You’d think that a majority of sales reps spend their day concentrated on selling—and sales leaders focus on motivating their team to hit quota, engage with more prospects, and better manage their pipeline—but this isn’t often the case.
In fact, up to 65 of a salesperson’s time is spent on non-selling activities. Between juggling sales tools and clicking around in an overly complex CRM system, today’s sales professionals are wasting hours of time simply trying to figure out the best way to get their work done.
Most sales teams and sales leaders know that there is a better way to do their work, but are so caught up with achieving quarterly goals and navigating daily challenges that they feel trapped in current systems and simply make do until a better solution comes along.
Learn from the following CRM best practices and take the lead on your daily work so that you can:
- Improve sales processes and efficiency
- Save hours of time each day and reduce time spent “clicking around” in your CRM
- Spend more time on your customer needs and selling
- Re-evaluate your sales technology stack and maximize your sales tool investments
Optimize Your Standard Sales Process
Every team has at least one. The one all star performer that exceeds expectations and crushes quarterly sales goals.
But what makes these individuals stand out? Is it their time management, communication style, or some x factor? And how can you better encourage the rest of the team to keep up?
Any sales leader is accustomed to walking the sales floor and listening to their reps—but many pay closer attention to the reps missing the mark—to identify what bad habits they need to break. While it’s important to coach and mentor underperforming reps, leaders should also look at their team holistically—and monitor their time management, sales process, and overall camaraderie when working deals.
Ask your sales reps to write down the 5 most important tasks that they must manage when selling and to share 2-3 challenges that either slow them down or prevent them from working effectively.
What you’ll often find is that your reps spend too much time clicking through several tabs, navigating between a half dozen tools, repeating data entry into poorly synced systems, or are using disparate systems that aren’t even connected to your CRM.
Once you’ve identified where the trouble areas are—work closely with your reps to create one standard flow that everyone uses. And keep it simple.
Only after your entire team is comfortable with your sales process, should you consider adding new elements such as sales tools, additional CRM fields, etc.
Consider changing any process that take too long or don’t meet the team’s immediate needs to close an opportunity. As a best practice, reassess your team’s core sales processes quarterly to stay on top of the evolving needs of your sales team and to better ensure that your team maximizes productivity.
Focus Your Prospect List
Every sales professional is familiar with updating an account plan, managing their pipeline, processing a new list of customer leads, or researching the information they need for an upcoming customer call. These are cornerstone processes that are often repeated everyday—regardless of the size of your team or prospect list.
The longer it takes to—or the more difficult these processes are to complete—the slower your sales team operates.
One way to identify what processes are most important is to only concentrate on a targeted list of accounts—or your most ideal customer prospects. This minimizes the monumental effort of working your entire database and narrows the focus of your team.
To build this list, start by thinking about your best customers. What challenges do they have in common? What business characteristics (company size, target market, industry, etc) do they share? What problem are they trying to solve that your product or service addresses?
Since your sales team has a finite amount of time to engage with these potential customers, the more specific your target list is, the more focused your sales efforts will be—and the more organized you can make your CRM to accommodate.
Keep in mind, your list should not only be composed of prospects that are most likely to convert—it should include prospects that will help your team better understand your ideal customer and include both “low-hanging fruit” and “whale” prospects.
As you begin to understand how to better manage and close these accounts, take note of the processes that are most important when converting prospects into opportunities and customers. These notes will help you determine what areas your team is most weak, where you need support, and help you build a case for process updates, new reps, or helpful sales tools.
Evaluate Your Sales Tools
Sales enablement and sales tech is a hot market to be in right now, which may be why organizations currently have an average of 5 tools in their sales stack.
But with more and more companies investing in sales tools, (and a majority expecting to increase that spending over the next two years) The Sales Management Association reports that less than 25 say their tools work well together—and only 18 are satisfied with their sales tool integration.
Yet, according to CSO Insights—60 of sales leaders find that a lack of proper tools lengthens their sales cycles.
In short, today’s sales teams have access to more sales tools than ever before—but they aren’t necessarily the right tools for making their lives easier or increasing their ability to quickly focus on closing more deals.
Something’s gotta give here.
To combat this challenging trend—it’s time to re-evaluate your current sales tools to determine if they are making a positive impact on your team.
One way to find the tools that you need to prioritize is to see how your team is currently managing common tasks i.e CRM, prospecting, email, phone, social selling, contract management, etc—and what areas need the most help. You may have identified these challenges while optimizing your sales process.
If tools are too challenging to use, your team hasn’t fully adopted them, or they simply aren’t fulfilling a need, it’s time to take another look at your service contract and move on. If you poll your sales team, you’ll likely find out that they would trade their complex sales tools for a more familiar or flexible tool that makes their daily work more enjoyable—and helps them focus on closing more deals.
Do you have any advice for sales teams trying to increasing their productivity and get their daily work done faster? Have you found the best methods to narrow your prospect list? What do you think are the most important factors when evaluating sale technology? Put your answers and any comments you have in the section below.