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Ryan Longfield on Increasing Productivity Across Sales & Marketing Teams

December 5, 2023

GTM Innovators Episode 13 with Ryan Longfield

For salespeople, time is the ultimate currency.

Every critical sales activity is time-intensive, whether prospecting and lead generation or client meetings and follow-ups. Yet, studies show that a sales rep spends 77% of their time on non-selling activities. Things like administrative tasks, data entry, and internal meetings might be essential but certainly impede a salesperson’s ability to focus on driving revenue. 

What does it take to improve sales performance and maximize results? According to Ryan Longfield, technology is not the whole answer, but it’s a key part of driving a sales team’s productivity. It simplifies processes and gives them time to focus on what truly matters: building relationships and making sales happen.

Ryan Longfield is the former CRO and current Chief Innovation Officer at Gong. Before joining Gong, Ryan was at LinkedIn for ten years, holding several sales leadership roles throughout his tenure. Joining Mike Weir, G2 Advisor and former CRO, in the latest episode of GTM Innovators, Ryan shared his golden tips on how companies can support sales teams to become more focused on selling behavior and the role tech and marketing play in the process.

Balancing client-facing impact with tech efficiency

The pressure on sales teams to sell more for less is constant across organizations. It’s a never-ending goal that requires balancing meeting customer expectations, staying ahead of competitors, and adapting to market conditions. 

As Ryan puts it, sales is the art and science of human influence. And the place for influencing is in front of customers. But if most of the time you’re busy manually updating systems, preparing for meetings, or researching clients, something has to change. “If only 23% of the time is client-facing, what are we doing with the rest? ​​I think we all would agree that there’s a tremendous opportunity for better here,” he says.

“Yes, salespeople need to prep for meetings and send influential emails. But the primary place of influence is when they’re out in front of the customers, whether that’s over video, phone, or in person.”

Ryan Longfield
Chief Innovation Officer, Gong

Ryan stated that not everything can be minimized to zero out of that 77% non-selling time. If a sales rep spends almost 10% of his time preparing for a sales meeting, the real effort is keeping them at the same level of preparation but cutting the prep time in half, not at zero, because you want your salesperson to be prepared, after all. 

“I think the right approach for us as leaders is to go through and break that down. We must ask ourselves, ‘What can I do to make that 5%?’” he adds.

On the other hand, time spent on manual tasks like updating systems should be turned down to zero. For years, systems have required too much work from humans while doing the bare minimum for us in return. But there’s a shift in that reality now. “I love that we're in a time where there's this consumer mentality to technology for us to have better user experience,” says Ryan. 

The role of marketing in maximizing sales time

When it comes to successfully maximizing sales time, marketing needs to be part of the solution. It’s about crafting an ecosystem where every action is purposeful, every engagement is meaningful, and every minute spent is a strategic investment in the growth and success of the organization. 

To achieve this, Ryan suggests sales and marketing operate as a single unit. “It feels so easy to talk about, but it feels so hard to pull off.“ he says. He shared a couple of tips on how organizations can achieve this. The first step is to build your core definitions together, be it your ideal customer profile, success metrics, how you’re doing things, why you’re doing things - ask the hard questions and report together. 

“It's the same thing as a marriage between sales and marketing. If you want to operate as a unit, you have to build stuff together. When you have the hard conversations, that's where the magic happens.”

Ryan Longfield
Chief Innovation Officer, Gong

Ryan’s second suggestion is to utilize the right tools. There are incredible marketing innovations available right now; his favorite is the one that informs the next best action. 

“If I am going to go prospect, I could either have a list of names and accounts in my patch and start going after it. Or, I could have a list of names and accounts who were interacting with our marketing assets in the last few hours,” he says. 

Systems connecting marketing activities to seller action are key, and most companies dramatically underutilize this intelligence. If a sales rep spends 9% of his time prioritizing leads and determining the next best action, the right tools and technology can help realign that focus for higher efficiency. 

“At Gong, we love using G2 signals. If somebody's researching our space or a competitor, that information informs my team's prioritization and outreach. I want that signal going right to my team. And that’s how I take that 9% and shrink it down using technology, making my team far more effective,” says Ryan. 

Other learnings from Ryan in this episode

The full conversation with Ryan in episode 13 of GTM Innovators includes other takeaways like:

  • How technology can help innovate and refocus sales teams on selling behavior
  • Why leaders need to continuously evolve to make the best of AI and other tech trends

Catch the full episode on YouTube and subscribe to the GTM Innovators podcast for insightful conversations with GTM experts - available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Amazon Music, and more.

GTM-innovators-podcast Skip the crystal ball…

…unlock the secrets by subscribing to our GTM Innovators podcast! Tune in and learn from leading B2B revenue and marketing experts about all things tech.

GTM-innovators-podcast Skip the crystal ball…

…unlock the secrets by subscribing to our GTM Innovators podcast! Tune in and learn from leading B2B revenue and marketing experts about all things tech.

Ryan Longfield on Increasing Productivity Across Sales & Marketing Teams In episode 13 of the GTM Innovators podcast, Gong’s Ryan Longfield discusses how sales teams can maximize selling time with tech efficiency. Tune in now!
Washija Kazim Washija Kazim is a Sr. Content Marketing Specialist at G2 focused on creating actionable SaaS content for IT management and infrastructure needs. With a professional degree in business administration, she specializes in subjects like business logic, impact analysis, data lifecycle management, and cryptocurrency. In her spare time, she can be found buried nose-deep in a book, lost in her favorite cinematic world, or planning her next trip to the mountains. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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