April 17th from 8.30AM – Noon PDT: The Funnelholic Sales Summit is BAAAACK! Come join Jill Konrath, Matt Heinz, Jill Rowley, and Dan Waldschmidt as they provide real, tangible advice, tell at least one joke, and challenge your status quo.
Speaking of brilliant minds in sales and marketing, one of our amazing speakers for the event is Matt Heinz. His topic will be 15 Must-Have Sales Technologies. He is great with tech, tools, and efficiencies with sales teams and is one of be the best presenters I know. As we getting pumped for the summit, I thought we would showcase some of Matt’s work. Matt had a great post on sales productivity and I thought I would share his tips and add some funnel-commentary.
First a note on sales productivity: As an organization, your goal in life is to strip out as many inefficiencies as possible and allow sales to focus on what they do best. It’s 3-4 years old now, but in 2011 CSO Insights released data that showed sales reps only spent 41% of their time selling face-to-face or by phone. (If you know any updated data on this – let me know). So 49% of the time sales reps are doing something else besides selling. Can you imagine if that happened on a manufacturing supply chain??? The six-sigma guys would have a field day with that one. Sometimes, I wonder if some companies plan to continue to add administrative duties every month to their sales person’s plate until they spend 1% of their time selling. I can imagine them saying: “Hey, we need to track this, let’s add the 150th field to the Opportunity Tab!”
Matt’s 10 sales productivity hacks with a little bit of funnel-ness to each:
1. Batch admin work
Matt: Don’t get in the habit of making a call, leaving a voicemail, then disrupting your phone time to record the conversation in CRM, send a follow-up email, etc.
- Batch work items together to get and keep yourself in a groove. For example, make 10 calls all at once.
- Keep notes on a pad of paper for any unique follow-ups.
- Then do all of your CRM and follow-up work at once.
This batching of activities is proven to be faster and more efficient than doing everything in a linear sequence over and over and over again.
Craig: I am a fan of the double-tap which means you leave a voicemail and send an email within minutes. So I recommend doing setting up blocks of time to deliver double taps. Trish Bertuzzi once gave me a saying that I try to live by: “10 before 10″ (10 calls before 10am.) Everyone who sells gets derailed by admin tasks and it can be painful. For example, I have to do my own prospecting so I set blocks of time to do it and nothing is allowed to get in the way of my output.
2. Automate parallel or redundant tasks
Matt: Anywhere you can automate activity on parallel tracks, you save steps and save time. Email is a great example. Every Salesforce.com user has a unique email address assigned to them. If you blind-copy yourself with that email address on any outbound email to a customer or prospect, it’ll automatically record that email as an activity in the contact or lead’s record. No need to go in and mark that separately.
Craig: I will make one recommendation to sales managers: Sit with your reps for a couple hours and watch what they have to deal with doing their jobs. Ride-alongs are critical to not only listen to them make calls but to watch how they work and find ways to eliminate waste. There are things you can only see if you are sitting with them. DocuSign and the e-signature movement is a game-changer for me. I hate the back-and-forth of paperwork and as such, DocuSign is one of the bigger no-brainer applications on the market today to eliminate un-necessary time-wasting.
3. Automate buying signal & trigger event alerts
Matt: Driving efficiency on your sales floor is about more than just eliminating steps & tasks. It’s also driven by automating the filtering, highlighting and execution of prospect touch-points that are more likely to generate a response & conversation. Every day, there are buying signals and trigger events among your prospects & customers worth following up on. Here are some tips to manage them:
- Don’t search through social channels all day
- Set up a series of alerts using apps such as LinkedIn, Newsle, OFunnel to bring those alerts to your inbox.
- Dedicate time each day (first thing in the morning is ideal) to process through these alerts (By doing outreach in the morning, you increase the likelihood that you get a response later that same day.
Craig: I like this recommendation. Buying signals are so powerful when used correct, but you can’t have sales people doing research all day. Other apps to look at: Socedo, SocialPandas, Compile, InsideView…
4. Develop and follow a prospect/account research process
Matt: Do you leave your sales reps to their own devices to research a prospect before a meeting or call? How much time should this take anyway?
- Create a standardized system or process to increase both consistency and success of these efforts while significantly reducing the time it takes to complete.
- Design a three-minute process for each rep to follow prior to any new prospect call.
- Check LinkedIn profiles, do a quick Google search, etc. to identify a specific set of information to leverage in the call.
- Use the information as an ice-breaker, to begin a consultative conversation, etc.
- Train the team on how to do this quickly, cleanly and efficiently.
This alone could cut up to an hour a day of non-selling time for some of your reps.
Craig: I have stolen the 3X3 rule from Vorsight. (I am on the record with this theft). Find 3 tidbits you can use to sell in 3 minutes or less. If you don’t find anything, the Alec Baldwin in Glengarry rule is in effect: “Are they all here? Well, I am going anyway.”
5. Invest in better tools (penny wise, quota foolish)
Matt: Don’t be penny-wise but quota-foolish when it comes to tools investments. What would you spend to get even a 10% increase in productivity.Take Velocify, for example, which could help your sales reps more quickly decide who to call next. How much time do your reps currently waste deciding who to call? And what if they decide to call someone that’s not as ready for that call, and that decreases their connect and success rates? All of a sudden, that tool investment looks mighty attractive.
Craig: Well, don’t mind if I do. Find out more about Matt’s views on sales tools at the Funnelholic Sales Summit on April 17th. (I love finding reasons to deliver gratuitous promotions). Also, LeadSpace is another application that allow sales reps to quickly score contacts and decide who to call next.
6. Fewer victory laps
Matt: This can be hard to enforce, but a disciplined sales rep can save themselves a ton of time by simply staying in their seat and moving to the next task. Breaks are fine, but we’ve all seen reps get an ounce of momentum on the phone, then get up and refresh coffee, flirt with the receptionist, etc. Encourage your reps to stay in the zone longer, and establish some rewards at the end if necessary.
Craig: We call this “peacocking”. Needless to say, I am a notorious peacock. I can’t sit in my seat for more than 20 minutes. (Imagine how long it takes me to write a blog post!)
7. Better leads
Matt: Better leads not more leads. More leads might mean the reps are calling prospects who aren’t ready to buy. Their dials and talk time might increase, but their conversion rates will suffer. Many sales organizations see dramatic increases in productivity and output by delivering fewer leads to the sales team, but ensuring that those leads are qualified and ready for the conversation.
8. Invest in great sales operations teams
Matt: Great sales operations can be the most important investment in sales productivity you can make. Read more about why we think that here.
Craig: Agree and agree. An investment in just one person wholly focused on sales productivity will drive far greater returns than their cost. Sales leaders like to use their budget on headcount so it’s a big leap. But one thing I will mention is that sales operations are not just glorified IT guys. They focus on the sales process, reporting and analytics, and technology (not just implementing but ensuring successful onboarding). That sounds worth it right? It should.
9. Improve the organization & availability of good content
Matt: How much time does your sales team waste looking for the right piece of content to get to their prospect based on their unique stage of the buying process? When they find it, is it the most accurate and up to date content? Does your team know which piece of content (or type of content) is most appropriate for each prospect at each stage? Enormous efficiency gain potential here.
Craig: OR — do they send the same piece of content every time? I once shadowed a rep who had been sending the same piece of content for three years. Content selling is one of the biggest game-changers in sales effectiveness. Your goal is to enable sales to deliver the right content to the right buyer at the right time. In order to do that, you need a centralized content repository that is updated and managed. And (drum roll please…), sales needs to know where it is (no joke) and how to use it (Again not a joke). KnowledgeTree is a good app to check out for this.
10. Structure meeting time better
Matt: This applies to both 1:1 meetings with your reps as well as group meetings.
- 1:1 meetings: have a specific agenda and keep your time focused. If you complete the agenda early and there’s nothing left to discuss, give everybody their time back.
- Group meetings: have an agenda as well and ensure that what’s covered is relevant to as many people in the room as possible. Pipeline reviews for example can be highly inefficient for the rest of the room if all you’re doing is focusing on one rep’s pipeline at a time with little to no value for the rest of the room.
Craig: On the other hand, please make sure you have meetings. Sales people often feel left in the dark. They only hem and haw when your meetings are a waste of time.
Wow, that was fun — almost like a conversation! Ok, now check out the Sales Summit on April 17th — Matt will be there and we will have FUN!