your ROI by cherry-picking the right prospects for reps to connect with at the right time.

Take UserGems, for instance. Our B2B prospecting tool has helped companies like UserTesting grow their ROI by 18 times in one year.

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So how does UserGems helps? It feeds your CRM with the most up-to-date information on the target account. It also sends email notifications to reps informing them when a prospect or customer changes their job.

As a result, reps can target warm leads that are far more likely to convert than cold leads who aren’t aware of your product.

Sales team efficiency headache #6: Called someone in California at 5 am

This is all too common when SDRs manually comb through prospect information from their database.

In fact, not only do they end up calling at the wrong hour, but they also commonly call incorrect numbers or contact the same number twice. 

Solution: Implement a dialer that safeguards against this 

Build a dialer into your CRM – you can either get a CRM with an inbuilt dialer or integrate one into your CRM.

The dialer’s job? To give reps a preview packed with lead information before they call. This, in turn, not only minimizes human error but also prepares reps for their calls, improving their outreach.

Sales team efficiency headache #7: Lack of motivation

According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace survey, 85% of employees aren’t engaged in the workplace.

When it comes to SDRs in particular, motivation levels are often low – thanks but no thanks to tedious tasks and (almost) consistent rejections from prospects they contact.

Solution: Optimize processes, offer incentives, and encourage SDRs to pursue side projects

How to motivate your SDRs
  • Give them warmer conversations to mix up the daily grind of contacting cold leads. This way, they won’t come across one rejection after the other. Again, using UserGems for prospecting can help by connecting reps with warm leads.
  • Give reps work outside of their regular job function. This could be anything like side projects that increase their motivation levels. Investing in your team’s success is the secret to retaining SDRs. So ask them about side projects they’d like to take and would want your support on. Or suggest some yourself. For example, we encourage our reps to build their personal brands on LinkedIn.
  • Offer interesting individual (competitive) and team (collaborative) incentives. Examples include subscription boxes and gift cards for individual incentives. As for team incentives, try team dine-outs, workshops, and so on.
  • Provide tech solutions to optimize processes that help deliver good results. This goes back to the point we’ve made already – use tech to streamline sales processes. Optimized processes improve sales team effectiveness, which, in turn, ups their motivation levels.   

Ready to improve sales team productivity?

To recap, the answer to how to improve sales team efficiency boils down to:

  • Using the right tools to increase sales productivity
  • Implementing sales enablement content including sales scripts
  • Creating a sales process workflow and
  • Hosting regular one-on-ones with SDRs to coach them, motivate them, and help them better manage their time.

To start though, begin with addressing the most challenging aspect of a rep’s job – sales prospecting. With 40% of them admitting that prospecting is their biggest struggle according to HubSpot, improve efficiency by getting a tool that helps with sales prospecting.

Still unsure which tool can help? Try UserGems for B2B prospecting today to identify warm leads right away and close more deals faster.

Why UserGems

Unlike other B2B databases, UserGems monitors buyer job movements and their relationships with companies to help revenue teams differentiate from the competition, achieving their revenue & professional goals.

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