Time-saving skills are crucial for any sales professional. With the number of daily tasks needed to build a sales pipeline, you must carefully prioritize your schedule around those that move the needle.
Focus on the right actions, and you’ll hit quota before you know it. However, bog your team down in administrative tasks and they’ll struggle to find the time to follow up on leads, nurture new opportunities and generate revenue.
Fostering a high-performing sales culture means empowering your reps to focus on the things that matter most. This article will share five time-saving and management principles that you can adopt today.
1. Invest in world-class sales content and enablement
Writing emails and finding the right content to share with leads can take large chunks of time out of your team’s day. Streamline this process by building a library of templates, blog posts and other sales enablement content that they can access quickly.
For example, drafting and sending the same email again and again can be frustrating for reps. Simplify and standardize the process by investing in email templates they can personalize and send at scale.
First, take stock of common email types sent by reps across your organization. Some examples include:
Booking a consultation with leads tailored to their sign-up form responses
Cold email pitches sent to specific buyer segments
Follow up sequences and nurture emails to reignite sales opportunities
A good marketing and sales CRM solution should allow you to select relevant email templates with the click of a button. Here’s how we do it with Pipedrive:
With email templates taken care of, start working with your marketing and product teams to identify common questions, challenges and pain-points. Work together to create blog posts, case studies and video tutorials, arming your reps with content they can use to add value to their contacts.
For example, at Pipedrive, we use case studies to teach prospects how our customers solve specific industry challenges. This allows our sales team to demonstrate credibility and social proof from a company just like the prospect’s.
Here, we show other cloud-based organizations how Redlist used our platform to increase annual recurring revenue (ARR) by nearly 200%:
The final step is collecting and organizing sales enablement content while making it easy to access. Build out a library of assets in Google Drive or your CRM. This will help each rep establish a consistent approach to their communications while saving hours searching for content their prospects may find useful.
Other sales enablement content formats include:
Customizable cold email templates
FAQs (categorized by common pain points)
Proposals and product overviews
Meeting preparation checklists
Videos to illustrate how your product solves a problem
Customer case studies
2. Focus on your sales goals (and prioritize the right activity around them)
Looking for a way to identify and prioritize the right sales activities? Start with the tasks that make the biggest impact on revenue. These are actions that directly contribute to closed deals.
Start by segmenting your best-fit customers. Use CRM data to identify deals that closed at a faster rate than the average sales cycle. What attributes do they have in common? Find patterns across industry type, company size, job title, as well as annual revenue and funding figures.
Identify the tasks and activities that secured those deals. These activities may include:
The number of follow-up emails sent
Which sales enablement assets get shared the most
Who was involved in the sales process (including internal stakeholders who weren’t present during your sales conversations)
Rather than obsessing over outcomes, use activity-based selling to help your salespeople focus on the process. After all, they have far more control over the actions they take than the results they get.
By reverse-engineering your best sales deals, you can determine your most effective activities at each stage of the sales pipeline. Analyze what worked in the past and build these activities into a repeatable sales process. Determine what these actions are based on your KPIs.
Unreasonable sales goals and expectations will lead to burnout and erode team morale. Encourage your salespeople to prioritize the right actions and measure them against what they have influence over.
Finally, consider setting activity-based incentives. Emailing 20 prospects a day feels achievable, while earning $1,000 a day may seem daunting. Measure and reward reps based on targets that they have complete control over.
3. Create specialized roles to leverage superior skill sets
Salespeople with a reliable “jack-of-all-trades” skill set are hard to come by. It’s likely that your highest performers already excel at a specific set of skills.
Lean into this reality by developing specific teams across your sales organization. Allow specialists to work on what they do best and drive the results they’ve been hired to achieve.
This shift across your sales culture will turbocharge productivity and foster a happier culture. As a result, everyone contributes to a faster, effective and more delightful sales cycle.
Every “seat” must be designed for a specific sales craft. For example, if it’s imperative you generate your own leads then you’ll need to hire SDRs to go out and get them.
As a sales manager, it’s your job to identify what these strengths are. Holding regular performance reviews and uncovering what each member of your team loves most about their role are two of the best ways to do this.
The added responsibility of ownership will empower them to succeed and allow them to fine tune their skills, experiment on new approaches and automate manual tasks that get in their way.
To simplify the process, sort roles into the following categories:
Hunters. These include business development executives and SDRs. Their responsibility is lead generation and acquisition.
Closers. Sales reps and account executives who are in charge of educating and closing deals.
Farmers. These individuals are responsible for fostering stronger relationships with existing customers and expanding accounts.
4. Seek the support of subject matter experts
To generate results, your salespeople must focus on selling. Let them do what they do best by assigning technical or consultative support to other people of the organization.
For example, let’s say you’re tasked with generating new business for a design agency. As a sales rep, manager or business development executive, there’s only so much knowledge you can bring to each sales call.
Collaborate with your design experts to ensure you’re offering a proposal that accurately reflects realistic deliverables and timelines. Even better, make “solution development” (i.e. a collaborative approach to proposals) an integral sales pipeline stage. Work together with account managers and agency talent to create a proposal that aligns with the needs of every prospect.
This same philosophy goes for technical support. Let’s say a prospect has asked a specific question about one of your product features. Reaching out to customer success and product teams will help you get the information you need to serve your leads.
When collecting this information from across your organization, go back to the sales enablement principles we covered earlier. Create a system that monitors frequently asked questions (FAQs). Empower reps to store the information they’ve collected in one place. Review these FAQs on a monthly basis and evaluate if new, in-depth pieces of content are needed.
Other tasks that can be outsourced to other departments include:
Market research and analysis
Customer and partner relationship management (farmers)
Pricing expertise (revenue leaders)
Product roadmap requests
5. Eliminate multitasking to maintain focus
Driving a car requires a different mindset to studying for a test. Similarly, different sales activities require us to “flex” different muscles. This is why multitasking is such an ineffective way to get things done.
For example, conducting a product demo requires reps to listen, ask questions and guide prospects through a story. They must be able to communicate how your solution will help prospects solve their problems. Conversely, writing emails and managing sales pipeline requires distraction-free “deep work”.
To help your reps perform their best, encourage them to batch tasks together. For example, if you allow leads to schedule appointments with a tool like Calendly, or Scheduler, suggest that your reps dedicate time throughout the day to batch these appointments together.
You can use this same principle to group similar tasks together. For example, if you find that the best time to cold call is between 8 AM and 10 AM, block this time out in your calendar and do nothing but cold call. Then, the hours between 10 AM to 12 PM can be used for scheduling follow-up emails, sending proposals or assigning tasks to other members of the sales team.
This process starts by taking stock of which activities make the biggest impact to revenue targets while learning how your reps prefer to work. One person may find they’re more charismatic in the morning. If so, then this is when they should be cold calling, giving product demos and conducting other relationship-selling tasks.
However, another rep might feel more sociable and prefer to take calls and demos during afternoon hours. Adopting a culture that advocates against multitasking means taking a personalized approach. Find out how each member of your team prefers to work and help them establish an efficient schedule.
While time management is often seen as a soft skill, there are many ways you can set up a culture that prioritizes efficiency. Investing in the right sales tech stack, sales enablement systems, templates and training will allow you to identify inefficiencies that can be tweaked or removed entirely.
Listen to your reps. Ask them how they prefer to work and identify what their strengths are. Put them in the right “seat” in the organization and foster a culture that measures success against what your people do over the results they get.
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