I often hear people throw around the saying “work smarter, not harder.”
As it turns out, that’s a lot easier said than done. Many people, including myself, struggle to find enough hours in the day to get everything done. While this is common across many different professions and industries, it’s especially prevalent in sales.
I started on my business development career path as a BDR. Quickly, I found it incredibly difficult to juggle all of my daily tasks and prioritize the ones that brought me closer to quota. As the pressure to hit my number grew, my overall efficiency went down. At the end of each work day, I was completely burnt out. Something needed to change.
So, I turned to the highest performers on my team and my manager for help. With their advice, I vowed to make one small change each day to improve my workflow and track my progress over the next quarter. As time went on, I noticed that not only was I performing better overall, but I was doing more work in less time.
5 ways to boost sales productivity
Qualify leads more effectively
Use technology to your advantage
Be fluid in your approach
Schedule regular one-on-ones
Celebrate small wins
In this article, I’ll discuss the five strategies that I found most effective for boosting individual sales productivity. Keep in mind that while these won’t work for everyone, you can take bits and pieces to craft the best strategy that works for you.
5 ways to boost sales productivity
The key to boosting productivity is finding the discipline to hold yourself accountable. However, building that skill doesn’t happen overnight. For the time being, use these five strategies as a guide to make small strides in your day-to-day and set the foundation for becoming an ultra-efficient sales rep.
1. Qualify leads more effectively
Whether you’re just starting out as a business development rep or have years of experience under your belt as an Account Executive, you’ve likely encountered the issue of chasing after the wrong lead. Unfortunately, just because a prospective buyer has expressed interest in buying what you’re selling, it doesn’t mean that they will. This can be a major source of inefficiency, both on an individual and team-wide level.
To combat this, leads need to better qualified from the get-go. As a sales rep, you should know your target customer profile like the back of your hand. Get more granular with the questions that you’re asking during the qualification process, and don’t be afraid to turn your back on a potential customer if your instinct tells you they’re not serious about buying.
Tip: To take this a step further, consider implementing a lead scoring methodology on your team. This way, you can prioritize leads based on their score and focus your efforts on the ones that rank the highest.
2. Use technology to your advantage
In 2019, there’s an app or software for everything. It might seem like technology is a quick fix for the productivity issue but the reality is that even the most sophisticated software isn’t going to magically make you better at your job. That being said, using the right combination of tech tools can be a big help.
Take a look at the technology that you’re currently using. Ask yourself: are these tools helping you do your job better or are they causing a distraction? Get rid of any apps that go unused or add additional clutter to your work day.
Certain tools, such as a CRM software, are necessities and shouldn’t be removed.
However, you should assess whether you’re using the software to its full potential. There are likely hundreds of hidden features built into these tools that exist to help you be more efficient but you’re simply unaware of them.
3. Be fluid in your approach
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach that will work for everyone, so make adjustments as you go. As you become more aware of your own productivity on a day-to-day basis, you’ll start to notice certain patterns in your behavior.
For example, if you notice that you tend to be more focused in the mornings, re-arrange your schedule so the tasks that require the most attention fall in the morning, and other work that is more mindless can be moved to the afternoon. If there are tasks that you find yourself consistently pushing off, find a small way to reward yourself for completing them such as taking a mental break to check your cell phone.
4. Schedule regular one-on-ones
If you don’t have regularly scheduled one-on-ones with your manager on the calendar, put that on your to-do list after you’re done reading this article. Sales can be a rollercoaster, so it’s important to keep track of your progress and receive consistent feedback from your superiors.
The frequency with which you meet with your manager will vary, but the meeting itself is crucial to increasing your productivity. Having this time carved into your schedule allows you to come prepared with topics or concerns that have been on your mind and receive immediate feedback. This is your time to ask questions, celebrate wins, and share any obstacles or challenges you’re facing. You should leave a one-on-one feeling motivated to get back to work and excited to see what you achieve between now and your next meeting.
Tip: Throughout the week, keep a bulleted list of things that come up that you want to address in your one-on-one and bring them to the meeting.
5. Celebrate small wins
Believe it or not, there is more to your job than hitting quota. Even the highest performing sales reps go through rough patches. Letting yourself get into a negative headspace can be a huge blow to your productivity and is difficult to bounce back from.
Staying motivated and keeping a positive attitude are key to getting through the not-so-great times. While this is easier said than done, celebrating even the smallest of wins will help you get there.
You may have booked only three sales appointments this week but what else did you accomplish? Did you contribute a great idea in a meeting? Did you successfully pitch an executive on a cold call? Did you run a great discovery call with a prospect at one of your top accounts? Look a little deeper and you’ll realize that there are plenty of other things that you accomplish in your day-to-day that are worth celebrating.
Tip: Lean on your colleagues and celebrate them, too. A positive attitude is contagious.
Rise to the occasion
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut of feeling burnt out and inefficient at work, especially in sales. Use these strategies and make them your own. If you choose to implement these small changes in your day-to-day workflow and learn the discipline to hold yourself to it, you’ll be more productive and crush your quota quicker than ever before.