Nowadays, there are so many distractions in the workplace that even top performers have a hard time maintaining high productivity. And this is exactly why so many new sales tools have been invented in recent years to tackle productivity, communication, collaboration and more.
If you’re not sure if all of these new tools can actually boost your sales productivity, you’re not alone. With so many options, methods and practices to choose from, you may have a case of choice overload.
Here is what you need to know about modern sales tools and how you can actually become more productive by using options for you.
1 – Track your time
Time tracking seems like a chore, but it can bring many benefits. You usually hear about it from snoopy employers who want to know what their workforce is up to all day, but there are lots of benefits to tracking your own time. By that I mean going about your day as usual and measuring the time you spend on everyday tasks. You don’t have to do this for long – a month will be fine so you can see patterns.
Once you start tracking your time, you’ll be able to see the activities that drain most of your time and bring a poor return on investment. In our own sales team, we realized that we spend 20 hours every month entering contact data in our CRM, so we switched to a simpler CRM and changed the way we collect data. I personally found out that I spent almost 2 hours every day on emails, so that had to be cut down.
You can use a variety of time tracking tools to simplify this process – I suggest PomoDone. By tracking where your time goes, you’ll be able to identify activities that can be reduced or eliminated. That way, you can win back your time and make more sales.
2 – Use the “eat the frog” technique
What’s the worst thing that you have to do every day? For me, it’s going through my email inbox and I make sure to do it as soon as I turn on my laptop. This is a technique called “eating the frog” and it dates back to the writer Mark Twain. He said that you should eat a live frog first thing in the morning. That way, that will be the worst thing that happens that day and everything that follows will seem easy in comparison.
In essence, this technique means that you should find your most difficult task and tackle it first. This is why it’s useful to track your time first – you’ll immediately know what drains the most of your time. Tackle these tasks early on during the day and you’ll notice that everything will flow more smoothly afterwards.
3 – Kill your notifications
The average workplace uses a dozen different apps to communicate. In our sales team, we use a variety of tools, from Slack, to our social media inboxes, to our Intercom chatbox, to emails and much more. These all have a purpose but when you’re trying to book new meetings and have sales calls with prospective customers, they do more harm than good. In the end, the very tools that should help you sell more end up taking away your time from selling.
Research has shown that once you’re interrupted, it will take more than 20 minutes to recover your attention. Make sure to pick and choose your sales tools according to their ability to manage notifications, among other things. For example, you can set up notifications for Slack to only work during certain hours and for certain conversations.
4 – Align your marketing and sales teams
A lot of times, when we struggled to make new sales, it was because the sales and marketing teams were not coordinated. Marketing was making collateral that wasn’t interesting to the buyers and sales wasn’t supplying the right information to the marketing team. It’s a catch 22 that seems negligible, but can end up setting both of your teams back.
One easy way to align sales and marketing is to insist on frequent meetings together to discuss KPIs and everyday task progress. If you attend conferences or events, make sure that both teams are sent together.
Moreover, a great way to make sure that the two teams are aligned is to create better buyer personas and map out your customer journey. Finally, both teams should know each other’s KPIs and how their work overlaps.
5 – Use better tools
As mentioned before, we discovered that a poorly designed CRM was one of the main reasons for our lack of productivity. We did a little bit of research to find a different tool that let us do more sales calls instead of focusing on entering lead data manually. Our personal preference is Salesflare, but Freshsales or Pipedrive is another excellent option.
If you’re looking for a specific tool to automate your sales processes, the choices are now better than ever before. For example, instead of writing business proposals manually, you can use a proposal software to write, manage and send your business proposals.
Another useful tool is a lead distribution software that can automatically distribute your leads to the appropriate sales representative.
In any case, ask your sales team what they feel like could be better and what tools cause more frustration than making money or saving time.
6 – Celebrate small wins
Celebrating your achievements is crucial if you want to motivate your sales team to push harder and get even more things done. However, sometimes it’s necessary to do more. In some industries, it takes months to close a sales cycle and even though the deal size is impressive, it can get fairly frustrating to have to wait this long.
Besides new sales, find other metrics that are relevant and make sure to praise your SDRs for their performance. Think in terms of new generated leads, sales messages sent per day, successful email follow-ups done per day, up-selling to existing customers, increasing customer lifetime value and more.
No matter what new tools pop up in the market, sales will always be a ‘people skill.’
However, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye out for new sales tactics and tools that are adapted for the modern age and modern customer. I hope that this article will give you an idea on what you can do to update and improve your sales productivity!
Petra Odak is the Chief Marketing Officer at Better Proposals – a simple yet incredibly powerful proposal software tool that helps you send high-converting, web-based business proposals in minutes. She’s a solution-oriented marketing enthusiast with more than 5 years of experience in various fields of marketing and project management.