Unimaginative and unproductive employees are every company’s worst nightmare as the future of a company is dependent on how well its employees perform and how motivated they are. However, low productivity may not exclusively be the employee’s fault as there may be problems in the company’s human resource management policies, work processes, and/or the work environment.
While low productivity levels in any department are a problem, this situation is particularly bothersome for the sales team. Sales representatives are required to be highly active, vigilant, and responsive, but if productivity levels in this department fall, it has an immediate effect on the company’s performance and profitability.
Simply put, productive sales representatives lead to higher sales revenue and usually the more the sales revenue, the higher the profits. Hence, lack of productivity may not always be the employees’ fault, especially if the entire team is not performing as well as they should. However, there may be a need to pay special attention to other factors that may be causing a deterioration in the performance of your workers.
Here are a few ideas that can help you improve the productivity of your sales team:
1. Provide opportunities for professional development
If your sales team is not performing at the optimum level, give them opportunities for professional development. Training courses can go a long way in honing one’s skills and can significantly help increase productivity as employees become equipped with strategies to perform better.
Moreover, it is equally imperative to regularly familiarize your sales team with contemporary sales practices and allow them to discuss any glitches that they may be experiencing in the sales process.
This can significantly get rid of bottlenecks in the sales process and improve performance. Moreover, this is also likely to boost the morale of the sales team because they will feel more valued if the company expends resources on their training and development.
2. Ensure quality content is provided
Many sales teams produce their own content rather than receiving quality content from the marketing department and this can hamper sales process. According to statistics, approximately 78% of sales leaders claim that their team is currently producing content themselves.
This leads to wastage of time and effort as the sales representative ends up spending a major portion of his time attempting to create quality content rather than pursuing sales leads. If a sales representative does not use his time wisely, then this obviously leads to lower productivity levels.
Also, sales representatives may not be equipped with the required skills to produce grammatically correct and interesting content, and the fact is that they don’t need to be. However, your company definitely needs quality content to generate qualified leads and sales.
Therefore, make sure you provide quality content for your sales team and ensure that it is produced by an expert who can write it out in a catchy and interesting way. You can also outsource content creation to a firm that can create content that can go viral thereby increasing your company’s reach.
Accordingly, your sales team will be better equipped to pursue a potential lead and will also save time by solely focusing on its main objective – making sales.
3. Invest in automated processes
Time is of the essence in sales and it is imperative for the sales team to do just that – pursue potential leads to increase sales in the shortest time span possible. However, if sales reps spend most of their time organizing themselves or trying to retrieve required information while making a sale, it would lead to ample time wastage and would also be a cause of frustration for them.
Hence, automating procedures and using software that help streamline processes and data can increase success rates for your sales team. TOPO research states that sales teams that are progressing at an accelerated pace may often be using five or more technologies at the same time.
I’ve found IQTell to provide the required integration between tasks, email, contacts and calendars, which is essential for increasing the productivity of sales representatives and assist in pursuing their established procedures. IQTell also offers powerful means of converting email into tasks by using ‘Macros’, as well as other ‘must have’ sales-related features such as scheduling when email will be sent and automated email follow-up (in cases where no reply is received).
4. Discourage multi-tasking
While multi-tasking may be needed in some departments, it is usually detrimental in the sales department as it deters the sales representatives from focusing on their assigned task.
Sales representatives may begin their day by making calls to potential leads but when they stop this process midway to finish paperwork or other tasks, it may impair the sales process and lead to lower productivity levels.
Additionally, if the sales team is involved in more than one task at a time, it will probably have a hard time meeting their sales targets and time lags while pursuing a potential lead may cause you to lose a customer altogether.
Hence, multi-tasking should be discouraged in the sales department and sales representatives should be advised to finish one task at a time. They can use automated processes such as sending emails, organizing sales records, and updating their contact list after they have finished each sales task and this should ideally not take more than a few minutes.
5. Offer higher commission rates
If all of your processes are in check and you are using technology to automate certain procedures, your sales team may be not be performing up to the mark because of a lack of incentive.
Accordingly, you may have to recheck your commission rates and what you are offering your sales representatives in return for their hard work. It may be more difficult for small businesses to give their sales team really high commission rates as they may have narrow profit margins, but determining whether providing more is an option or not is worth a go.
Financial incentives can go a long way especially for sales teams as they motivate employees to be more active in pursuing leads and to make the most of their time. When sales representatives wish to achieve more because they have more of an incentive to look forward to, their productivity levels are likely to shoot.
However, only providing financial incentives without ensuring that all work processes are optimized is not a good idea either and will not completely solve the problem. Sales representatives can rarely achieve more themselves if they are not equipped with the appropriate knowledge, tools, and motivation to do so.
Implement the strategies mentioned above on your sales team and see how it affects their productivity. Their productivity levels are more than likely to soar up several notches and this will also increase customer satisfaction as customers will feel that they are dealing with a highly professional and dedicated sales team. Remember to make a lasting impression, and motivated and productive sales reps can help you do just that.