How can my sales reps be more productive?
If you are the sales head or manage a team of sales reps you will surely have this question at the back of your mind. Infact a recent study by Accenture showed that reps were spending only 34% of their time selling. Another study by Docurated showed that sales reps spend 20% of their time on administrative tasks like logging data into their CRM software or preparing reports for their review meetings. With figures like these it becomes important for sales managers to provide their sales reps with tools that can reduce the time they spend on mundane tasks freeing up time that they can then spend on their primary objective selling.
So how can your sales reps be more productive?
Firstly, it is important to understand the kind of work your sales reps are doing on a daily basis. Sit with them and understand the amount of time they spend making new calls, follow up calls, handling complaints, updating the sales CRM software, preparing reports, sending reports etc. Once you identify their daily tasks figure out the different tools they are using to do these tasks. Chances are they are using multiple tools and that the data does not flow between these different tools. For example all the contact details could be stored on your CRM but to actually make phone calls to customers/prospects they could be using a different phone software. Similarly they could have a different email client that they use to contact customers and so on.
If you find that they are juggling multiple tools then here is your first problem that needs to be tackled. The CRM software or the systems you have in place are not going to cut it and it’s time for you to start looking for a newer better CRM software that can take on all the day to day tasks that your sales reps must execute. If you are in the market for a new CRM Software here is a blog that shows some pointers for selecting the right CRM.
If you already have the right CRM Software here are a 4 things you need to start doing to optimize the time your sales reps spend on leads.
- Start lead scoring
- Get smartforms for your website
- Start using workflows
- Take advantage of bulk emails
How Lead Scoring can help improve sales productivity?
Sales reps follow up with a hundred leads each day, be it through phone or mail this can be time consuming. However, if the number of deals they actually close at the end is minimal, it is a clear sign that they are going after the wrong leads, leads that are not ideal and were never going to convert to paying customers. The key to closing deals quickly is talking to the hot prospects first and then going on to the next tier of customers. This is where Lead Scoring can help you.
With lead scoring you can assign points to your leads based on their engagement with your company. For example if a website visitor spends a certain amount of time or goes through several pages before signing up for a demo then he can be considered a better prospect then one who spent a few seconds before signing up for a demo. In a nutshell lead scoring can give you a clear picture as to what the leads are looking for and how interested they really are in your product. With this data your sales reps will be able to prioritize the leads that they need to contact right away and those that can wait. This will greatly increase their productivity reduce closure times and boost revenue numbers.
How can smartforms help improve sales productivity?
Most CRMs don’t do a really good job at capturing leads from your webforms. In most cases you will need to create another form on your CRM software with similar fields as your webform and then do a manual import of the webform data. Sounds silly does it not? Well just check with your sales reps and see if they need to do manual entries of your webform data into the CRM. Chances are they are spending precious minutes daily doing just this. And in some cases they may not even have exact fields in the CRM to import data into and you could have a system when one sales rep is entering both name and surname in under name and another sales rep just entering the name. In the long term this can lead to huge data discrepancies and can be a nightmare for your. For example during one of migrations we noticed that a couple of our customers sales reps had entered NONAME as the surname for leads that did not have one. What made matters worse was that on further inspection we saw that this data was being fed into a drip mail system and that system was pulling NONAME as the surname. Just imaging customers being addressed as Dear Jack NONAME
If this is the case do some research find out how you can integrate your CRM forms onto your website directly or see if you can create some automation using tools like Zapier to sync your webform data with your CRM. If this process can be automated then your sales reps will automatically have new leads in their call lists giving them more prospects to contact and thus more opportunities to close.
How Workflows can help sales productivity?
As we already saw sales reps could be spending huge amounts of time on mundane activities like data entry and sending template emails. What a waste of time, time that could have been spent on calls and building better relationships with leads. Imagine if you could automate these mundane tasks. Well there are CRMs that let you do just that.
You can set up workflows that will help you address this very issue. All you will need to do is work with your sales reps and identify the triggers and then decide on the various follow up actions that need to be taken for each trigger. For example if a new lead signs up on your website then send him or her a welcome email. You can do this for almost any task like website signup, cart abandonment, failed signups, downloads etc. The best part of having workflows is that it eliminates the need for human intervention once set up. This not only frees up time for your sales reps but also ensure that no leads are missed out on since the automation is trigger based and everytime a set action is triggered the associated rule will ensure the next step happens.
How Bulk Emails can help sales productivity?
Another area where sales reps tend to waste time is in sending the same email one by one to a long mailing list. Ask your marketing team if they would ever dream of doing this. They answer will surely be no, so the question you should ask yourself is why then should sales? There are many tools, like mailchimp, that can do this for and can easily integrate with your CRM if your CRM does not come with the bulk email feature.
If your CRM software has a bulk email feature then your sales reps can manage campaigns right from the CRM. They can easily pull reports to track individual email performance, get stats on email open, link clicks etc. They can even use this data to improve the messaging, updating mailing lists etc.
Sales is probably the most important function within any organization. Many a times managers are hesitant to change things as they don’t know the repercussions it may have on the performance of sales teams. They tend to stick with old mundane systems when there is a definite better way to doing things thanks to technology. My parting advice to these managers is to take the plunge, update your systems, give your sales reps the best tools out there. Reduce the time they spend on mundane tasks cause just like you they too would prefer being on calls, closing those big deals especially if there is a big fat bonus waiting for them if they do.