4 Powerful Tips to Boost Your Sales Productivity

4 Powerful Tips to Boost Your Sales Productivity

Selling is hard.

You’ve reworked your sales pitch a dozen different ways. Spent long hours trying to make a big dent in your sales pipeline. Sent a thousand emails.

And what do you get when the sales report comes in? Sales numbers that fall way short of your expectations.

It’s frustrating, to say the least.

But don’t despair.

At least take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone.

Did you know that 79% of all marketing leads never convert into sales? That the average sales cycle has increased by more than 20% over the past 5 years?

Here’s something else that might interest you: according to a study by Inside Sales, sales professionals spend only 37% of their workday talking with prospects.

So, what occupies them for the rest of their day? You guessed it: boring stuff like data entry, writing emails, prospecting leads, scheduling meetings. The usual suspects.

graph of how salespeople spend their time

No wonder most salespeople are struggling to close sales. They’re spending way too much time performing rote activities.

If you want to succeed in sales, you need to spend more time connecting with your prospects and customers.

That’s not to say you should leave technology behind. In fact, using the right technology—and using it wisely—is key to giving your sales productivity the shot in the arm it needs.

So let’s get to it. Here are powerful, actionable tips that will give your sales productivity a big boost.

Here’s a tip on how to qualify leads 10x faster.

Here’s the truth about sales leads: most of them are not worth your time. This case is true regardless of the industry you’re in.

Did you know that almost 10 percent of marketing leads aren't converted into sales?

If you spend an inordinate amount of time trying to sell your services to every lead that comes your way, do you think you’re going to get favorable results?

Probably not. Most of what you’ll get is wasted time and effort.

This is why it’s absolutely necessary to pick which leads to focus on. And to come up with prospects that are worth your attention, you need to qualify your leads effectively.

So, how do you separate qualified leads from the unqualified ones?

You need to define a set of criteria by which to filter them, which will depend on the challenges and goals of your company. But whatever qualifications you use, lead qualification should bring you a step or two closer to closing a sale.

By weeding out leads that don’t resemble your buyer persona or target audience, what you’re left with are contacts who are more likely to buy your product.

As such, focusing your core selling activities on them is a good way to make use of your time as a salesperson. After all, 20 qualified leads are worth more than 80 “zombie leads.”

There are many tools you can use to qualify leads faster and efficiently. Clearbit Prospector, for example, can generate highly qualified leads in a matter of seconds.

By setting parameters such as location, number of employees, money raised, industry, and more, you can create a list of target accounts that fit your criteria.

clearbit helps improve sales productivity

After narrowing down your list, looking for highly qualified prospects should be much easier. Specify attributes that define your target audience (such as role, seniority, title or name ) and the tool will generate you leads that have a high chance of conversion.

clearbit screenshot

As you can tell, with the right tool, generating qualified leads shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes. Considering how integral lead qualification is to the sales process, qualifying leads at a much faster rate will have a direct and dramatic impact on your sales productivity.

Spend less time writing emails by creating and using email templates.

Personalized communication is an essential part of nurturing customer relationships. Keep sending your prospects or customers canned messages and chances are they’re going to lose interest in continuing the relationship.

The problem? Writing personalized emails, especially when you have to correspond with a ton of contacts, can be a huge timesuck.

Thankfully, most email clients have an email template feature to help you cut your time writing personalized emails in half (or maybe even more).

As a sales professional, chances are you’re receiving redundant email messages on a regular basis. Even if you’re trying to personalize every email, you’re bound to write the same statements and explanations over and over again.

Imagine how much time you could save if you pulled up those explanations and statements instantly? That’s where email templates come into the picture.

Every good email platform has a template builder that lets you create dynamic email templates with minimal effort.

To top it off, you can personalize your emails faster using merge fields. Merge fields are special tags or dynamic content used in your email templates that assign relevant content such as First Name, Last Name, Company Name, and so on.

In creating a template, you’ll be given the option to name it as well. To avoid confusion, make sure it’s recognizable and relevant to the content you’re going to assign to it.

Don’t forget to apply merge fields where appropriate before saving.

email merge field example from copper crm

With the email template saved, it takes only a few clicks to compose an email message and make the necessary changes using merged fields, as shown below.

email with merge tags added from copper crm

Add a few personal touches and you should be able to send a personalized email to a prospect or a customer. Too easy!

Boost your sales productivity by gamifying your tasks.

When it comes to productivity, we can be our own worst enemy. The sales process involves a lot of stages, so much so that it’s too easy to lose one’s focus. If you’re not able to manage your time efficiently, don’t be surprised when you see poor sales numbers staring you in the face.

Yes, we’re talking about procrastination.

Procrastination can rear its ugly head at the most inopportune times. It’s a coping mechanism that just won’t go away. Before you know it, your workday has already ended and you’re nowhere near completing your tasks for the day.

It’s a vicious cycle that makes sales professionals not only unproductive, but downright miserable.

So how do you overcome procrastination?

The answer is to gamify your tasks. You can pull this off by doing the following:

  1. Focus on your progress, not the task. Overthinking about the task at hand will only cause you to focus on problems that shouldn’t exist in the first place. You’ll find that celebrating or acknowledging every milestone, no matter how small, can help you keep your eye on the ball.
  2. Break your workflow into manageable tasks. As the saying goes, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” By breaking up your tasks into smaller chunks, you are less likely to feel overwhelmed by the enormity of what you need to accomplish for the entire day.
  3. Create action plans. By creating a set of goals with corresponding deadlines, you get to feel a sense of urgency. It’s easy to regain focus when you’re alerted that you only have 20 minutes to accomplish a task.
  4. Take more breaks. You probably didn’t expect this part. But yes, regular breaks allow you to maintain sustained focus for long periods of time.

On their own, the above tips can help you stay on task. But we’re only human, and it’s easy to fall into the procrastination habit again at times. Thankfully, there’s a productivity technique that incorporates them all into one neat package.

Developed by productive consultant Francesco Cirillo, the Pomodoro Technique is a time management method where you break up your work in 25 minute blocks (called ‘Pomodoros’) with 5-minute breaks. After four Pomodoros, you’re allowed to take a longer break, ideally 15 minutes. After the long break, you can start another Pomodoro Cycle. Rinse and repeat.

The Pomodoro Technique typically involves the use of a tomato-shaped timer, but any timer will do. One free Pomodoro tool you can use is the Tomato Timer. Other popular Pomodoro apps include:

Tempted to check on your mobile phone? It might be easier to stave off the temptation knowing that you can take a well-deserved five-minute break in less than 25 minutes anyway.

Also, 25 minutes may not sound like much. But do the math and you’ll realize that four Pomodoros translate to 100 minutes of concentrated work in a span of two hours. That’s nothing to sneeze at.

No wonder many Pomodoro advocates call the technique a game-changer.

Being organized also impacts sales productivity. So before you do the Pomodoro Technique, create a list of tasks based on order of priority.

For every 25-minute interval, focus on one task at a time, whether it’s sales prospecting, hunting for qualified leads, or making sales calls.

how tomato timer works

To implement the Pomodoro Technique, follow these simple steps:

1. Pick a task you wish to accomplish (start with the one you prioritize the most).

2. Set the Pomodoro timer to 25 minutes.

3. Work on the task until your 25 minutes are up (the timer should alert you).

4. Take a short five-minute break.

5. After the fourth Pomodoro, take a longer break (15-30 minutes).

Keep going and chances are you’ll be pleasantly surprised by your results at the end of the day.

Optimize your cold calls using this tip.

Some say cold calling is dead. We disagree. In fact, cold calling, if done right, can be an effective method in closing sales.

All you need is a little finesse, and some help from new technology shouldn’t hurt.

Granted, not many people like being sold to, especially when the interruption comes from a complete stranger who happens to have your phone number.

But cold calling is not dead. And don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.

For starters, there are so many tools and resources you can use these days to research your prospects. Social pages, job listings, LinkedIn, you name it.

By using all available resources in your prospecting efforts, you can find leads that fit your target audience (or buyer persona), giving you a list of people who are likely to be interested in what you have to offer.

Most traditional best practices in cold calling should still apply once you have your prospect’s attention.

Create a cold-calling script and rework it until it’s perfect. Stay positive during the call. Focus on your client’s pain points and clearly articulate why your product is the best solution.

And if you want to scale your productivity, automation technology is your friend.

For starters, you can use a cloud-based softphone, a program that allows you to make calls over the internet without the need for dedicated hardware.

It’s convenient in a number of ways, too. First off, you can make calls by simply clicking a telephone number on your screen.

You don’t have to waste your time copy-and-pasting and hand-dialing anymore.

AirCall, for instance, allows you to do this through its Click-to-Dial functionality, as shown below.

AirCall screenshot

You can also dramatically speed up your outbound calls by using an auto-dialer, a phone functionality that allows your phone system to automatically dial a list of phone numbers.

This way, you can make outbound calls in quick succession with minimal effort.

Most cloud-based phone systems also offer CRM integration, allowing you to pull relevant information about your prospect as soon as the dialer initializes the call.

This, of course, helps you connect with your prospect better, increasing your chances of closing the sale.

Ready to close some sales?

So there you have it: sales productivity tips that will help you keep your sales pipeline full and your bottom line strong.

By reducing the amount of time you spend on non-core selling activities, you’ll be able to focus more on nurturing your relationships with your customers. More importantly, it’ll be easier for you to turn those relationships into sales.