Using the right tools is an essential part of improving sales efficiency.
The only problem is that there is:
- An overabundance of sales software programs
- An overwhelming amount of available customer data to make the right decision
Take a page from the book of the most successful sales managers and companies—they’ve already tried and tested every technology available, and have developed proven methods for setting up tools and processes to run more efficient and effective sales programs.
Here’s an overview of why it’s important to strive for maximum efficiency and effectiveness in your sales process, and how you can leverage technology and data to take your sales teams to the next level.
The Importance of Sales Effectiveness for Maximizing Sales
What separates the top performers on your sales teams from the average performers?
Is every sales team member working as efficiently as possible?
Are they working effectively to meet their sales goals consistently?
In sales, every moment counts, which means that sales reps need to make the most of their time. Efficiency and effectiveness together are what determine sales performance—and sales performance directly affects your company’s revenues.
To improve sales effectiveness, you need to identify the activities which generate the most revenue. In contrast, improving sales efficiency involves optimizing the speed and rate at which your sales team members accomplish sales activities.
Accomplished sales managers will tell you that you shouldn’t view the issues of sales efficiency and effectiveness in isolation. Rather, these two concepts complement each other—improve both, and you’ll see a positive impact on your overall sales productivity. Optimized sales productivity happens when sales reps invest their time in such a way that benefits your company’s bottom line by increasing efficiency in operations and successfully closing more deals.
The best plan for success is to ensure that you have an effective sales strategy. Your sales teams should also have access to the right tools to turn average performers into sales superstars.
Why Improve Sales Efficiency?
Perhaps the best way to understand the importance of sales efficiency is to take a look at the consequences of neglecting it.
Let’s take a look at some sales statistics:
- The average sales rep can make about 45 calls per day (The Bridge Group 2018).
- Considering that the average rep has to make 18 calls on average before they even connect with a buyer, that means you only get 2.5 sales opportunities per day, per rep (HubSpot).
- More than 40% of sales reps say that prospecting is the most challenging part of the sales process (HubSpot).
- About half of prospects aren’t a good fit for your products or services (HubSpot).
Do any of these problems sound familiar to you?
- Sales cycle is longer than you think it should be.
- Reps are closing fewer deals than your competitors.
- Teams are showing a decrease in sales productivity.
- Sales team members are spending too much time doing data entry, and it’s digging into their selling time.
- Rather than implementing best practices for sales, your teams are largely winging it.
If these apply to your sales operation, it’s time to take a deeper look into your sales processes. All is not lost—you can still turn these issues around by improving the efficiency of your sales teams.
Keep in mind that your sales reps have to answer customers’ questions on the spot. That can be very difficult to do when they can’t immediately access the data they need. And even when sales reps have the right data, they need to know what does and doesn’t work in certain situations.
How to Improve Sales Efficiency
Believe it or not, it’s actually possible to measure sales efficiency, and it’s one of the most important metrics you should track if you want to maximize your sales team’s performance.
Here’s the formula:
(Gross revenue ÷ Costs of generating the revenue)*100 = Sales efficiency (%)
For example, if one of your sales teams generates $10 million in revenue and the cost of operating your call center is $2 million annually, your sales team’s efficiency would be 500%:
($10 million ÷ $2 million)*100 = 500%
When you can establish clear objectives for your sales reps that are based on objective data, it motivates them to work more efficiently to meet their goals. As a sales leader, you can set clear KPIs so that sales reps know exactly what’s expected of them and what metrics they need to focus on, versus those which are less important.
There are multiple parts to the sales process for which you should set individual KPIs and establish efficient standard operating procedures (SOPs) to help boost sales productivity overall, including:
- Qualifying leads
- Reviewing customer data
- Presenting product or service information
- Handling objections
- Closing sales
With every phase of the sales process, you can increase the efficiency of your sales teams by following standardized, repeatable steps and knowing the targets they’re expected to meet.
Marketers often complain that they’re generating lots of leads for your sales teams, but sales reps aren’t converting them to customers. This is why alignment between your sales and marketing teams is essential for improving sales efficiency – because both teams are inherently connected when it comes to generating, nurturing, and converting leads.
When the sales and marketing departments work together, both teams increase the capabilities of the other to successfully meet their goals. For example, your marketing department can help your sales teams by clearly defining buyer personas. By knowing who your target market is (and how to sell to them), sales reps will engage with the best qualified leads and have an easier time moving the customer along the sales funnel.
Using Data to Improve Sales Efficiency
Some sales reps seem to know the perfect time to go in for the close. However, even the best sales reps don’t have perfect intuition every time. Without the right processes and the right data to work with, they can be way off the mark—causing them to lose a sale which otherwise could have been closed.
Intuition is very subjective and not reproducible, but data is objective. The right data helps sales reps assess a prospect’s level of interest and determine if they fit into your company’s target buyer persona. There’s no time wasted in going after the wrong prospects—that’s the definition of sales efficiency!
Ollie Sharpe, Vice President of Revenue, EMEA, for SalesLoft said about data, “The lack of data in CRM hampers most businesses. I spent a few years as a sales leader, and my biggest pain point was getting the guys to fill in the CRM.”
Another reason that sales leaders need to rely heavily on data is because the cost of acquiring new customers keeps rising.
To leverage the power of data effectively, set business objective and gather data that’s relevant to that objective. Then, adapt your processes based on your analysis of the data.
For example, if one of your objectives is to increase overall revenues in a given time period, you might seek data that shows how much revenue you’re generating per sale or per product. Then, to achieve your objective, you could either increase the average order size or the number of sales, depending on which metric you want to focus on.
Using Technology to Increase Sales Productivity
Technology plays a major role in increasing sales productivity. Let’s look at the specific ways that you can leverage technology to improve sales efficiency and effectiveness.
Tap into big data.
Big data are huge sets of data that reveals trends, patterns, and associations as it relates to your customers. To be competitive, sales organizations need to get better insights into consumer behaviors. Analytics tools let you do this, helping you identify and focus on the most profitable sales activities, given the observable trends in your customer and sales data.
Leverage the power of social media platforms.
The vast majority of consumers today use social media platforms on a regular basis. They’re not just socializing online, either—they’re looking for peer recommendations, leaving product reviews, and clicking on ads. Social media platforms therefore make it easy to track the customer journey. This allows you to refine your sales strategies and capture more business by knowing exactly how your customers are discovering and engaging with your brand online.
Social media sites, like Facebook, also gather highly detailed levels of audience insights and demographic information. These can be applied to your other marketing and sales activities. So having a social media presence and tracking all of the metrics from your pages can help inform better and more effective sales strategies.
Setting up automated sales processes.
Manual processes take up a lot of your sales reps’ time. In fact, they can lose over 70% of their selling time on other, less essential tasks, like scheduling sales appointments, sending follow-up emails, and updating the CRM.
By using automation tools, like Zapier, to integrate and streamline the various systems and processes used by your sales team. This will free up a significant portion of your sales reps’ time to make more calls and close more deals.
Using cloud-based CRM and sales software programs.
In addition to automation, cloud-based tools also help save time and facilitate easier information sharing between team members and departments.
Cloud-based technology also allows your salespeople to work from any location or device. This gives you the flexibility to set up remote or distributed teams. You can even set up a fully-functional virtual call center and manage it remotely. In addition, you can view and share information with your remote team in real time.
Use mobile technology to stay connected with customers.
Around 93% of consumers who use mobile devices to research products and services will end up making a purchase—often, right on the spot.
Field sales reps also commonly use mobile devices while making field calls. If you have software with mobile capabilities, your reps can access information on-the-go that will help them close the sale, even when they’re calling from a mobile device.
Invest in the right call center software.
Good call center software tools will allow you to integrate mobile capabilities and other sales software programs into your workflows. They also provide additional benefits when it comes to increasing sales efficiency and effectiveness. For example, call center software often comes with coaching tools. Call recording and call monitoring, just two examples, allow sales leaders to pinpoint each rep’s strengths and weaknesses.
This is essential for providing constructive feedback that improves your teams’ performance. You can also leverage the call whispering feature to guide reps during live calls without alerting the prospect, helping them convert more leads into customers.
Leverage Data & Technology to Drive More Sales
If you’re still unsure of how to streamline your sales processes,check out our upcoming webinar. The topic focuses on leveraging data and technology to improve your sales teams’ performance. We have teamed up with Seismic and SalesLoft to provide you with an amazing lineup of speakers.
Learn from sales leaders, business development heads, and operations managers in SMBs, including:
Here’s just a snapshot of what you can expect from this free webinar on Driving Efficiency with Data & Technology:
- The biggest changes they’ve seen in sales (during and pre-pandemic)
- How they are driving efficiency within their own teams
- What data to look at, and how to leverage those insights
- Where to automate in the sales cycle to increase productivity