Sales Productivity for Inside Sales

March 3, 2014
min read time
Sam Aparicio
Sam Aparicio
Co-founder & CEO, Ring.io
Sales Productivity for Inside Sales

If sales is about removing friction, sales productivity is about removing sales process friction and improving the area of focus.

According to Mark Ellwood, President of Pace Productivity, sales reps spend an average of 22% of their week hours actually selling (PDF report). In other words, their sales productivity is handicapped by the time they have to allocate to non-selling tasks.  

Think about it. How many hoops do your reps have to jump in order to make a sale?

  • Do your reps source their own leads? How do they get them?
  • Do your reps load their own leads? Do they have to clean them up?
  • Do your reps make their own lists? How do they decide what goes on the list?
  • Do your reps score their own leads? How do they decide who’s hot and who’s cold?
  • Do your reps make their own schedule? How do they find out when it’s the right time to call?
  • Do your reps make their own email templates? What about call scripts?
  • Do your reps make their own Powerpoint or webinar templates?
  • How do your reps offer pricing and proposals?
  • How do your reps handle objections?
  • How do your reps make an order?
  • Do your reps process customer payments?
  • Do your reps have to onboard your customers?
  • Do your reps answer technical support questions?

At some point or another, all tech companies have been there: loading up the sales rep with tasks that belong elsewhere. But one has to ask, what is truly the job of sales?

So secret #1 of a productive inside sales team is: let sales people sell, have others do the rest.

OK, let’s say that you have provided process assistance, how else can you boost sales productivity? Another common area of improvement is area of focus. Since a lot of selling depends on timing, the exact same sales activity can produce two very different outcomes depending on prospect attitudes at the time of interaction.

The best sales reps figure out who to focus on when, for maximum impact. There are a variety of ways of helping reps with area of focus:

  • Provide deeper transparency into what the prospect is doing across the organization – are they interacting with marketing collateral? Marketing automation can answer that. Are they sending signals on social networks? Social customer monitoring can answer that. The sales rep shouldn’t have to think to answer the question of who’s hot… great area of focus tools can answer that for them.
  • Clearly map out who is a sweet spot customer, who in the organization is a decision maker, and what are typical buying triggers. Another area of focus technique helps the sales rep understand purchasing likeliness based on product affinity. This is not necessarily the same as lead qualification – it’s a process of uncovering particular affinities across the sales cycle, and mapping those out to product fit. Additionally, area of focus can be applied towards validating that the party we’re interacting with is the right party – the buyer. Finally, the best sales reps understand what drives purchasing timelines, and can help their prospects closer to one of the buying triggers to kick in that trigger with relevant questioning.
  • Implement a sales productivity regime – A sales productivity regime is an agreement within a sales team to devote certain hours of the day to certain activities. The team agrees that all planning happens first thing in the morning, followed up by power dialling, followed up by lead warming, followed up by lunch, followed up by closing, followed up by demos, followed up by clerical… etc. Then team members can keep each other accountable, and everyone ends up allocating the right amount of hours to each activity type. Think about a sales productivity regime as a “gym workout plan” for sales people.

So secret #2 of productive inside sales teams is to apply area of focus techniques.

What other tips do you use to keep your sales rep productive? Please share your insights below!


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