How to Increase the Productivity of Every Salesperson in Your Team

Low sales productivity is a common problem faced by sales organizations across industries, but it’s also one of the most solvable. Modern technology has made it easier than ever for managers to have visibility into sales performance, and there are proven ways to increase sales productivity in both the short and long term.

So why isn’t every company doing it?

Well, the truth is that increasing sales productivity requires time and commitment from company leadership — not just to announce higher sales targets, but to truly create a culture of productivity and motivate employees to succeed every day.

From onboarding to goal setting to pipeline management and incentives, achieving consistently high sales productivity requires buy-in and collaboration at every level.

In the sections that follow, we’ll explore the root cause of productivity challenges, then walk through 7 ways you can increase sales productivity at your company (and feel confident your results will stick).

Quick Takeaways

  • Most sales reps only spend about a third of their time actually selling.
  • Effective onboarding, a defined sales process, and strong goal setting processes are three simple yet effective ways to increase long-term sales productivity.
  • Adding a step for sales accepted leads to your lead qualification process reduces time wasted on unqualified leads.
  • Sales software systems increase sales productivity by automating tasks and providing performance insights.
  • Sales enablement resources boost sales rep confidence and overall success rates.
  • Incentives are a surefire way to motivate sales employees to hit their targets.

Why is sales productivity such a common challenge?

Sales productivity plays a central role in your company’s overall ability to generate revenue. Still, it’s no secret that sales reps spend a large chunk of their time on activities other than selling. Research from a variety of top industry sources generally agrees that salespeople spend about a third of their time actually interacting with clients and closing deals.

As for the rest? It’s spent on things like internal meetings, paperwork, and training.

Salespeople spend about one-third of their time on selling, and the rest on activities like internal meetings, paperwork, and training.

That’s not to say these other activities don’t contribute to productivity — certainly they can and often do. But they also present the risk of wasted time, and they don’t impact your bottom line the way true selling activities do.

It’s up to sales leadership to help sales reps manage time effectively, maximize the time they spend actually selling, and make sure that time spent on non-selling activities is still meaningful to sales success.

7 Surefire Ways to Increase Sales Productivity at Your Company

Implement Sales Onboarding and Training

Do your sales reps know how you want and expect them to spend their time? This is an important concept to cover in your sales onboarding and training program. When you set clear expectations around time allocation (and if possible, provide guidelines on how to track it) you reduce the likelihood that your reps will spend empty hours on busywork.

Many organizations use sales activity trackers to help sales reps record their time, understand where they need to make adjustments, and report their activity to management. Sales activity trackers are often a feature of sales software systems but can also be as simple as a Google spreadsheet template completed manually each day or week.

Either way, sales activity trackers impact productivity by keeping sales employees accountable for how much time they spend on selling activities and providing valuable data that can be used to improve performance over time.

Define Your Sales Process

Defining your sales process is an important step toward optimizing sales productivity. When sales activities are aligned with each step of your sales process, then matched to the buyer journey (like in the example below) your sales reps have clear guidelines on which activities should be prioritized for each lead in their pipeline.

A defined sales process helps increase sales productivity by aligning activities with specific steps in the buyer journey.

Set Clear Goals

Sales reps with clearly defined goals are better able to work toward sales targets and hit them consistently. Ideally, sales managers should work to help individual reps create goals that align with larger company objectives. When individual employees feel that their work contributes to overall organizational success, they’re more likely to be engaged and productive.

Employees are more engaged and productive when their individual goals align with larger company objectives.

Focus on Lead Qualification

Unqualified leads are one of the biggest and longest-standing barriers to sales productivity. In fact, 61% of marketers report sending every lead through to sales even though only 27% of them are actually qualified. No wonder sales teams are spending so much time on prospects that never convert!

You can take steps to reduce the number of unqualified leads sent into the sales pipeline by adding a step for sales accepted leads into your lead qualification process. A sales accepted lead requires some form of acknowledgement from your sales team that it does indeed meet the right criteria for further action.

Sales accepted leads fall between marketing qualified and sales qualified leads in your pipeline, requiring formal acknowledgement from your sales team before moving to the next stage.

Adding a step for sales accepted leads also increases alignment between your marketing and sales teams, bridging a critical gap where leads often fall through the cracks or get bottlenecked in your pipeline.

Adopt the Right Sales Software Systems

Sales software systems can dramatically increase your team’s sales productivity. By automating manual tasks, increasing data visibility throughout the pipeline, and tracking progress toward sales goals, your technology systems can serve as a control center for sales success from both an individual performance and high-level management perspective.

Provide Sales Enablement Content

Sales enablement is the process of providing the right tools, resources, and content to your sales reps so that they can sell as effectively as possible. It provides deep knowledge about your offerings that reps can use throughout the sales process. It helps them craft a sales pitch that is tailored to each individual prospect.

Perhaps most importantly, it boosts their confidence in their ability to answer questions and provide value throughout the sales process. The result? More proactive, motivated, and productive sales employees. In fact, organizations with effective sales enablement strategies in place earn 17.9% higher win rates and 11.8% higher quota attainment than competitors.

Companies can boost sales productivity by providing sales enablement materials, which result in higher win rates and quota attainment.

Motivate Reps with Incentives

Nothing motivates quite like the tried-and-true method of compensation incentives. In sales, offering incentives in the form of bonuses or other prizes (like trips or gifts) can create a culture of friendly competition, make sales reps feel rewarded for their achievements, and encourage higher sales productivity as employees work to hit incentive-related targets.

Over to You

Higher sales productivity is about more than just elevating sales targets and hoping your reps will hit them. It requires alignment at every level (and across departments) of your sales organization, commitment from leadership to set aligned goals, and motivated employees encouraged by supportive leadership and strong incentives.

The result? Your pipeline will be fuller, your revenue will grow, and your teams will be better equipped to increase sales productivity accordingly.

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