December 2, 2022

7 Proven Ways to Boost Sales Productivity

Written by Karli Stone

Peak sales productivity is closing more deals in less time while hitting your targets and driving organizational revenue—it’s the gold standard of working in sales.

But it’s easier said than done…

The average sales rep only spends 37% of their time actively selling. The rest of the time is spent planning, manually entering data, doing paperwork, and other tedious administrative tasks that don’t move the needle. Over time, inefficient workflows like this result in missed sales targets, low morale, and poor company culture.

Fortunately, several sales productivity tools and tactics can help and we have the answers for you here.

Read on to learn:

  • What sales productivity looks like
  • The causes of sales inefficiency
  • Tips for a more productive sales workflow
  • Must-haves for sales productivity tools

What is sales productivity?

Sales productivity is the practice of maximizing sales results while reducing resources expended.

In other words, efficiency + effectiveness = sales productivity.

Sales efficiency is all about making the best use of limited time to accelerate sales. An efficient sales rep spends time on high-impact activities like cold-calling and email campaigns versus low-impact activities like administrative tasks.

Sales effectiveness is when sales actions have a positive effect on the sales cycle. Sales effectiveness is all about results and driving revenue. A highly effective rep uses available resources to win customers.

Sales productivity requires a balance of both. Here’s a way to visualize this balance:

As you can see, the top performers have both high efficiency and high effectiveness. They focus on revenue-driving activity against the low-impact tasks and have positive results to show for it.

What causes sales inefficiencies?

Here are some of the biggest obstacles to achieving peak sales productivity:

  • The complexity of today’s buyers. 81% of buyers conduct research before ever reaching out to a salesperson. It’s hard to know where buyers are in the buying process, what information they need, and how to effectively conduct buying conversations.
  • Time-draining administrative tasks. Sales reps spend more than 25% of their working hours on administrative tasks like internal meetings and data entry. These non-revenue-generating tasks can be a huge setback on the path to sales productivity.
  • Poor training. Many sales organizations view proper sales training as a cost center rather than an opportunity to drive productivity. In fact, 27% of companies don’t offer sales training of any kind. This de-prioritization results in all types of sales inefficiencies.
  • Lack of communication. Poor communication can lead to delayed campaign launches, misentered data, incorrect integrations, off-tone branding, slower growth, and even lost deals.
  • Utilization of the wrong tools. When information gets stored in multiple silos across different sales tools, salespeople spend their time chasing data rather than leads.
  • Poor data. “Dirty” data (i.e. outdated, duplicated, non-compliant, or incomplete information) throws off marketing efforts, damages brand reputation, and contributes to a slower sales cycle.
  • Negative sales cultures. Poor leadership, a lack of enthusiasm, limited trust, and low morale—negative sales cultures can present themselves in a variety of ways. Nobody wants to perform in toxic sales environments; they are a breeding ground for inefficiency and negativity.

7 tips for improving sales productivity

The sheer number of obstacles to achieving an optimized sales output might feel overwhelming.

But, worry not! A few intentional changes can increase organizational sales productivity and boost sales.

Here are 7 sales productivity tips to help you start:

1. Define your ideal customer

For most companies, 80% of revenue comes from 20% of clients.

Finding out who these customers are and targeting prospects who are similar will help sales teams use their time and energy on the buyers who count.

First, build your ideal customer profile (ICP) and make it the foundation of your prospecting efforts.

You should use what you already know about your top customers:

  • Their industry/vertical
  • Geography
  • Employee headcount (company-wide and key departments)
  • Annual revenue/budget
  • Technologies used
  • Pain points
  • Business objections
  • And any other notable attributes

Interested in learning more about building ICPs? Check out this quick video.

2. Focus on qualified leads

High-quality leads are folks who have shown interest in the solutions you offer and/or align with your ideal customer profile.

Use data and sales intelligence tools to cut down on wasted time and find and obtain the leads who are most likely to purchase.

Sales intelligence tools allow you to:

  • Find and prioritize prospects actively looking to buy with intent data.
  • Uncover valuable buyer data like funding, revenue, technologies used, company size, and more.
  • Access verified email addresses and phone numbers at scale.
  • Personalize cold emails and cold calls with detailed information about the prospects.
  • And more.

3. Automate time-consuming tasks

It should come as no surprise: more automation = increased productivity.

McKinsey reports that adopters of sales automation report increased customer-facing time, higher customer satisfaction, 10-15% more efficiency, and a sales uplift potential of up to 10%.

Here are some ways your team can leverage automation and cut down on repetitive tasks:

Say no to manual CRM entry

It’s the 21st century—there’s no place for updating client information by hand. Keep your client data updated and enriched with CRM automation and enrichment tools that do the work for you.

Power your sales calls with AI

Get insights from sales software that records, transcribes, and makes suggestions for your outbound calls. Sales conversation intelligence can automatically pull out call insights to help sales managers and their reps see exactly what can be improved and maximize call conversions.

Automate sales prospecting

Databases that offer intent signals and advanced filtering help reps find best-fit prospects in bulk with half the effort. Paired with prospecting tools that automatically pull verified contact data from across the web (like the LinkedIn Chrome extension) finding qualified leads has never been easier.

4. Align with marketing for sales enablement

Studies have found that alignment between sales and marketing can increase quota attainment by 25%, win rate by 15%, and annual revenue growth by 32%.

Sales enablement is a great way to reach sales and marketing alignment. Sales enablement is when sales teams are given the resources they need to close deals (i.e. customer stories, E-books, product slide decks, demos).
As you build out your sales enablement system, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Emphasize communication. Sales teams should be specific about what they need, who they are targeting, and what their goals are when they ask marketing for high-quality, customer-centric content.
  • Organize sales content. Centralize all existing sales content in one location and ensure your reps can quickly and easily find selling resources. Content libraries like Google Docs, Google Drive, an internal wiki, or even your CRM are good places to start.
  • Ensure materials are being put into practice. Try hosting a training, creating a video tutorial, or tying adoption into sales goals to implement new resources into your rep’s day-to-day.

5. Track sales performance with the right metrics

Sales performance metrics are like mile signs on the highway. They indicate how far you’ve come and how much longer you have to go.
Here are a few metrics every sales team should be tracking:

  • Conversion rate
  • Engagement rate
  • # of accounts called/emailed
  • Open, reply, and interested rates
  • Time spent with customers
  • Win rate
  • Year-over-year growth
  • Lifetime value (LTV) of a customer

Sales leaders should focus on the metrics that align with their sales goals and use them to make data-based decisions.
Tracking sales performance is even easier with an end-to-end sales platform that tracks analytics in the same place your reps conduct sales tasks.
Jeff Kreinik, former CRO at Buzzcast, saw amazing results when he ditched his multiple data tools for Apollo analytics.

“Once we started using Apollo, I was able to track all kinds of KPIs such as the number of accounts targeted each week, or the number of contacts added to an outbound sequence,” says Jeff. “I tracked a total of ten different KPIs within Apollo, and by doing so, I was able to set specific expectations for individuals and the team as a whole.”

Read Jeff’s story here and learn how he used Apollo to 4x Buzzcast’s sales pipeline and take sales productivity to the moon.

6. Provide continuous sales training

Sales is constantly changing.
To keep reps performing their best, provide ongoing, comprehensive training on industry trends, new sales strategies and tools, performance debriefs, or simply boost morale.
An emphasis on sales betterment promotes a culture of self-improvement. As your salespeople improve their skills, they will be able to close higher-value deals, faster.

7. Celebrate wins

Finally, it’s important that sales teams stay inspired and motivated. Sales work is not easy and it comes with a lot of rejections and frustration. So celebrate your wins (even the small ones) and see that your team rewards sellers for their achievements.

A happy, motivated sales rep is a more productive sales rep.

Choose the sales tools that count

Top-performing sales teams use 3x the amount of sales technology as their competitors.

This means that boosting sales production starts by finding and implementing the right sales tools.

Sales productivity tools come in many different forms. They include customer relationship management platforms (CRMs), account-based marketing tools, marketing automation, customer service software, as well as sales intelligence and analytics databases. They are any software that helps sales professionals with their daily activities and cut down on wasted time.

If you choose the right tools and train your reps to use them effectively, you’ll have more productivity, higher-quality leads, and more deals won.

Find a sales productivity tool that works best for you with G2’s lists of top sales intelligence and sales engagement software. Or skip the search and sign up free with Apollo to drive a more productive sales team today.

Karli Stone headshot Karli Stone