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10 ways to improve the productivity of your sales team

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MicrosoftThe Sales Window is brought to you by the Microsoft Dynamics. Sharing insights for empowering Sales Leaders and their teams in this new world of sales. Learn more here.

The internet has made it easier to reach your customers with the mobile revolution putting you right in their pockets. But this doesn’t mean sales can’t improve. A new medium, especially one as multifaceted and ever-changing as the internet, means new tips and tricks to get the most out of your day.

Here are ten tips to improve the productivity of your sales team.

1) Gather as much data as you can

We live in an age of tracking and data. Just like you would use a fitness tracker to measure and push yourself physically, good benchmarks and data can push your sales team to that extra sale.

Gather as much information as you can on your sales — win/loss ratio, conversion rate, upselling. You can use this data to create forecasts and track the progress of your team, but it can also be used to narrow down targets as well as generate future leads and conversations.

2) Monitor social media and create an avenue for inbound sales

Modern buyers live in an information rich environment, their phones offering a world of reviews, comparisons, pricing and news. As a result, buyers are mostly on the front foot, searching for information and solutions themselves. This can be a remarkable opportunity if you are positioned correctly.

Maintain an active presence on social media, producing content and information useful for consumers. Use these platforms to become an authority in your area and a go-to source for information-hungry buyers. But more than inbound sales, a customer’s social media presence can signal their interests and intentions — useful information for proactive selling.

3) Track sales through the funnel

When salespeople are juggling recurring and potential customers, it can be easy to lose someone in the fray. They might forget to make a follow-up call or email, or fail to strike while the iron is hot. This is where tracking potential sales throughout the funnel can save the day.

Customer relationship managers can track engagement and the messaging employed, allowing the whole team to see how much time has elapsed and what pitches have been tried. Many CRMs feature reminders to follow up a call, or notify that it is time for a renewal.

4) Encourage breaks

Research shows people work best in small bursts, and a bit of fresh air, greenery and exercise does wonders for focus, mood and creativity. All essential ingredients in the sales process.

Encourage your team to take regular breaks and to enjoy the great outdoors. This can improve morale and better their work lives, which will rebound positively on the bottom line.

5) Allow remote presentations

The internet has reduced the need for commuting and face-to-face communication in so many areas that selling should be one of them. After your team has constructed slides, there are plenty of ways to present to prospective customers remotely.

They could be as simple as uploading a deck to a service such as Slideshare, which allows shared screencasting, presenting remotely with the aid of a phone or Skype call. Alternatively, decks can be constructed entirely in the cloud on a platform such as Prezi, or just emailed over and followed up with a phone call.

6) Streamline payment

A constant bugbear for salespeople is having to wait on payment and credit checks for sales to go through. It makes it harder to keep score or even to know you have actually had a win. And if the lead proves unable to pay, a whole load of time and energy is lost.

Consider integrating with credit agencies, such as Dun and Bradstreet. They can alert you early on that you are chasing a dead-end. The sales team will be more energised, knowing they are chasing something real. And once everything is signed, you know it will go ahead.

7) Implement macros and automation

Having your tasks, data and analytics online allows for some serious streamlining. You could create code to automatically update a spreadsheet every time there’s a new booking, or create a log every time you receive an email from a certain address, or automatically add bookings to calendars.

If you don’t know how to code it yourself, there are tonnes of services available to connect the most disparate of services. IFTTT allows you to connect everything from your phone, calendar through to your spreadsheets. And there are tonnes of pre-made automations just waiting for you to try them out.

8) Group messaging and collaboration

Group messaging has taken the world by storm in recent years with platforms such as Slack and Hipchat banishing lengthy email chains and phone calls that disappear into the ether. These platforms are real time and searchable, allowing your whole team to keep on top of things or catch up later if they aren’t around. You can also break projects or brainstorms into separate channels so you don’t hijack the main conversation. Otherwise, you can just use the channels for general chat and messing around, to build more culture and camaraderie within your team.

Hand-in-hand with messaging platforms are project managers and task managers, such as Omnifocus, Swipes or Wiplo. These services allow you to break down projects into bite-sized chunks, often in card form. You can set due dates and assign them across your team, clearly marking responsibility and allowing complete visualisation if something falls through the cracks.

9) Let everyone know what you’ve done at the end of the day

One of the best ways to keep track of what you have accomplished, and keep everyone up to date, is by taking stock at the end of the day. There are several free services to do this, such asiDoneThis so brilliant, which prompts each team member to list their accomplishments at the end of the day. This is combined, and a digest is emailed to everyone the next day, showing the team’s accomplishments and offering a space for reflection and comment. Progress is clearly visible, the team is on the same page, and everyone can start the day on the right foot.

10) Go mobile

Your customers are taking advantage of constant computing and so should you. Unshackle your team from their desks by making as much work process as mobile-friendly as you can. Rather than files exclusively living on on-site servers, put as much of it in the cloud as you can.

Instead of using desktop and data heavy software and applications, opt for something that is cross-platform. There are cloud or mobile versions of most major project, sales and communication services so make sure your team has them on call for when they are away for too long.

Now Read: How modernising your sales organization could dramatically improve sales performance


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