4 Sales Tech Strategies to Improve Sales Rep Productivity
Most salespeople spend only a third of their time selling. While the exact number ranges between 27% and 36%, depending on the survey, the message is clear: Sales reps spend the bulk of their day on activities that don’t directly generate revenue for your company.
Two-thirds of your sellers’ time is spent doing manual tasks, including record keeping, data entry, lead management, searching for sales collateral and content, and tool management.
How do you change that? How do you help your sellers get out into the field and sell more?
Jim Lundy, founder and CEO of Aragon Research, and Deniz Olcay, senior director of product marketing at Allego, delved into the topic during a recent webinar, Sell Smarter: How Intelligent Sales Automation Gives Teams a Competitive Edge.
Lundy and Olcay identified four strategies companies can employ to help their sales reps increase their selling time and improve productivity.
4 Strategies to Increase Sales Rep Productivity
1. Consolidate Sales Tools
Sales tools can help facilitate sellers’ tasks, but give them too many tools to use, and they’ll be overwhelmed. In fact, 66% of sales reps say they’re drowning in tools, according to SalesForce’s State of Sales Report.
Allego research found sales teams have 5-13 tools in their technology stack. Many of them play a role in the sales process, but they can be expensive and complex, overwhelm and overload reps, and take reps away from connecting with prospects and customers.
“We want technology to be an enabler to make things more streamlined, but we’re seeing some trends to the contrary. We’re seeing tool proliferation, which can create confusion and eat up more of sellers’ time,” Olcay said.
To address the overload, and free up sellers’ precious time, Olcay and Lundy said sales organizations must consolidate their tech stack. Sales leaders agree, as 94% plan to do so within the next 12 months, Salesforce’s research found.
2. Use an Integrated Sales Enablement Platform
Tool consolidation isn’t as simple as getting rid of technology, however. Sales organizations must optimize critical tools and get rid of unessential or redundant software. The best option, Lundy and Olcay said, is to have a comprehensive sales enablement tech stack that includes the essential sales tools: CRM, sales learning and training, sales coaching, sales content management, conversation intelligence, and communications.
Not only does sales tool consolidation help free up your sellers’ time, but it can also save you money. If you look at the cost of running multiple tools—not just the price of the software itself, but everything that goes into running and using a tool, the expense is significant.
“We advise our clients to look at the total cost of ownership,” Olcay said. “The sticker price for a piece of technology is one thing, but there’s a bunch of hidden costs under the surface.”
You need someone to manage and administer the tool. You have to teach people how to use it. You must integrate it and connect it to your other tools.
“Let’s face it. Most of us heading into 2023 are in cost-cutting mode. And we’re a little bit more cautious with all the recession talk, especially in the tech sector,” Olcay said. “We have to be smarter about how we build our tech stack. And that means asking how we can work with vendors that have a holistic view on sales enablement versus individual features.”
Lundy agreed, saying running multiple stand-alone sales tools is not efficient or cost-effective. “It’s time to get rid of the stand-alone technologies and go with the integrated stack,” he said.
“It’s time to get rid of the stand-alone technologies and go with the integrated stack.”
– Jim Lundy, founder and CEO, Aragon Research
3. Deliver Just-in-Time Sales Learning and Training
The skill level of your sales reps also plays a key role in increasing their productivity. The more they know about your products and services, buyers, and industry the more adept they will be. Their sales conversations will become easier and more natural, and they won’t have to ask for as much help from their managers.
At the same time, though, you don’t want learning to impede upon their selling time. You want to eliminate sellers’ excuse that they don’t have time for training. That means figuring out how to inject learning into their day so you don’t interrupt their selling, Olcay said.
You also want the learning to be interesting, engaging, agile, and memorable. Examples include:
- Share information via asynchronous video that sellers can watch on their own time
- Include poll questions and quizzes during the training
- Harness best practices with a library of short best-practice videos recorded by your top performers
- Personalize training to match sellers’ strengths and weaknesses
- Coach to sellers’ specific needs using role plays, personalized content, and mentoring
- Reinforce learning with activities that sellers can do during their day
- Create a centralized, easy-to-use sales content library that sellers can rely on in their moment of need
“Bring in your top performers as members or extended members of your enablement team,” Olcay said. “If you do, your middle and bottom performers can emulate their behavior, learn from them, and interact with them. That’s really what engages sellers and drives adoption.”
4. Boost Efficiency with AI-Powered Automation
Automation plays a vital role in today’s modern learning. It can enhance learning programs, help sellers practice their skills, improve certification processes, and help sellers retain what they learn.
Importantly, it helps sales teams do more, be more efficient, and improve productivity.
“Time is the most precious commodity. And people just don’t have time to read that 50-page report, to listen to and analyze every sales call, or to coach,” Lundy said. “Automation and technology should solve for and help with that.”
Specific ways AI-powered automation tools can help sales teams:
- Practice sales conversations via simulations: Write a script and import it into a simulator. Sales reps can then interact with an AI-powered virtual coach, practice their responses, and record the conversations. They can analyze the conversations and self-correct problem areas. Or a sales coach can watch the video and provide personalized advice.
- Reinforce learning: Deliver reinforcement activities via a mobile device that sales reps can do in between meetings. AI determines questions to ask reps based on how they answer previous questions, so the reinforcement is personalized.
- Coach and give feedback: Using conversation intelligence, sales coaches can listen to and analyze multiple sales calls. They can hear if sales reps are staying on message, identify who needs more training, and coach to the seller’s specific needs.
- Capture best practices and retain institutional knowledge: Conversation intelligence can also scan recorded sales calls for phrases, key terms, sales rep names, etc. The tool then uses AI to curate the segments it identifies, giving you a highlight reel of your team. You can then snip segments and share them with your sellers.
- Automatically suggest content for sellers to share with prospects: AI can auto tag and recommend sales content much like YouTube intelligently identifies and recommends videos for its users. This allows you to provide personalized content at the rep’s moment of need. For example, the technology can identify when a sales rep is working on a deal, the industry, and the stage of the sale cycle and then offer relevant content to help the rep with the deal.
Help Your Sellers Sell
Sellers want to sell, but they spend two-thirds of their day distracted by doing manual tasks, data entry, searching for sales content and collateral, and wrangling with too many sales tools. As a result, some don’t hit quota, generate less revenue, and hurt the company’s profitability.
A consolidated sales tech stack, integrated sales enablement platform, personalized training, and AI-powered automation can improve that. You’ll give your reps more time in the field while also reducing costs, enabling you to absorb any economic shocks you may encounter.
Watch Sell Smarter: How Intelligent Sales Automation Gives Teams a Competitive Edge and learn how intelligent sales automation gives sales teams smarter applications that improve sales rep productivity.