A definition of sales effectiveness
Sales Effectiveness is a subset of Sales Enablement, focused on leveraging best practices to ensure your sales organization maximizes their selling time talking to the people who are most likely to buy your products and solutions.
We know that, across most research studies, salespeople only use about a third of their time actively engaged with prospects. Sales effectiveness primarily focuses on the following aspects of sales productivity:
- Increasing active selling time
- Ensuring your sales professionals are speaking with the most qualified leads
Suppose you can control these two levers. In that case, you have the best opportunity to positively impact key performance indicators like win rates, quota attainment, and other key enablement metrics.
What will you learn in this article?
You will learn how to impact the levers above to help increase sales efficiency.
We will not focus on broader sales enablement topics in this article, however. To learn more about that area, read the enablement glossary item dedicated to sales enablement and the “How do you…” articles you will find in this site’s top menu.
Increasing active selling time
There are countless reasons that sales representatives don’t spend more time talking to prospects, including:
- Spending time on data entry into the customer relationship management (CRM) system
- Sitting in meetings, from status meetings with their sales managers to sales training that is not optimized to benefit the sellers
You need to drive behavior change across the entire business if you expect to improve overall sales force effectiveness.
What should you do?
Tools to streamline data entry
Your sales operation team works hard to ensure your CRM system is capable of capturing the information teams need to make intelligent decisions, both on where to focus sales energy and enable better forecasting.
While these are good things, this focus on data collection can lead to less selling time, poor perceived sales performance, and increased sales cycle length.
Sales effectiveness tools often automate lots of the data collection giving sellers more time to sell and a better chance of achieving their sales goals.
Revise sales training
Training for the sake of training has to end.
As with any program, the first step requires you to analyze team knowledge gaps. If you are going to pull together groups of people for any purpose, you need to ensure that the entire team benefits. Failing to do so takes too much time away from the team.
At the next level, partner with sales leaders to understand if they have team knowledge gaps you can help them overcome?
Now, you’ve guessed it, are their individual needs, from new hires to senior sellers, that you can partner with the sales managers on. These challenges are met via sales coaching sessions between the manager and the individual seller or perhaps mentorship between top performers.
Sales Coaching vs. Status meetings
Sales coaching can have the most significant single impact on seller performance — when done well.
However, when sales coaching is done poorly, it will kill employee morale and destroy the sales team’s ability to achieve any level of consistent sales success.
While a recipe for great sales coaching is beyond the scope of this article, note that:
- Leaders should perform sales coaching with a clear set of goals in mind.
- It should be no longer than necessary and should be a guided experience, allowing the seller to find the right direction to take on their own.
- It is not a status meeting. If the manager needs a status meeting, find another way to achieve this (e.g., deal reviews).
Speaking with the most qualified leads
How do you ensure you are spending time with the right sales opportunities?
Do you have a clear definition of the pain points you solve?
Are you leveraging solutions like ABM to understand which of your customers is actually in the market, or are your lead generation activities less focused, more scattershot?
Improve upon the data you are collecting in your CRM
Ensure you have clear answers to the questions above, then ensure you have aligned your sales processes in a manner that leads to consistent data collection of the most critical pieces of information. For example, if you are using MEDDIC, are you following the standard discovery process, and is this data captured in your CRM system?
Measure Sales Effectiveness
If you want better results, you need to answer this question.
How will you measure sales effectiveness?
What should you look for in terms of the output of each sales rep?
Review our article on sales enablement metrics to get a sense of how to measure your efforts’ overall effectiveness based upon your business goals.
Living Enablement as a practitioner and as a leader. I’ve seen the confusion and frustration that many practitioners live. From working in other areas of the business, I’ve also seen the genuine need for the capabilities that enablement provides.