Sales Productivity

Has your team gotten into bad sales habits? Is your sales team performing at its peak? Are your reps missing quota despite complaining about how hard they are working? If so, it’s your job as sales leader to get your team back on the right track.

Focus on What Matters Most

A salesperson needs to focus where they have the greatest chance of winning and on making it easy for their customers to make an informed decision that they feel good about.  Time spent on anything else is time and opportunity wasted.  To boost sales results, you need to guide your reps to prioritize the activities that actually close deals.

7 Bad Sales Habits that Undermine Productivity

Here are seven bad sales habits that all too many salespeople fall into at one time or another in their careers.  The faster you can help them correct these time wasters and focus on what matters to sales performance, the faster your revenue, margins, and win rate will improve.

  1. Selling to the Wrong Company or Buyer
    Not every solution is right for every client.  You need to identify the ideal target client where you should win against the competition the majority of the time.  Just as every company’s strategy and culture is unique, the same is true for defining your ideal customer.  Customers who best fit you and your business create repeat business, provide referrals, and supply testimonials to help grow your top line.

    Before you start selling solutions, be clear about the unique combination of client industry, size, geography, buyer, and buying trigger that enables you and your company to shine brightest.  The highest performing solution sellers are almost three times as likely to be highly specific and detailed about who they target.
  2. Trying to be All Things to All People
    It is difficult for customers to believe you are great at everything.  The highest performing solution sellers are almost three times more likely to have one or two strong differentiators in the eyes of their customers.  Strong value propositions do not try to solve every customer problem.  They identify and go after high priority customer issues that set them apart from the pack.
  3. Using the Same Approach to Every Prospect
    While common sales processes are required to scale, every company, account, and buyer is different.  They have different strategies, different cultures, and different working styles.  Tailor your individual sales approach so that you can help them to succeed personally and professionally given their unique situation. 
  4. Calling Without a Plan or Purpose
    Your customer interactions will be much more fruitful if you set and follow a proven sales call plan.  Sadly, executive buyers report that a whopping seventy percent of sales people are not adequately prepared to answer their questions.  Do not be unprepared. 

    Calling to shoot the breeze is a waste of time for you and your customer.  Yes, you want to build rapport but, in the end, your purpose is to support the success of your prospect.  Being prepared to add value is how you will earn a trusting, productive, and long-lasting relationship.
  5. Simply Checking Off the List
    Every salesperson is familiar with a standard list of sales discovery questions designed to learn about a customer’s most pressing needs.  But this list should just be a guide, not a series of questions to check off one by one.  The best consultative salespeople know how to listen well and then ask follow-up questions that add value and probe deeper.
  6. Not Playing to Your Strengths
    Successful salespeople understand that they should stick to what they do well and rely on others to do the same.  This means that marketing should provide meaningful leads, the CRM should keep track of customer contacts, customer service should pick up the baton once the order is placed, etc.  Each company will have a different system but there should be a plan that maximizes sales time for the sellers and minimizes their time doing admin and attending meetings that are not targeted to sales.
  7. Not Managing Time Well
    Good time management takes good discipline.  Don’t be interrupted by emails throughout the day.  Set aside a block of time to deal with the incoming.  Screen your calls so you don’t get sidetracked in the middle of strategizing your next big move.  Manage your time by setting priorities and sticking to them.

The Bottom Line

Sales productivity is all about spending your time wisely.  Prep for each call by knowing the right customer and thinking through how you can support them.  Provide value with each interaction and make sure you are doing what is needed to move the customer toward a decision.

To learn more about how to avoid bad sales habits that undermine productivity, download 30 Effective Sales Questions More Important than Budget

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