How to Make Your Sales Reps Crazy Productive

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How do you make your sales reps more effective and productive? There are five ways sales leaders can help: pay attention to onboarding, build a motivational and encouraging sales team culture, align sales and marketing departments, develop a repeatable sales process, and leverage the right sales technologies. Learn how to keep your reps moving in the right direction.

Are your sales reps productive? Now, that’s a loaded question, right? They may be busy, but not in the way that positively impacts your bottom line. What do you think they would say if you asked them? Their answers may surprise you.

The HubSpot Sales Survey from 2017 reports that sales reps only spend 34% of their time actually selling. That means that even when your sales reps are showing up for work and working every hour of the day, they might not be as productive as they could be. As guest James Bawden said on the INSIDE Inside Sales podcast, “activity for the sake of activity does nothing.”

So, how do you get the most productivity out of your sales team?

I’m glad you asked…

#SalesReps only spend 34% of their time selling. That means even when your they're showing up for work & working every hour of the day, they might not be as productive as they could be. #SalesStrategy Click To Tweet

Here Are Five Ways to Make Your Sales Development Reps Wildly Productive

1. Start with Sales Rep Onboarding

Day one is when you have the greatest opportunity to set expectations with new hires. If you take a “sink or swim” approach to onboarding new sales development reps (SDRs), you’re setting them up for the first step in a pattern of inefficiency and low productivity. When you don’t take the time to provide new employees with proper orientation and training, you’ve essentially signaled that “we don’t care if you have a hard time figuring things out.”

Ensure that every new hire gets appropriate training on your products, services, industry, personas, and tech stack.

  • Take time to set expectations and explain what a successful SDR looks like.
    • how will SDRs get measured?
    • what does an SDR do each day?
    • what KPIs should an SDR monitor?
    • what resources should reps use?
  • Assign a senior rep to act as a mentor to your new hire.
  • Check in regularly with your new hires to make sure they are acclimating.

2. Encourage SDRs by Building a Thriving Team Culture

Studies show that organizations with highly engaged employees outperform companies where employees have low levels of engagement. This is true at the department or team level, too. When your SDRs feel engaged and dedicated to company success, they will perform better. Motivate your SDRs and inside sales representatives through:

  • friendly competition and gamification
  • performance rewards
  • team building activities
  • sharing sales effort results
  • routine training
  • continuous coaching

sales coaching

Studies show that organizations with highly engaged employees 😁 outperform companies where employees have low levels of engagement. #Motivation #EmployeeEngagement Click To Tweet

3. Align Sales and Marketing Teams

Marketing generates leads. The sales team follows up with them. Except when they don’t. Time to beat the “sales and marketing alignment” topic to death again.

Sorry, folks. This topic is one that will not, — and should not, die.

How much time and money gets wasted every day across sales and marketing teams worldwide when one side says, “your leads are garbage,” and the other side responds with, “no, your follow up is garbage.” Okay, so maybe they don’t verbalize these ideas (at least not across team lines), but their actions and passive aggressive behaviors belie their true feelings.

Sales and marketing leaders who don’t guide both sides toward harmony not only waste marketing budget and resources; they also reinforce sales rep inefficiencies and lack of productivity. When these teams aren’t aligned, sales reps will:

  • spend time creating their own content
  • cherrypick leads instead of calling the ones provided
  • look for their own leads to call
  • don’t allocate enough time for persistent follow-up opportunities with existing leads

4. Develop a Repeatable Sales Process

When you take time to develop an easy-to-repeat sales process, you enable your SDRs to be more productive and increase efficiencies. A sales process ensures that sales team members follow proven steps to maximize the likelihood of success. Ideally, your sales process will include:

  • A sales playbook that provides details such as common objections and rebuttals, buyer personas, typical decision maker behaviors during each stage of the buyer’s journey, competitor analysis, and more
  • A sales cadence (preferably automated through a sales engagement platform) to time each touch point to improve sales engagement and maximize deal flow
  • Scripts that help SDRs stay on message
  • Email templates for every situation, so reps can spend time personalizing messages rather than writing new emails from scratch each time
  • Information about and access to training materials on your organization’s chosen sales methodology

A secret ingredient to making your sales process work is to remove non-sales activities from your team’s plates. How much time each day gets filled by administrative tasks? Remember that statistic we started this post with — only 34% of reps’ time is spent selling — so chances are quite a bit of time is dedicated to admin work. What can you cut and what can you give to a sales admin assistant?

A secret ingredient to making your #SalesProcess work is to remove non-sales activities from your team's plates. 👍 #SalesStrategy #SalesTips Click To Tweet

5. Leverage Sales Technology

With the right sales technology, you can free up sales reps to focus on following up with qualified leads. Here are a few examples of sales tech you should consider using in your organization.

  • Chatbots — a tool like Drift can help engage prospects on your website. After the bot asks a few qualifying questions, you can hand off promising leads to sales. Leads that can’t be immediately qualified by the bot can be added to an automated nurture instead.
  • Auto dialing — progressive or preview auto dialing helps improve call productivity for your sales reps. Dialing a number doesn’t seem like it takes a lot of time, but those seconds add up when you make a lot of calls every day.
  • Voicemail drop — voicemail drop saves reps valuable seconds by allowing them to leave pre-recorded voicemail messages with a single click.
  • Automated lead routing and prioritization — a sales engagement solution that automatically routes the next best lead to SDRs saves time and increases productivity.

Final Thoughts

Since salespeople report only spending 34 percent of their time selling, you’ve obviously got a lot of opportunity for improvement when it comes to increasing productivity. It would be easy to just tell your team to work harder or focus more on selling, but those demands don’t jibe with reality. The modern sales team has become bogged down by administrative tasks, meetings, and technology that just doesn’t promote sales productivity.

As a sales leader, it’s up to you to identify tasks that get in the way of selling, provide access to tools that enhance outreach rather than hinder it, and create a team culture that motivates and encourages team members to achieve their quota.

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Darryl Praill

Darryl Praill, Chief Marketing Officer of VanillaSoft, is a high-tech marketing executive with over 25 years’ experience spanning startups, re-starts, consolidations, acquisitions, divestments and IPO’s. He has been widely quoted in the media including television, press, and trade publications. He is a guest lecturer, public speaker, and radio personality and has been featured in numerous podcasts, case studies, and best-selling books.

Praill is a former recipient of the coveted Forty Under 40 Award, and has held senior executive roles in leading companies including Sybase, Cognos (now IBM), webPLAN (now Kinaxis), and CML Emergency Services (now AIRBUS). He has raised over $50 million in venture funding across multiple organizations and consulted with world-class corporations including Salesforce, SAP, and Nielsen. He is a Computer Science graduate from Sheridan College.

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