A sales manager is responsible for meeting the organization’s sales targets. But to ensure this, he needs the support of his sales team, where each rep individually contributes to achieving those goals.
However, a sales manager may not always drive enough activity levels of their sales reps. The thing is, sometimes reps can too be unmotivated, disinterested or simply too tired to complete their tasks. For example, they may be required to pursue a lead proactively and engage more in prospecting calls—but they might not find enough motivation and hence a good reason to give to leads for conversion.
Mentioned below are 7 ways to help the sales reps extract the best out of them:
1. Make a personal sales calendar
Every sales rep must inculcate the habit of blocking his calendar, setting time aside for critical sales meetings and managing daily tasks more effectively. He or she must “chunk” similar sales activities to finish more tasks in a less period of time.
For instance, if they have dedicated one hour to follow up prospects on call, they should concentrate on doing just that and not start checking emails midway. Similarly, if they decide to give 30 minutes to finish responding to existing deals, they should focus on that. Completing a task before moving on to the next is the key to being productive.
The sales rep can colour code similar activities for easier recognition on the calendar. For example, sales activities can be distinctly coded in red to give subliminal message to the brain that these are important for driving revenue.
2. Take help of tools
Technology can play a huge role in helping the reps to increase more activities which, in turn, will enable more calls, more meetings, more emails and more voicemails. This will also reduce administrative activities such as call logging, email logging, meeting logging, etc.
There are many time management tools to assist the sales reps in prioritizing tasks based on their priority. Opting for smart tools based on requirement, can increase the productivity by manifolds. A few tools we swear by include:
- ConnectLeader – It aids the reps in improving their outbound calling productivity by streamlining the sales process.
- InsideSales.com, ConnectLeader and RingDNA: These tools take the effort out of “physically” dialing prospects. They have a speed dialer and predictive dialing capability to reduce time spent in physically dialing or deciding who to dial.
- Yesware and SalesLoft: Sales reps can schedule stage-based automated emails or even calls (in the case of SalesLoft) and hence, don’t need to manually send emails!
- Salesforce: Mobile CRMs such as Salesforce enable auto-logging of calls that can help reduce administrative work of manually logging calls. This frees up time for more active selling, making calls and sending emails.
A research by The Knowledge Guru reveals that games are not just meant for relaxation, they can help improve the performance of a professional while on the job. Games can assist them in a number of things such as gaining product and industry knowledge, making meaningful reports and practicing consultative selling.
Cisco, for instance, has made The Knowledge Guru games a part of their year-long sales associate training programme. During the programme, the reps are required to go through an average 3.5+ hours of gameplay to achieve their Cisco Sales certification.
4. Social Prospecting
There are times during sales prospecting when call levels go down. But when given proper directions about how to pursue social selling, the sales reps will be able to show great results in connecting with prospects.
Sales reps must include social media in their sales processes. It helps them gain more insights about prospects – such as demographics, preferences, social triggers, life events, trending topics, etc.
The process of mining information from social media (Facebook and Twitter)and other professional platforms (like LinkedIn) is an effective way of getting results.
Managers should create systems to recognize, track and reward social prospecting activities that lead to more sales.
5. Run spiffs
Offering varied kinds of incentives to sales reps can increase their motivation to achieve their goals – faster. For example, organizations can conduct a 2-week incentive based program in the beginning of every quarter to push reps to call, pursue and close as many leads as possible.
Run spiffs boosts the enthusiasm level in the sales team. It also helps them generate and work on new opportunities for the entire quarter.
6. Best practices training by peers on activity management
Since increasing sales productivity and achieving effective sales targets are crucial to the success of the business, the most effective way to ensure all this is by continuously training sales reps through peer-to-peer training programmes.
These sessions can be led by a few ‘good’ example setters in the team, who share their best practices and tips on managing their activity levels. The role model rep should also get involved in the coaching sessions of his peers.
Another way is by onboarding, which involves teaching the new sales reps the skills that will enable them to be productive, inspire confidence, pursue prospects and close deals.
7. Sales managers can can set a steady activity rate
A sales rep should do enough activities each week—a number that can be kept up with over a long period of time. Sales managers should set clear expectations regarding what is needed from reps in terms of call volumes, quality and quantification of emails, demos and meetings (i.e. sales activities).
They should amplify this message in regular master sales meetings or 1-1 coaching sessions in front of the reps and this expectation should be tied to reps’ KPIs and incentives.
Regardless of how effective a sales rep is or has been before, his success actually depends on the ability to take action. While making use of sales tools, social media and conducting incentive based programs and training sessions are important, all activities must be channelled towards motivating them to be more efficient at work.