From sales prospecting to sending personalized outreach messages and engaging target accounts, there’s a lot on your sales reps’ plates.
And if they aren’t careful about which tasks they put their time and energy into, they can quickly lose steam. Especially when it comes to generating pipeline and meeting goals.
However, increasing sales productivity isn’t up to your sales reps alone. Instead, it’s a collaborative process where managers assist in creating streamlined workflows and automating repetitive work.
Not sure where to start? We’ve got your back. This guide shares expert advice on boosting sales productivity, including what reps can do to meet their sales goals and how managers can support them. As an added bonus, we’ve included a list of sales productivity tools to invest in so you can close deals faster.
What is sales productivity?
Sales productivity refers to the sales team’s efficiency and effectiveness in reaching out to, engaging with, and nurturing target accounts. The aim is simple: to close more deals and meet revenue targets without experiencing burnout.
5 tips to improve sales productivity
Boosting sales productivity is easier said than done. Especially if you're trying to figure it out on your own. So, we spoke to a ton of industry experts to find out which activities you can expect the best results from. Here's what they had to say:
1. Facilitate productivity
A productive work environment is essential to increasing sales team efficiency. But what’s an efficiency-boosting work culture? One that gives reps the space to do meaningful work.
Here’s how you can facilitate productivity in your company:
- Reduce internal meetings
The average employee spends at least a third of their week in meetings. Moving to async communication (communicating without being present at the same time so everyone replies when it’s convenient to them) leaves room for deep work.
Only schedule in-person or video meetings when necessary. This way, reps will have more time to put into money-making activities such as creating personalized sales videos.
- Reduce the number of tools reps use
“Reps must spend as much time in a few core tools (CRM, Gong, Calendar, Zoom) as possible. Anything that takes them away decreases potential selling time and can cause a hindrance,” observes Braxton A Carr, Director of Sales Enablement at UserGems.
The solution? Create a streamlined sales workflow fueled by a few core tools with powerful features. Make sure all these tools integrate well with each other. That way, salespeople can find the information they’re looking for without having to switch between apps.
For example, our pipeline generation tool, UserGems, integrates with Salesforce. As a result, it automatically shows warm contacts in a target account within the CRM. This saves reps’ time — boosting their productivity.
- Celebrate both big and small wins
Since sales is a mentally taxing profession that can quickly drain reps’ motivation, it’s important you boost your team’s sales productivity by celebrating wins.
Sara Angell, UserGems’ Account Development Manager, talks about this: “Create an environment where successes are shared among the team. Small incentives can help to get everyone to contribute. When the individuals share where they are winning and how, the rest of the team naturally wants to replicate to find their own success.”
2. Create feedback loops
Another proven way to improve sales productivity is to share consistent feedback so reps can understand where they’re lagging and how they can be more efficient.
Instead of limiting feedback between managers and reps, though, encourage peers to exchange feedback and learn from each other as well.
At TeamBuilding, for example, managers work closely with their team to provide productivity coaching. Their Sales Manager, Carley Congdon, explains, “At teambuilding.com, we take a holistic approach when it comes to improving our sales team’s productivity. The most important aspect of this approach is ensuring that there is a continuous feedback loop between our Client Advisors [sales team] and their manager.
“We make a point to involve employees in conversations regarding their performance so that managers can understand the full scope of roadblocks or employee ideas for improved processes. From there, we do everything we can to remove obstacles so that advisors can sell successfully.”
What’s more, Braxton stresses the importance of peer-to-peer coaching and feedback sharing as many people learn while performing their daily tasks. In fact, 52% of folks use peer feedback to learn and develop their skills.
Keeping this in mind, “It is important to cultivate introspection in reps. Having them review and provide feedback on their calls can help them connect the dots. This creates a feedback framework driven by the reps rather than by management,” writes Braxton.
3. Detach from the outcome and regularly review what went wrong
“Detach from the outcome; you won’t close everything, so instead of beating yourself up [...], understand why the deal didn’t close,” recommends Anthony Banayote, Inside Sales Representative at Gong.
This one’s also a highly recommended tip that experts shared in our guide on how reps can close their month on a high.
Put simply, instead of stressing over not meeting your sales quota, focus on why you weren’t able to hit it. Consider this: “Did you not communicate enough value, didn’t do proper discovery, etc.,” Banayote suggests.
To figure out why reps couldn’t close their target number of deals, coach them by going through sales call recordings to identify areas of improvement. Banayote explains, “Use Gong to go through your closed lost deals and understand where you missed the mark, why the deal didn’t close, identify decision makers, and then start the process again.”
For managers, it’s also important to arm your sales team with tactical sales productivity best practices. “We want to make sure we are checking data on what’s actually happening in deals rather than just offer general ‘sales knowledge.’ Deal Cycle Activity is the genesis of training, not the other way around,” Braxton A Carr adds.
4. Reward performance
Another important sales productivity tip is to reward efficient performers. Not only does it motivate them to keep hitting their sales goals, but it also inspires others to work harder.
TeamBuilding’s Carley Congdon shares how they do this: “Managers call out exceptional performance, of course. However, we have also built peer-to-peer praise into our company culture by encouraging sales team members to shout each other out during team meetings and on our #you-are-awesome Slack channel.
“Finally, we regularly tie bonuses to specific areas of improvement. This month, our team receives a bonus for maintaining ‘high engagement’ within our virtual training platform, and for previous months, we’ve tied bonuses to exceeding weekly call quotas and qualifying budget on client calls.”
5. Create a scalable sales process
“Focus on a structured scalable and repeatable process,” advises Chris Cicconi, Director of Business Development at Replicant. “We’re more productive when we’re not changing tasks regularly.”
Cicconi also shares an example of what a repeatable process looks like. “Start your day with your prospecting list, figure out who you want to tackle, add names, and research them on LinkedIn, sequence them, start executing those sequences. As opposed to finding and sequencing a name at a time.”
Once you’ve created a sales process or helped reps create their own daily plan based on their most productive hours, get out of the way. UserGem’s Sara Angell cautions against micro-managing, which can jeopardize reps’ productivity.
“Trust your team to do what they need to in order to reach their goals,” Angell says. “Trust can go a long way. If someone is falling off, it’s important to remind them of what their motivation and goals are and tie them to the actions they are (or aren’t) taking. This creates empowerment instead of fear. Their productivity is for them, not for you.”
How do you measure sales productivity?
It’s always helpful to use expert-backed tips to boost sales productivity. But how do you know they’re actually working? Measure your team’s sales productivity. To do so, you will need to track and measure sales activity and actively review your sales reps' efficiency and performance.
Track and measure sales activities
To start, use tools to monitor overall performance. “With the technology available today, it’s very easy to track and measure productivity,” opines Congdon.
“At teambuilding.com, we use a CRM to track all sales data, but most importantly, we set realistic revenue goals for our Client Advisors. Each month, our team members are required to hit a clear and achievable quota while also maintaining an average outgoing call and email metric.”
As for which metrics to review, UserGems’ Braxton A Carr recommends the following: “Time-to-first-deal, time-to-first activity, the ratio of calls-to-admin work, [and] the standard deviation of deal velocity.”
Review sales reps' efficiency and performance
In addition to monitoring your sales team’s performance metrics, the experts we talked to suggested talking to your sales reps on a regular basis. Take the time to understand how efficient they’ve been with completing their tasks and if they’re facing any productivity roadblocks.
Since it can be time-consuming to host one-on-ones with each rep every week, ask reps to update you about their performance. At Gong, for instance, Anthony Banayote uses the 3Ps framework to update his manager about his performance.
“At the end of each week, I email my manager my 3Ps[:] Progress, Problem, and Plan. This is a way for me to measure the work for the week, celebrate wins, understand where I’m stuck, and begin planning next week so I can come in and be productive right away,” Banayote shares.
Top sales productivity tools
By automating repetitive work, tracking ongoing deals, and providing inside data from prospects’ companies, productivity tools save reps’ time and improve sales prospecting.
But for these tools to provide ROI-driving results, it’s essential you select the right ones. Here’s a list of sales productivity tools to consider:
1. Customer relationship management (CRM) tools
CRM software tracks and manages all interactions salespeople have with target accounts. A robust CRM tool also offers valuable features such as predictive lead scoring and workflow automation. It gives a complete overview of ongoing deals as well — helping reps close at-risk deals before they lose them altogether. A great example would be Salesforce.
2. Pipeline generation tools
Pipeline generation tools enable reps to identify and add potential buyers to the sales pipeline. UserGems, for instance, identifies and alerts when former buyers change jobs. This helps protect revenue, prevent churn when champions move to another job, and identify warmer paths into target accounts by pinpointing members of the buying committee who have used your product before.
The best part? UserGems includes Meeting Assistant — a feature that takes over admin work for sales reps. It researches prospect information and sends a daily email, providing them with useful notes they can use to personalize their interactions with target contacts.
3. Business intelligence tools
Business or sales intelligence tools give you information to better target and engage prospects.
For example, ZoomInfo identifies accounts that are ready to buy. Using this information, reps can quickly reach out to interested buyers before competitors do. Similarly, Datanyze automatically finds out prospects’ contact information — saving reps from wasting time digging up the information manually.
4. Sales enablement tools
A sales enablement platform guides you in creating content (such as scripts and outreach templates) that your team can use throughout the sales funnel. These kinds of tools also analyze which folks are using the content and how helpful they’re finding it. Guru is a fantastic example of one.
Improve your sales productivity today to close more deals
In a nutshell, using the right sales tools, optimizing workflows, and proactively creating a feedback-sharing culture are the best ways to increase sales productivity.
As you select productivity sales tools or evaluate your current stack, make sure you review how each tool will contribute to your team’s efficiency.
If you could only pick one tool to increase productivity, though, choose a sales pipeline generation tool, since 40% of sales reps say prospecting is the hardest part of their job.
If you’re looking for recommendations, we suggest giving UserGems a try. It tracks customer job changes to identify ex-customers who are likely open to introducing you to their new team. In doing so, it enriches your sales pipeline with warm leads — helping you close more deals.