If you’re responsible for driving more revenue for your business, your job gets more and more complicated as you grow.
As your business expands, so does your focus.
You need to do whatever you can to streamline your processes and minimize your admin so you can eliminate as many distractions as possible.
You will be pulled at from all sides, but you need to maintain the delicate balance between keeping your focus on long-term scalable growth and keeping the troops content, motivated, and well-trained.
And let’s not forget that all the while deals are expected to be closed.
That’s a lot of juggling.
I can’t solve this problem for you. But I can share a collection of five simple, practical tactics with you to make that job of driving fast growth so much easier.
5 Simple Time-Saving Tactics for Busy Sales Managers
These five tactics are all designed to simplify selling for your team, helping them focus on the things that matter.
Too much data can be overwhelming and often leads to paralysis, time-wasting, and confusion.
But the right tools and tech combined with strategic sales processes can rapidly increase efficiency. By banishing admin time, you can focus on your business growth strategy and your sales team can focus on finding and closing more of the right deals.
And it all starts with something as simple as curating a gallery of templates and sales content.
Time-Saver #1 Offer Your Team Time-Saving Sales Resources
Nobody working on sales should be sending out one-off emails over and over again.
This is an avoidable waste of time, which can be salvaged by implementing a repeatable process for your email communications.
The easiest and most immediate solution?
Use email templates!
The best sales-specific CRM tools should offer users the ability to select a relevant pre-loaded email template with the click of a button. Here’s how Pipedrive helps you eradicate this email double-handling:
But you can go one step further…
Give your sales troops the helpful content they need to help answer common problems and questions from your potential customers.
You might be fortunate enough to have a marketing department that provides informed, well-written, and useful sales enablement content. Unfortunately, these kinds of resources are usually reserved for larger corporations.
If you’re a more compact sales team without marketing resources, you can still save a bunch of time with carefully crafted content.
The truth is that the content doesn’t have to have Oscar-worthy production value, nor does it need to read like Hemingway wrote it. Something as simple as a shared spreadsheet full of answers matched to FAQs or a collection of email templates can drastically reduce the typing and retyping of information.
Teams often use a few different content assets every day with no idea what their fellow team members are using. A few enablement hours could save them days of collectively wasted time each sales cycle (and develop a more consistent approach for your brand).
Compile this ‘sales enablement content’ into a searchable shared library for your team. Here’s what you could include:
Your miniature sales enablement content checklist:
- Reusable and customizable cold email templates
- Answers to FAQs (categorized by common pain points for extra helpfulness)
- Meeting propositions and customizable proposals
- Post-pitch, “why us” or “why not” survey
- Prospecting questionnaire (not as prescriptive as a ‘script’, but more of a guide in a BANT style)
- Meeting preparation and goals checklist
- Videos or gifs to illustrate how your product solves a problem
- Written solutions to common problems (2 sentences with hyperlinks to relevant blog articles or detailed guides)
- What makes you different from the competition (USPs)
- Industry case studies (2 sentences with hyperlinks to detailed assets)
Time-Saver #2 Make Extra Time during more productive hours
One way to get ahead of the competition could be to start your team’s most productive days earlier.
Doesn’t sound like a popular decision. But think of it this way - you won’t be adding more hours to the week, just re-allocating hours to a more efficient time.
According to Dan Ariely, a Duke University professor of psychology and behavioral economics, the most productive hours of the day are the first two after waking up. Naturally, these hours depend on the sales rep’s individual routine, but starting days earlier make it more likely for your team to come in at their peak productivity hours.
Instead of cringing away from this suggestion, you can use it as a morale booster by introducing a flexible work schedule. Allowing your team to choose their starting times (working around meetings of course) can translate into higher levels of motivation and energy at the office.
Encourage your team to make the most of their day and peak early. Unless your target audience responds better at later times, your salespeople can get out of the office earlier and make more of the sunshine hours after work. The West Coast of the US takes this advice according to Pipedrive's 2017 Review into sales productivity around the world.
Plus if you’re using a CRM tool like Pipedrive, you will be able to track when your reps are most productive, and leverage that intelligence to make the most out of those high productivity blocks of time.
Time-Saver #3 Reverse Engineer Your Sales Goals
You can work back from previous sales to understand the standard actions required to close. From this information, you can recreate a template process with the average time between stages, and find patterns of activities to repeat that have consistently worked in the past.
You can use this 'activity-based-selling' methodology to focus your sales team on the ideal process, rather than pressuring them with a constant push for outcomes. Your sales team can't control results. They can control the activities they complete.
You can determine the best possible activities to take at any given time in the sales cycle. Analyze what has worked in the past and built these activities into a repeatable sales process. A sales CRM like Pipedrive will even prioritize these activities for your salespeople so they know exactly what they have to do and when to do it based on your established sales process.
Between KPIs and daily, monthly and annual sales goals, a series of logical and practical steps to closing can guide your teams’ time and energy towards the right actions. Goals are required to measure success, but you need to encourage your sales team to take the right actions to get those desired results. If your approach is too tough with impossible goals and unrealistic expectations - you risk driving higher levels of workplace panic, pressure, and stress.
And the big b-word: burnout.
Your set goals and expectations must be realistic and achievable. Unstretchable ‘stretch’ goals can obliterate morale and motivation amongst your team, and a lack of motivation has the potential to kill a sales team’s performance.
So, what’s the best way to help manage and schedule time to put sales goals within reach?
The answer to this complex question is surprisingly simple: set activity-based incentives.
Understand the specific individual tasks it takes to achieve a sale, and shift the focus of goals to those activities instead of results. Fast-growing sales teams see consistent results by focusing on the things you can control: activities and actions.
Speaking to 20 prospects a day feels achievable, while earning $1000 a day seems more daunting. Small achievable goals help reps nail the big-picture goals because they are not constantly looking at a big scary number. Instead, they can focus on the achievable targets right in front of them.
#4 Create Specialized Roles to Leverage Superior Skill-Sets
Develop clear and relevant skill divisions for your team, allowing specialists to perfect their individual area of expertise. You want your strongest people taking advantage of their dominant skill sets to make the most of their time and efforts.
This can turbo-charge productivity by offering clear delineation of roles, which helps the team better address the buyer's journey based on their unique skill set. In order to do this successfully, find out what each individual excels in and play to their strengths.
Plus the added responsibility of owning their own patch of the process will spur them on to greater success (and allow them to fine tune their specific skill and drop other time-sucking aspects of their day-to-day).
An example of a sales specialization breakdown:
- Hunters (acquisition)
- Closers (nurturing leads)
- Farmers (existing customers)
#5 Seek the Support of Non-Selling Teams
Your sales team’s purpose is very simple: sell.
Therefore, why would you have them doing anything else? Let them do what they do best, and assign the non-sales tasks they need support with to other specialized teams in the organization.
Outsourcing marketing intelligence or reviews on new technology initiatives to the marketing and competitor analysis teams will allow your busy salespeople to make the best use of their schedule. It also leaves the analyses and data handling to the professionals, and gives your team higher-quality conclusions to work with.
Non-sales tasks that should be handed off to supporting departments:
- Market analysis
- Customer and partner relationship management (farmers)
- Pricing expertise and consultancy (revenue drivers)
- Proposal services (RFPs)
- Order management
The Most Important Thing You Need to Keep Your Focus on Driving Growth
You must clearly define your goals and the outcomes you want to drive.
This sounds simplistic. And obvious. And eerily similar to a business textbook.
But you need a clear north star. Otherwise, you’ll start chasing all the other shiny things that pop up along your journey and your growth dreams will slowly fizzle out and burn up in the atmosphere.
Amidst the deluge of work and opportunities swirling around a growing business - it’s not only you that can lose focus. Your sales team needs a strong, simple and clear direction. This north star guides you and your team to the place where you want your rocket ship of growth to land.
Unfortunately, it is this daunting set of simultaneous goals and processes that makes managers shy away from activities that will ultimately save them time. Victor Lipman, author of "The Type B Manager: Leading Successfully in a Type A World", expands on this in a Forbes article:
“Always a critical element of management, but again in the somewhat amorphous remote world, it makes productive sense to make it crystal clear exactly what success looks like. Good employees want to know they're doing a good job; it's only natural. Extra time spent developing solid clear measurable goals and objectives, and ensuring these goals are completely understood by remote employees, will be time well spent.”
The clear definition of goals and outcomes is something that doesn’t only motivate your team - this will also help you regularly monitor, track and improve your sales process over time.
That’s how you drive sustainable revenue growth.