This post originally appeared on the Ambition sales blog.
The early bird gets the worm. He who hesitates is lost. Time is money.
From the time we’re knee-high to a grasshopper, sayings like these are drilled into our minds in attempt to teach us the value of time and efficiency. Ask any seasoned sales professional and he or she will tell you that these sayings couldn’t ring more true than when it comes to closing deals and hitting quota.
Managers are constantly attempting to light a fire under their reps to move faster, work harder and be more productive. However, rather than simply demanding their teams dial faster and juggle more leads, the most successful sales managers are strategically coaching their way to a more productive team. Here’s how you can do it too.
It’s easy to assume that telling a rep to send more emails will result in more conversions. However, you know what they say happens when you assume… Maybe email just isn’t the right channel to reach your desired target. Or perhaps that particular rep needs some additional guidance on how to create a solid email template. In either of those scenarios, just sending more emails won’t get the results that both of you want.
The most effective way to drive productivity within your sales team is to measure the outcomes of their activities. This enables you to prioritize those with the most impact and provide reps with instructions as to the exact behaviors they can change to make a difference. According to a recent study by Nijmeh & Cernel, sales managers who use data-driven coaching techniques like this have seen their salespeople’s quota attainment and top-line revenue increase by as much as 7% and 20%, respectively.
For example, consider the below Email Outcomes Report, which shows the total number of emails sent per rep/team, as well as whether these emails were opened, clicked, replied to, etc. Taking this information and comparing it with quota attainment can reveal insights like whether reps that send more emails achieve a higher quota than those who send fewer, or whether certain reps are unsuccessful despite their efforts and need more direction. It can even help you identify the ideal number of emails required to hit quota, so you can guide reps toward hitting this exact number, rather than simply telling them that you need “more.”
Hovering over your team and pressuring them to push toward their quota may work for a short period, but it actually wastes valuable time and breeds resentment in the long-term. Instead, managers should focus on creating a culture of rep accountability wherein reps effectively manage and measure their own productivity and performance. Here are three specific strategies to make this happen:
Firm up Your Sales Process: While there are many routes that can lead to the same destination, some are more efficient than others; the same goes for sales. As a manager, it’s your job to provide your reps with the directions they need to get to their destination in the fastest and most effective way possible. These directions are your sales process, which provides reps with a clear series of steps they need to take to move a lead all the way through the sales pipeline to close.
Choose a Set of Metrics: Obviously, the #1 metric on every sales person’s mind is revenue. But as sales guru Jason Jordan put it in a recent interview, “The problem with that data is, as important as it is, we can’t manage it.” Instead, managers should choose a standardized set of metrics that measure the sales activities that lead to revenue, as well as how leads are converting at each and every stage of the sales pipeline. These are metrics that reps can actively monitor and take action against on a regular basis.
Make Reporting Accessible: Today’s sales platforms have the power to do the number crunching and provide up-to-the-minute reports. With robust permission controls to boot, there is no reason why modern sales managers shouldn’t be sharing these reports with their reps and encouraging them to check them out multiple times a day. Choosing a sales platform that makes these reports available across mobile devices takes this to a whole other level, giving your reps 24/7 access to real-time performance data.
Generate Healthy Competition
Obviously, salespeople are competitive by nature and driven by the desire to excel. Engaging this natural inclination can have a significant impact on productivity. When it comes to reporting, giving reps the ability to see where they stand compared to other members of their team creates a healthy layer of competition. As Base’s own sales manager Kathleen Osgood tells it, “The feedback from our salespeople on having visibility has been overwhelmingly positive. I frequently overhear reps making comments like, “‘I’ll catch Pat in one more call.’”
Another way to do this is to engage your sales team via real-time recognition for valuable activities like converting leads or hitting call quotas. In fact, in a recent study by Harvard Business Review, it was found that Ambition’s sales management software led to an 18% spike in outbound calls and increased the number of qualified referrals by more than 200%.
Make Your Team Pros at Productivity
As famous businessman Peter Drucker so perfectly put it, “The productivity of work is not the responsibility of the worker but of the manager.” Coaching your team to productivity is possible and highly impactful, especially when you leverage these three tactics. For more insight into how to get the most out of your sales team, download the free white paper, 5 Reasons Why Your Reps Don’t Want to Use CRM (But Should!).