You’ve got 215 sales days, or 1,720 sales hours, per year. How do you translate those fixed numbers into succulent sales success? Improve sales productivity: the amount of sales-enabling juice your reps extract from each interaction in your sales process – from a simple touch point to that full-blown presentation.
Where Has The Selling Time Gone?
According to the CSO Insights 2013 Sales Performance Optimization survey, sales reps spend only 37% of their available time selling – with selling defined as face-to-face or on-the-phone (i.e., “1:1”) conversations with prospects.
It’s clear that more selling time translates to greater revenues per rep, so why aren’t reps spending more time selling?
The amount of 1:1 selling time has declined from 47% in 1998 to 37% in 2013. (CSO Insights)
While sales and marketing technology has improved with abandon, sales productivity has taken a hit. How did this happen? How is it that over 15 years ago – when all we had were phones, early-stage email, plain-text websites and a slew of docs and brochures – sales reps were more productive than they are today?
We’ve gotten too hyperactive for our own good. We’ve overloaded the sales team with an onslaught of tools, apps, devices, reporting systems and performance analytics. We’ve taken time away from sales enablement and customer engagement, and funneled it into over-engineered processes and red-tape tactics that simply don’t sell:
- Up to 28 hours of a sales rep’s time is spent searching for and recreating documents. (International Data Corporation)
- 80% of the average salesperson’s day is spent on non-revenue-generating activities – stemming from 1) not knowing where to find good prospects and 2) not recognizing them when they’re found. (TeleSmart.com)
- Sales reps only spend 37% of their available time selling, while 20.9% of their time is allotted to lead generation and account research, 16.9% to order processing and account management, 13.8% to meetings and administrative tasks and 11.4% to “other” activities like training and travel. (CSO Insights 2013)
SYNDROME: Sales Mania
Many hindrances to sales productivity derive from some pretty unassuming risk factors, most of which are rampant because they come with being human:
- Change seems scary.
Many sales reps and teams have been working with the same platforms, processes, practices and policies for a long time. Learning new things takes time and effort, and wanting to learn new things takes motivation.
- Technology becomes overwhelming.
With all the sales enablement tools, marketing technology and automation software out there, it’s intimidating just to think about the process integration and team teaching that lie ahead – not to mention knowing which platforms and apps are right for you.
- Personalization faces “either-or.”
Sales reps are forced into a sales fork:
- EITHER spend more time hyper-personalizing and precision-targeting content (i.e., creating differentiated sales presentations with killer engagement potential and experience stimulation) and sacrifice time spent selling.
- OR get more time in for 1:1 sales opportunities and sacrifice those winning B2B buyer experiences for one-dimensional presentations with static slides and generic stats.
- The process turns patchy and starts taking precedence.
It’s tempting to try out and implement all those innovative tools and incredible technology with your sales process, but that’s a sure-fire recipe for distress. When you attempt to patch up a process with so many new and moving parts, you over-complicate your system and confuse your people. This puts a jam in efficiency and sales productivity – despite your intentions to do the opposite. And when the process takes precedence over the people, you’re really in trouble: Time spent integrating tools and technology starts to trum time spent enticing leads and prospects, as well as delighting customers and clients.
- Opportunities head for the hills.
New tools and complex processes often make it more difficult and time-consuming to move leads and prospects through the pipeline – at least in the beginning. When that sales pipeline eventually gets clogged, some of your most valuable opportunities are going to send up the white flag and retreat for a more responsive sales team – one that “has their stuff together.”
TREATMENT: Sales Enablement (Extended Release)
Don’t run full force and flailing into sales process reinvention. This ramshackle restructuring is a prescription for unproductive pandemonium. Instead, take a deep breath and a few steps back to strategize your sales enablement. But don’t think you have to do it alone. There’s an emerging class of tools to help you out.
The Sales Enablement Platform streamlines your efforts for a more effective and efficient sales process – without closing the door on differentiating, experience-clinching personalization:
- Make change approachable.
Choose the right platform, tools and technology to make your reps’ jobs simpler and streamlined without the need for extensive training. Effective sales process realignment enhances that which your reps are already familiar and comfortable with.
- Turn down technology overload.
A comprehensive platform integrates many capabilities of the so-called “point solutions.” What’s the point of implementing a bunch of redundant or moderately helpful tools if one or two comprehensive game changers do the job?
- Put productivity and personalization on autopilot.
You need that one-stop, all-inclusive platform. This arsenal of technology covers the full gamut of personalization and productivity with coaching tips, subject matter expertise, collaboration, content organization/recommendations, buyer insight, presentation customization and engagement analytics
- Keep the pipeline in mind, always.
The Sales Enablement Platform helps your sales team differentiate prime prospects, dormant leads and unqualified candidates. With that information, they’re able to execute the best-fit, prioritized strategies: immediately assisting primed prospects, nurturing dormant leads and releasing unqualified candidates back into the wild.
- Put the person first.
With a proper sales enablement foundation in place, your team is able to hack away at that 63% of non-selling time. Sales reps are able to plan their strategy, prepare their tactics and engage with buyers more effectively and efficiently than ever. Easy access to all the resources they need – from presentations, document templates and playbooks to experts and coaching guidance – enables reps to move seamlessly through the sales process.
The increased sales productivity you extract from the right sales enablement platform is what sets the stage for game-changing differentiation, exceptional buyer experiences and sales success.