A very interesting report, called State of Sales Productivity Report, has just been released by Docurated. Compiled from anonymized data from the Docurated sales productivity solution and a survey of 127 sales and marketing executives, the report examines the state of sales productivity from both the sales rep and sales management perspectives. In our first blog in this series, we took a look at the 5 Keys to Improving Sales Productivity, based on the report’s first finding.
The second finding in the report is quite interesting: that a majority of organizations will be spending more on sales productivity initiatives this year than last year. According to the report, with the typical organization spending $24K per salesperson in improving productivity, this amounts to a bottom-line addition of at least $4.8K per rep.
According to the report, these initiatives include tools and training. These companies want to make sure these salespeople succeed. No surprise—their success or failure has a direct impact on company revenue.
Training is vitally important, and in fact can mean the difference between a return on investment in a sales rep, or a loss of that investment. Given the time for onboarding a new salesperson—for many companies that can be months—inaccurate or sloppily done training can create major holes in your sales team, simply because when a rep doesn’t make it, it then takes months to get a new rep up to speed. So having a great sales training program is a must for companies to compete.
In addition to basic training in a company’s product line, best selling practices and buyer patterns and personas, training should also continue after the rep has “graduated” the training program. Training should then take the form of ongoing coaching and mentoring by the sales manager.
The entire point of training followed by coaching and mentoring is to regularly increase the efficiency and closing ratios of your sales team without having to constantly hire new salespeople. Of course hiring is always needed, but hiring to improve sales team efficiency is an awfully expensive way to go.
It’s not clear if investing in sales compensation is part of what is meant as “investing in sales productivity” in the report. But I always stress, when talking about investing in sales productivity, that the importance of a great compensation plan cannot be overstated. In fact, when it is found that a lot of effort is needed to “motivate” salespeople to sell, it is often because the compensation plan is lacking—it’s not something that salespeople are really willing to work for.
I liken it to a pro football team. That team is motivated both by the money and the game itself. You’ll never have to “motivate” a pro football player to play the game. While being a salesperson is obviously not on as grand a scale, if that salesperson loves the game (bearing in mind that the game is constructed with the compensation plan), you’re not going to need to go overboard in “motivating” them to sell.
When it comes to investing in sales productivity, the other major area to pay attention to is tools. A salesperson’s primary tool is CRM. And many companies can overlook the importance of implementing a first-rate CRM solution that actually empowers salespeople, as opposed to a CRM application that is used (as it traditionally has been) simply to monitor and control salespeople.
It’s interesting that it has only been fairly recently—in the last 10 years—that somebody (namely us) has come up with a CRM solution that salespeople really love to use, and that actually helps them sell. Just examine the situation: if a salesperson doesn’t like CRM, they’re going to use it as little as possible, and resort to their own spreadsheets and solutions to track and control their own sales. Implement a CRM solution that they can really use, and they no longer need these “extra” tools, are not avoiding CRM but taking advantage of it, and can spend the majority of their time actually selling. Pipeliner CRM is completely intuitive and visual—it is instant intelligence, visualized.
As we see in the report, companies are wisely investing in sales productivity. They should do everything they can to ensure that these investments truly pay off.
Pipeliner CRM is the CRM solution that actually empowers salespeople to sell. Get your free trial of Pipeliner CRM now.