Sales is a challenging field. You can’t always win every deal. And some months just aren’t as lucrative as others.
But just because things aren’t going as planned doesn’t mean you aren’t good at what you do. It just means you might need time to refine and adjust your strategy.
Instead of focusing on lost deals, think about the future. Optimize your mindset, refine your pipeline generation tactics, build mental resilience, and consistently take the right steps to not only close more deals but also enjoy your work.
In this guide, we’ve gathered tips for boosting sales productivity from experts who share how they achieve their sales goals.
Proven tips ADRs & AEs use to set themselves up for success
From setting actionable monthly goals to personalizing your outreach, there are a ton of things you can do to improve your chances of closing a deal.
Here’s what our experts say will set you up for success:
1. Understand the product and who you’re selling to
If you don’t understand how the product you’re selling benefits your target buyers, you’re probably going to resort to taking a product-first approach to selling.
The problem with this? Product-first sales techniques don’t convert prospects into customers, as well as value-first approaches do.
Value-based selling focuses on answering the biggest question your prospects have: what’s in it for me? This tells prospects how your product can help solve their pain points, proving that it’s worth their time (and money).
That’s why it’s so important for you to continually educate yourself about your target buyer’s pain points and how your product can solve them.
Gabrielle Reyson, the Senior ADR at UserGems, recommends the same. “Uncover and research the most important pain points for each prospect and create personalized outreach that speaks directly to how to solve it. Engage on as many platforms and channels available.”
Moving APT’s Vice President of Sales & Logistics, Joey Sasson, agrees:
2. Learn from your manager and peers
The most effective way to boost your sales productivity is by learning from others’ experiences.
The team here at UserGems takes full advantage of this learning approach to improve sales skills. Take it from Leah Fraser, Senior ADR at UserGems, who shares, “I talk with my manager about what they think I need to do, and [I] talk with peers too, especially if they’ve been at [the] company more than me.”
UserGems’ Gabrielle Reyson suggests the same:
3. Do the little things right, consistently
B2B sales is a long process. It’s never as simple as getting a positive reply when you reach out — particularly if you’re reaching out cold.
Prospects take their time to evaluate the product you’re selling. And there’s never one decision-maker involved in the process.
It’s why taking small steps consistently delivers impactful results. Gong’s Inside Sales Representative, Anthony Banayote, thinks this is one of the most important parts of consistently meeting sales goals.
Banayote observes small things such as “making the cold calls, sending the emails, staying diligent on follow-ups, and putting the work in day over day [pays off]”.
“When I go on a hot streak, it’s not from getting lucky or overnight success. It’s being committed each day and completing the necessary task that will result in a win,” Banayote shares.
Sara Angell, Account Development Manager at UserGems, is also a fan of consistency. “Whether the previous month was great or a down month, I look to the same places and do the things daily that I know provide results over time. Obsessively following up and building relationships with prospects that weren’t an immediate ‘yes.’ Being on top of my outbound motion. Making the calls, doing the research, and making videos. It’s like exercise — I don’t always feel like it, but I want the results and I know it takes everyday dedication.”
4. Create the momentum to get things done
“The micro level is booking a meeting and immediately making another dial and taking that positivity into the next call, and the next one, and the next one,” Lartey explains.
“Another micro momentum builder is conversations. When our calendars have white space, we can fill it with meaningful conversations. Connecting with old friends, calling a sibling/parent, getting time with colleagues, all of this will build momentum.”
On the other hand, Lartey explains, “Macro momentum would be reviewing cadences and pulling CTA’s that are working or swiping copy from top-performing cadences from the team.”
5. Set actionable monthly goals for yourself
When you break your goals down into an action plan and list out exactly what you need to do on a daily basis, your goals will not only be less overwhelming but also more achievable.
To set realistic goals, start with identifying your quarterly sales targets. Then divide them into monthly goals. Lastly, create a list of action steps you need to take daily to make sure you hit your monthly goals and, by extension, your quarterly goals.
While you’re at it, take some time to review what goes into closing a deal. This helps further in setting realistic objectives.
For example, Kenny Powell, UserGems’ Senior ADR, breaks his goals down by asking what it takes to close a deal. “[I ask myself:] how many meetings do I need to book a month, how many demos scheduled per week to hit that number, what kind of activity do I need to hit that weekly target.”
Brian LaManna, Senior Commercial Account Executive at Gong, also shares how he breaks his goals down to make them more achievable. “I start with the large goal in terms of quarterly revenue and continue backing into it. Let’s pretend my quota is 150K. My goal this quarter is to crush that and hit $180K. That means I need to close 60K per month.
“If my average deal size is 30K, I need to close 2 deals monthly. If I close 33% of self-sourced opportunities, I need to set 6 meetings this month to reach that target. If it takes me 400 activities per month to set 6 meetings, I need to hit 100 activities per week. Now I know how to hit my number and will hit on 20 activities daily.”
In short, the better you get at breaking your goals down into daily steps, the more likely you’ll be to close more deals. As LaManna puts out:
6. Use sales forecasting to hit your monthly goals
“Let’s be honest, most reps feel forecasting is more for leadership versus themselves,” admits LaManna.
However, LaManna shares that using sales forecasting has helped him reap incredible results. “To me, forecasting is an opportunity to influence both my current pipeline and also create a plan to build new pipeline.”
“That’s where it all begins for me on both a monthly and a quarterly basis. Having an accurate representation of my pipeline and where I’m at can help me plan and attack. I can then back into goals and understand where my greatest area of opportunity is between the top and bottom of the funnel,” writes LaManna.
“For example, in June of this year, I knew I would be gone for the last two weeks to Italy. Back in May, I started planning for this knowing our average sales cycles are often 3-6 weeks. As a result, I front-loaded May as an opportunity to hit self-sourcing really hard and 2x my typical goal for creating new pipeline.
“Later in the month, my largest focus was getting as many into pilots as possible with proposals through Mid-June. My best month at Gong to date is the month where I was gone for half of it.”
7. Dedicate time to daily prospecting instead of batching tasks
Another tip to ensure you’re meeting your sales goals is to make prospecting a daily habit. “Waiting for Friday to do a ‘call blitz’ has too many potential pitfalls,” warns Chris Gadek, Vice President of Growth at AdQuick.
However, “Making it a habit to schedule prospecting time regularly into your calendar as you would a weekly meeting holds you accountable for spending uninterrupted time on prospecting every day.”
Instead of prospecting at the same every day, work it into your existing schedule. In Gadek’s words:
8. Focus on building a healthy sales pipeline of future opportunities
“To be a consistent sales performer and attain your monthly sales goal, you need to stay focused on creating a sufficient pipeline of future opportunities,” advises Vince Burruano, Sales and Business Management Coach and Consultant at Vince Burruano Consulting Services, LLC.
The problem, however, is that most ADRs are focused on the short term.
In reality, sales is a long-term game. As Burruano puts it, “Too many people focus on just an immediate opportunity, but the key to long-term success is to be putting new opportunities into your sales pipeline continuously, even if some of those opportunities may be many months or years from fruition.”
In fact, Burruano points out, “Failure to continually prospect new opportunities is one of the main reason[s] some sales professionals have sales results that resemble a roller coaster (up and down depending on the month). Consistency comes from doing the right things well every day.”
The takeaway? Prospect daily to build a healthy, future-focused pipeline. This will not only help you hit your sales goals but also save you from pipeline anxiety.
“[Start with] conducting routine discovery with potential or existing clients to find opportunities where your product or service may be helpful to them or their business.”
As you do so, factor in your product’s average sales cycle to understand when each of the leads that you’re adding to your pipeline should be converting.
9. Make sure you learn something from each sales call
Not all sales calls will result in a lead who’s interested in the product you’re selling. But you can always try to make each call a productive one. For example, by asking for referrals.
This one’s a hat tip to UserGems’ Senior ADR, Collin Brady, who suggests: “Get something out of each call, whether a referral or follow[-]up info to start building a relationship with that account.”
You can also make the most of your outreach calls by reviewing what went well and what you’d do differently the next time. This helps you refine your outreach strategy until you have an effective template for lead generation.
10. Personalize your outreach and conversations with prospects
Nearly one-fourth of marketers say they saw more than a 20% increase in revenue by using a personalized approach. The same research also found that 66% of consumers expect brands to understand their specific needs.
This makes personalization one of the most important assets in any salesperson’s toolkit. To go about personalizing your outreach, Michael Manzi, Sales Coach & Principal of MM Sales Consulting, recommends identifying a personalization trigger.
“Figure out what your top 3 triggers are for reaching out — for example, a trigger might be that an old customer started at a new company, that a role was posted for a job indicating they may be interested in your tool, or a competitor just made an announcement,” says Manzi.
From there, “Write your emails and scripts, making note of each area of personalization you’re going to do, then create a column in excel or in your CRM, create a field for each personalization component you have in your emails, and fill that in during headphone time [ — the time when you don’t feel like talking to prospects — ] so you can move faster later.”
“For example, your email might say ‘(first name), saw your quote in (article), and I thought it was similar to what our customer (customer name) said before we began working together…’
Then in your excel or CRM, fill in the name, article, and customer during headphone time so when you’re sending the emails, you can move quickly!”
The best part? Using UserGems as your pipeline generation software makes it super easy for you to identify a few of these triggers.
Essentially, UserGems tracks customer job changes to identify your alumni customers — people who have previously used your tool and (hopefully) loved it. The tool then updates them in your CRM as warm leads for you to reach out to.
Tips for last-minute success for ADRs & AEs
Despite having taken all the required steps, you may not close all the deals you planned for the month. In times like these, you might find yourself dangerously close to hitting your sales goals but not quite there.
Don’t fret, though. Use these expert tips for some quick wins at the eleventh hour:
11. Reach for the low-hanging fruit as much as possible
“Anyone that has shown interest in the month, and I hadn’t got on the calendar, is going to be hearing from me a whole lot. They should expect emails, videos, and phone calls on the daily,” UserGems’ Sara Angell shares.
Another source of low-hanging fruit? Interested prospects who couldn’t convert right away. For example, they didn’t have the budget at the time, or they were prioritizing different business goals when you spoke.
So remember to “Re-engage with previously interested prospects that may not have seen it as a priority and see if timing and interests align more now,” advises Gabrielle Reyson of UserGems.
12. Get in touch with your alumni customers
Alumni customers who switch employers are pipeline gold. These are customers who’ve used your product in the past, before making a career move. Since they already know how your tool can help them, the odds of successfully closing their new company as a new user are high.
Gong’s Brian LaManna shares his tip to win last-minute deals:
13. Stick to the basics — and don’t panic
Anthony Banayote from Gong recommends keeping calm and sticking with a value-first approach, even as the only thing you want to do is to close a deal.
Sharing his experience, Banayote writes, “It’s more about keeping a calm, collected head because if I panic, I sound desperate, and prospects smell commission breath.”
Beyond that, “Sticking to the basics and trusting the process by communicating value is what matters to me,” adds Banayote.
UserGems’ Kenny Powell also suggests you continue to focus on providing value. “Since we’re reaching out to other revenue teams, the end of the month for them is also going to be busy and stressful.”
It’s why Powell recommends you:
Tips for when you don’t meet your goals
Even if you put in your best effort every month, there are still going to be times when you don’t meet your goals. But instead of worrying about it, use these tips to figure out what to do differently the next time around:
14. Review what went wrong
“It can be extremely stressful when you don’t meet your quota, especially when you are under the gun, but you can transform that stress into a learning experience,” suggests Vito Vishnepolsky, Director of Martal Group.
15. Reflect on what was in your control
Just because a deal fell through doesn’t mean it was your fault. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that you reflect on what was within your control, and what wasn’t.
This will help to make sure you don’t let your frustration get the best of you. Gong’s Anthony Banayote shares his experience with this.
“I get frustrated like anyone else, and I’m my biggest critic even when I’m doing well. I acknowledge my frustration but don’t let it control me. Letting it pass by and using it as motivation to reach my next target.”
As you reflect, Banayote shares it’s a good opportunity to ask yourself why you didn’t meet your goal. He asks himself: “Was it forces in my control like making more dials, sending better messaging, etc.”
“If it was something I could have done differently, I begin building a plan for how I will do better next time with the lessons learned,” Banayote explains. “If it was outside of my control, I shake it off and have a good laugh. Realizing this is part of the job and knowing I left all I had out there is what matters.
16. Collaborate iteratively
Another way to handle not meeting a quota is to build your mental resilience. But you don’t have to do it alone.
Dr. Matthew Jones, Licensed Psychologist, and coach for cofounders and creator of Cofounder Clarity, explains sales teams can collaborate on building mental resilience.
According to Dr. Jones, “Teams build resilience in two ways:
1. Strengthening mutual connection and
2. Building accountability towards shared goals
Falling short of your goals is an opportunity to build connection, accountability, and teamwork.”
Here’s how: “First, take the time to express what it feels like to fall short. Creating shared vulnerability and meaning out of failure increases trust and cohesion. Second, work on the problem. Aim to leverage each person’s unique perspective to determine what worked, what didn’t work, and what else you could try to change the outcome.”
“Falling in love with this process of collaborative iteration rather than allowing one result to deter your focus, is what separates high-achieving teams from everyone else,” Dr. Jones notes.
17. Avoid negative self-talk
Another way to become mentally tough is by being aware of how you think of yourself, as Ieva Sapalaite, an Organizational Psychologist with Mindletic, advises.
“We usually tend to blame ourselves and hold onto our mistakes,” Sapalaite says. However, an effective way to make sure you aren’t letting negative thoughts empty your motivation tank is by tracking them.
Sapalaite explains, “Take a piece of paper and write down all your thoughts about [the] current situation. Reframe your negative self-talk and remind yourself that we all fail from time to time, and it means we are doing something challenging which helps us grow.”
At the same time, Sapalaite also suggests embracing your emotions rather than ignoring them. “Psychological resilience is a skill which you improve by practicing and it is directly related to emotions regulation.”
To do so, “Practice emotions reflection and journaling regularly to train your emotional muscles.”
Tips for boosting your career as an ADR
Refining your mindset can help you close more deals, faster. And, it will even give you a chance to accelerate your career path as an ADR. Here are some expert tips for avoiding common professional pitfalls:
18. Work on your attitude and technique
“It all comes down to the right attitude, behavior, and technique — in that order,” observes Vito Vishnepolsky of Martal Group.
“If you have a poor perception of yourself and come to work believing you are going to fail, you have already sealed your fate. Although it sounds cheesy, assuming that you will succeed will have an impact on how you perform each day.”
“When it comes down to behavior, you have to be resolute in your daily processes,” Vishnepolsky adds. “We all have days where we would rather be anywhere else but work. However, once those thoughts start seeping in, you have to recalibrate. Remind yourself of your personal goals and how meeting your sales goals will help you get there.”
“Finally, techniques are the strategies you implement. If you know that you have the right attitude and the right behavior, then it’s time to update your pitch or processes.” Collaborate with your peers and manager to refine your strategy with feedback and advice.
19. Focus on your why
Your "why" plays a huge part in creating a strong mindset. The more you keep your purpose at the forefront, the more motivated you will be.
Gong’s Anthony Banayote shares how he uses his ‘why’ to motivate himself. “I have sticky notes on my desk with my goals around having the financial freedom to support a family, being able to buy a lake house with my brothers, and the next promotion I want, things like that serve as a reminder for me to stay focused and give it my all.”
Like Banayote, you can always use sticky notes to remind yourself of your ‘why.’ Alternatively, you can journal about it too.
20. Consistently look back on your good months
One bad month doesn’t mean you haven’t had good months.
While it’s true that we tend to focus more on the bad than on the good (technically known as negativity bias), UserGems’ Sara Angell shares she focuses on the good by remembering it.
“I like to look back to good months I’ve had and remember it’s possible. Also, keep in mind that the activity I’m doing today I’ll see in another three months. So chances are what I’m experiencing today is a result of what I didn’t do 90 days ago. Helps me keep things in perspective,” Angell says.
Ready to crush your sales goals?
In a nutshell, sales productivity boils down to effective pipeline generation, building momentum, focusing on the positives over the negatives, and setting actionable goals.
It also helps to build your mental strength so you can better handle the challenges the sales profession throws your way.
Lastly, invest in the right tools to personalize outreach and speed up your sales processes. For example, consider using pipeline generation software such as UserGems to fill your pipeline with warm leads and close deals faster.