How to fix the sales productivity problem

Research from The Aberdeen Group indicates that salespeople today spend less than a third of their time selling, and under half are reaching their sales targets, while increasingly more time is spent managing administrative tasks surrounding sales.

There are three underlying causes of this problem:

  • Complexity – selling is more complicated today. More touch points are involved, buyers are more sophisticated, and the technology reps use grows almost every day.
  • Chaos – differences between sellers are increasingly nuanced and despite record investments in data and analytics, sellers face more uncertainty than ever.
  • Context – modern demand generation strategies, has forced salespeople to spend more time managing administrative tasks than managing the sales process.

Here are five ways to help mitigate your sales investment risk by solving the productivity problem:

  1. Map out the customer acquisition process
    Don’t build out your methodology from A to Z; instead, map the system and find the waypoints. This enables you to make your repeatable process a series of repeatable mini-processes that can be plugged in as needed.
  2. Create a clearly defined sales system
    The single most common mistake is a lack of clear definition to leads, situations, and progression. Top CRM solutions provide a range of options. Salespeople need to spend their ‘thinking time’ on selling situations, rather than figuring out what to do and when to do it. This creates greater discipline and velocity.
  3. Focus on velocity (not efficiency)
    Today’s sales reps have multiple systems, too many databases, and mass confusion. Your goal should be to focus on velocity (not efficiency). To do that, you must have a single system and crystal clear processes for salespeople to follow.
  4. Integrate and automate your system
    The Aberdeen Groups’ research highlighted the drag manual processes are placing on sales and revenue velocity. The key is to create, execute, and optimise processes that enable sales people to focus their energy on achieving the high-value actions that directly cause sales.

What are your biggest sales problems?

Sources: Davidoff, Aberdeen [abridged]