05 Nov Five Tips to Increase Sales Productivity
In the article “Freeing up the Sales Force for Selling“, McKinsey noted an example of a logistics company that discovered that its reps spent 35 percent of the day selling because they were “consumed by non-sales activities such as billing-system updates, firefighting, and internal communications.” These activities can be a big drain and stall any efforts to increase sales productivity.
Long complex sales cycles require months of work and can result in fatigue for the entire sales team. Doing an in-depth end to end analysis to fix these problems can take years – especially in large organizations – and tens of millions of dollars. With restructuring and management changes, having long term buy-in from multi-year sales productivity projects can be difficult to secure.
Yet the costs in terms of stalled sales, competitive inroads, low customer satisfaction and high sales attrition rates can be massive. To help solve the problem short-term and increase sales productivity, while addressing process flaws long term requires project management discipline applied to sales pursuits.
Applying Project Discipline to Complex Sales
Freeing up highly paid and valuable sales team members so they can focus on what they do best is smart business. By offloading daily activities that drag down their productivity to experienced virtual project resources, you can spread your most valuable account managers across more customers. This means that account teams can focus on pushing a sale towards completion instead of being bogged down in endless detail. And it also means that deals closer faster and, better yet, your customers experience a more cohesive process.
Applying a project manager to a sale doesn’t need to be expensive. Our experience on more than 100 sales pursuits shows that it takes 2-3 weeks for the project manager to take over the process, then 5-10 hours a week per sales pursuit to completely free up an account manager’s time and increase sales productivity. After the sales closes, the project manager typically stays on board to fulfill the deal.
Sales people aren’t hired for their logistics skills. Yet they are expected to put together the fine details of a deal, the ones that set your relationship with a client up for success. Free up their time to focus on their customers and closing deals and offload the rest to a part time project resource.
Sales Beacon has had the privilege of managing team initiatives for some of the world’s largest virtual and remote sales forces. Contact Sales Beacon to find out more about how to improve sales productivity.