According to one report, sales reps spend less than 40% of their time selling, with the rest of the time spent on admin. Coupled with boring sales emails that get sent straight to the bin (if they even make it past the spam filters), it’s clear that sales productivity is broken.
How can you spend more time on high-value activities? Here’s how you can make the most of your time.
Sales productivity starts with the right tools
In sales, if you want to be productive, you need to spend more of your time selling. To achieve that, you need all the relevant information about a lead in one place. That way, you’re able to find the hottest leads and close those deals, instead of chasing the data. For example, by seeing which pages a prospect visits on your website, you can quickly gauge what topics they are interested in, without having to do additional research.
However, to improve your sales, you also need to improve your marketing productivity. Companies perform best when sales and marketing are aligned, rather than each operating in their own individual silos. That means marketers need to get information about qualified leads in front of your sales reps as effortlessly as possible. You also need to minimize the time spent on building mailing lists and getting your message out.
For both sales and marketing, an important factor is finding and using the right tools for the job. By using tools that automatically communicate between sales and marketing, you can focus on value-adding activities—like reaching out to prospects and creating content—rather than worrying about whether you’ve shared the right information.
Using automation for improved productivity
Sales teams need to spend as little time on admin as possible, and software can automate a lot of those tedious and time-consuming tasks. It can also help scale other parts of the sales processes such as lead generation and outreach, with new sales automation tools being released every day.
However, as much as we’re fans of automation, it’s not a magic bullet. While automation can save you time, that doesn’t mean every part of the sales process should be automated. Mistakes can happen and, without your direct involvement, you may not realize anything is wrong until it’s too late and it’s costing you sales.
To work out what parts of your process you can safely automate, it’s good practice to go through the process manually until you fully understand each step.
When we automated our onboarding process, we had already gone through it many times before, manually reviewing sign-ups and personally engaging with them. Far from being a waste of time, this gave us a far deeper understanding of our prospects and what obstacles they faced.
Measuring and improving productivity
When it comes to measuring your productivity, there are two different factors to consider:
- The subjective experience
- The hard numbers
The subjective part is all about how the sales rep feels. If they’re only able to spend 40% of their time on sales activities, they’re going to get frustrated. They don’t want to do admin—they want to close deals and earn their bonuses!
When it comes to hard numbers, you need actionable data. For example, when it comes to the emails that your sales and marketing team send, you need to see which emails prospects engage with. What kind of open rates, click-through rates, and reply rates are you getting?
While this helps measure the effectiveness of your outreach, it’s no longer enough. Businesses need to go further and analyze which sales and marketing activities get the best results in terms of:
- Booked meetings
- Close rates
By tying this kind of sales data back to your marketing activity, you get a complete view of your funnel. You can then optimize your process and spend more of your time and money on the marketing activities that actually affect your bottom line.
Regularly (at least every quarter), review all your closed-won and closed-lost deals and look for common denominators. Look at what the data is telling you, then adapt your process accordingly.
Nobody wants to spend most of their time on low-value admin work. The good news is that, by putting a few key practices in place, you don’t have to.
By using the right tools, you can better align your sales and marketing teams and easily share data between them. By thoroughly understanding your sales process, you can then automate the manual and time-consuming steps effectively. Finally, by measuring your productivity and tying results to activities, you can optimize your process and become more productive than ever.
With Outfunnel, our aim is to bridge the gap between sales and marketing by making tools communicate with each other, reducing the time spent on non-sales tasks, and allowing you to focus on closing more deals. Try it out for yourself with a 14-day free trial.