For modern sales leaders, getting their sales teams to focus their time on what’s most important for the business is paramount. Salespeople are making choices all day long on how to spend their time, and helping them make the right choices can add up fast which means more sales and higher velocity. These modern day leaders realize that maximum productivity is the only way to achieve company success, and enabling their team to be more productive is of top priority. Easier said than done though, right? What exactly is the secret for cultivating sales teams that are highly productive (both in efficiency and effectiveness)?
While every company has salespeople labeled as “best” as well as “the rest”, (according to a Forbes Insights article entitled “The Power of Enablement”), the focus is on narrowing the gap and looking for ways to increase revenue per sales rep – even those that are lower performers. According to the Forbes article, 59% of leading companies have a defined role focused just on sales enablement. And no wonder, improving the gap by even a marginal percentage can greatly impact future revenue. In a survey by Forbes and Brainshark, findings reported that sales leaders ranked sales productivity as their number one focus in management, higher than even quality of execution or product excellence! Even more importantly, in the same survey, C-Level executives also ranked sales productivity as “critical” for achieving growth. So how can your company begin narrowing the sales productivity gap? Here are a few ways to start:
Create a Culture of “Value Conversations”
While it may sound counterintuitive, the salespeople who focus on understanding the buyer expectations and emphasizing value throughout the sales process will excel more than those that simply “sell product”. But how can a sales rep learn to focus on value? By ensuring they deliver a consistent message to the buyer throughout the entire sales process – from marketing to signed contracts and even through renewals. Forbes and Brainshark revealed that 74% of the best salespeople, as defined earlier, focus on “consistency of execution” throughout the sales cycle.
At LevelEleven, we practice this everyday. Focusing on the end value that the prospect or customer will receive is the reason they’ll end up buying – not because our salespeople believe our product is so awesome. We practice this by using our own technology to ensure our salespeople are continually focused on the right KPIs, which our sales managers set for each team member according to their role (Inside Sales, Field Sales, Lead Gen or SMB/Mid Market). When they lose focus, we get them back on track and have the opportunity to coach through the sales process to ensure value is priority number one.
Focus on coaching front-line managers
The Forbes article goes on to explain that “74% of top companies cite coaching or mentoring of salespeople as the front-line managers’ MOST important role”. It only makes sense to focus on the front-line managers first and foremost, as they each coach a number of individual salespeople. Starting at the top enables your company to get the greatest return as in the end as that coaching will result in also influencing the 6-12 people that work for that front-line manager. Dan Smoot, Executive Vice President, Market Readiness at Salesforce.com, commented, “Front-line managers are the most important people to hire in the company. If you don’t have great sales leaders, that is your first line of fault. We [Salesforce.com] had some issues, and now we spend as much time talking about sales leadership as we do about individual contributors.” How can you ensure your front-line managers will be successful? It starts with ensuring they have the right information, as well as the right tools.
With LevelEleven’s platform, sales managers have constant access to how their team is doing collectively, as well as how each individual salesperson is performing. By giving the front-line sales managers this valuable data, their one-on-one conversations with each team member can be that much more impactful. They can focus on reinforcing good behavior and helping each salesperson improve on specific weaker areas, such as making outbound calls or closing more deals.
Efficiency + Effectiveness = Productivity
Productivity isn’t just about eliminating wasted time and learning to do things faster, and it isn’t just about having quality, value focused conversations. One of these without the other leaves you exactly at square one. According to CSO Insights, salespeople dedicate only 37% of their time actually selling (even though it’s their job!), and yet 58% are struggling to hit quota. There’s a massive disconnect in how salespeople are spending their time, and much of it is due to the distractions and not having technology in place to simplify their roles and help them focus on their most important and controllable KPIs and metrics.
For companies that want to close the productivity gap, they need technology in place to bridge the gap and enable salespeople to focus on their most important priorities: creating, progressing, and closing business. According to the Forbes article, “Top performing companies are investing [in technology] at a higher rate than their counterparts in underperforming companies. And they are looking to sales enablement technologies, analytics, and CRM systems to make the difference for their teams”.
Technologies like LevelEleven help executives, front-line sales managers, and salespeople alike ensure connectivity across all aspects of the sales process. By helping all of those involved stay focused on the most important KPIs, modern sales leaders can weed out inefficiencies in the sales process while also keeping the salespeople focused on value conversations.
Bringing it all together
Sales enablement, focusing on value, coaching front-line managers, and building efficiency + effectiveness with tools are all critical components of bridging the productivity gap. But for most companies, this can seem overwhelming. At LevelEleven, we believe that focusing on data is a great place to start. Without data and without understanding where your team is at today, there’s no way to improve.
LevelEleven’s Sales Performance Platform helps modern sales leaders bring together all of the components mentioned above by helping sales teams sell more by keeping salespeople focused on the behaviors that matter. Sales managers simply identify key sales behaviors & set daily, weekly & monthly goals to motivate reps, based on their own KPIs (discovery calls, opportunities created, lead conversions, closed deals, and so on). When performance falls out of line, managers are alerted so they can quickly course correct with real-time coaching, or further leverage LevelEleven’s real-time, high-impact leaderboards to rapidly spike behavior & rally any team.
High performance companies like Forrester Research, Symantec, ReadyTalk, Akamai & HubSpot use LevelEleven with their Salesforce.com platform to close the productivity gap and ensure all salespeople are consistently reaching their goals – all while motivating them to focus on improving behaviors.
Looking for more ways to increase productivity and build a high performance sales team? Secure your spot in our next webinar:
Want to try the Sales Performance Platform for you company? See for yourself how you can become a modern sales leader by requesting a 30-minute LevelEleven demo.