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3 tips to propel your sales productivity in 2020 Blog Feature

January 15th, 2020 min read

What’s your plan to hit the ground running this year? 

As a sales professional, the goal is always more – more prospects, more closes, more revenue. A simple goal, perhaps, but as they say, “a goal without a plan is just a wish.” 

Successful salespeople break down big goals into manageable action items. 

The first step in creating a strategy is understanding what is in your control and what isn’t. 

Fortunately, productivity is very much within your control. Whether you’re a new hire or a veteran on the team, you can take the reins of your productivity right now. Here’s how to start. 

Picture yourself twelve months from now.

Are you patting yourself on the back for a job well done, or are you looking back wondering where the time went and wishing you had used your time more efficiently?

According to HubSpot, salespeople spend only one-third of the day talking to prospects. 

The remaining time is spent on a combination of emails, admin work, and meetings. Sound familiar? 

For salespeople, productivity is about maximizing how efficiently you spend your time to effectively reach your goals.

This article covers three ways to start implementing changes into your workday that will boost your productivity in 2020.

1. Make sales technology work for you

The landscape of selling has changed dramatically in the last decade. Fortunately, there are now more tools than ever before to help make navigating these changes easier for sales professionals.

According to Salesforce, high-performing sales teams use nearly three times as much sales technology compared to underperforming teams.

Sales technology is designed to act like your virtual assistant by taking busy work off your plate and freeing up time to connect with clients.

Most sales technology falls into two categories: automation and augmentation.

The right automation technology can take care of administrative tasks like these:

  • documenting activity
  • logging notes on clients
  • scheduling appointments
  • sending follow-up emails, proposals, and contracts

Augmentation technology refers to tools that elevate human intelligence, allowing sales professionals to work smarter, rather than harder. 

Augmentation tools can assist with:

  • next-step engagement recommendations
  • prospecting
  • up-sell suggestions

Logging activity, composing emails, and deciding who to reach out to next can be major time-sinks for sales professionals, and your time is most effectively spent talking to potential buyers. 

When used correctly, sales technology can alleviate the stress of piled-up admin work and provide a roadmap for your day.

By prioritizing sales calls over admin work and maximizing time spent with clients, you will improve your overall productivity.

If your team is slow to adopt sales technology, here are some helpful tools that you can start using as an individual.

2. Look at your pipeline with new eyes

It is crucial that your pipeline accurately reflects the current state of your book of business. 

This is important so you can use it to make projections about your weekly, quarterly, and yearly progress. However, you can’t do that when you’re counting on leads that have cooled or wasting time on prospects that are unlikely to close.

Evaluate your pipeline one account at a time.

Are there prospects who are giving you the runaround, or who have fallen off the radar? How do you know when to follow up and when to walk away? 

As a sales professional, it’s tempting to live in eternal hope that you can turn the tide on opportunities that once seemed promising but have recently fallen away, and with good reason.  

People have a hard time saying no. It’s important to be able to read the subtext and deduce if what you’re getting from a prospect is actually a “no” cloaked in vague and fluffy niceties. 

Of course, some prospects may simply need a little follow up to get back on track. 

Write shorter emails to increase the odds of getting a response. Prepare yourself to have a personalized conversation with clients who are close to the finish line.

When it comes to those unlikely prospects, remember: A “no” is not necessarily the end of the story. If you’ve made a good connection with a prospect who is ultimately not going to buy right at this moment, it’s a good idea to keep in touch. 

That prospect could move to another company later this year. Staying in touch can help them remember you as the type of consultant who is interested in their continued success. 

Keeping your pipeline up to date will give you the clearest picture of how to spend your time on a day-to-day basis. 

By weeding out unlikely prospects and focusing on clients who are the most likely to buy, you will improve your productivity and ensure that you’re using your time efficiently.

3. Refine your process

No matter how long you’ve been in your role, it’s important to take a step back and look at your process with fresh eyes. Even the most senior salespeople can fall into bad habits or stale techniques. 

Plus, buyers are smart and can sense when a salesperson is giving a cookie cutter pitch or not listening to their specific concerns. 

Selling “by rote” leaves money on the table. An open mind, a curious spirit, and a willingness to try something new enables salespeople to have more productive conversations with prospects. 

One way to examine your process is by listening back to your recent sales calls. Analyze what you’re doing well and where you can improve. If you feel stuck, ask a teammate or your manager for feedback.

Tools like Outreach, Sales Mate, or Crazy Call can help you do this.

Think about where you want to be at the end of the quarter (or the end of the year) and work backward through your process to see where things may not be as smooth as they could be. 

The goal of refining your process is to ensure that your conversations with clients are as efficient as possible. By committing to rethinking your process early in the year, you can improve your productivity all year long.

Rethink your workflow to improve productivity

A new year presents an opportunity to rethink your current strategy and try something new. Productivity is about managing your time efficiently. 

Ultimately, cutting down on admin work and increasing the time you spend having meaningful conversations with buyers will help move your pipeline along. By taking an unbiased look at your average day, you can start to see where there is room for improvement. 

Integrating useful sales technology, making an honest assessment of your pipeline, and revamping your process will result in a more productive workday.

For more tips on how to effectively use your pipeline to reach your sales goals, check out my podcast, Food for Thought — Lunch Break with Steve Bookbinder, where I provide actionable advice about how to make more sales easier. 

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