B2B Sales Productivity: Ten Tips to Improve Sales

Championing a successful sales team is a daunting endeavor.  Many moving parts must come together for a B2B sales organization to operate like a well-oiled machine.  From tracking and quality-controlling sales reps’ performance to sorting out what to do with a torrent of new technologies to understanding and addressing evolving customer needs, there is plenty of opportunity for missteps. 

Businesses in competitive sales environments cannot afford a high margin of error. We need to accurately deduce what the applicable steps are to increasing B2B sales productivity. Here we look at ten ways to improve sales in a B2B environment.

1. Efficient Technology 

No internet-age salesperson can be productive without a deliberately curated and administered toolbox.  Just as outdated tech slows down productivity, frivolously incorporating the “newest gadget” can distract from selling.  Personal WiFi hotspots and tablets have repeatedly proven to contribute to sales productivity materially.  These tools facilitate more collaboration and sales engagements, keeping salespeople “connected to internal systems and the Internet” with the benefit of being accessible beyond the office. Make sure that connecting to internal systems is simple despite the need for security. Enterprise-grade technology  shouldn't need to feel clunky.  Select technology that has a good user interface and you'll find your reps more willing to use it.

2. Streamline

Anything that detracts sales reps’ time and energy away from selling hurt sales productivity.  Minimize reps’ focus on paperwork and other non-sales duties.  Hiring an administrative assistant or appointment or appointment setters to relieve some unnecessary burden can be a sound investment in B2B sales productivity.  Consider creating an inbound marketing program to efficiently use “blogging, social media, and email marketing” to “increase the quality of leads, productivity, and revenue.”  Uncover where salespeople spend the bulk of their time to simplify, speed up, outsource, and automate unproductive tasks.  

3. Automate

On average, salespeople spend “⅔ of their week doing manual tasks like logging activities, importing leads, and updating stages,” while 70% of those above-average “sales teams log sales data and customer notes automatically.”  “A recent McKinsey study shows that more than 30% of sales activities can be automated to improve efficiency and effectiveness,” so aim to establish communication automation to maintain timely and efficient contacts without bogging down your salespeople. 

4. Go Remote

Almost everyone in office environments has experienced the drudgery and productivity interference of sitting through a meeting that ‘should have been an email.’  Keep collaboration concise and intentional.  Meeting via teleconference to save time while briefing the sales team on “revenue numbers and hot prospects.”  Find productive, flexible, and transparent ways to collaborate virtually.  “The most productive teams leverage collaborative online spaces where team members can check-in and see the team’s focus for the day, month, and quarter.”

Digitalize sales interactions as well.  Customers are overwhelmingly adjusting to “a videoconferencing(VC)/phone/web sales model.”  Over the past year, “90 percent-plus of B2Bs have transitioned to a virtual sales model.”

5. Be Prescriptive

Take the proactive approach by mapping out a simpler customer journey.  Oust “unnecessary processes and outputs” like “approvals, data inputs, and reports.”  Know what works for your customers when planning and delivering intuitive and prescriptive self-service options.  “Prescriptive suppliers give a clear recommendation for action backed by a specific rationale; they present a concise offering and a stable view of their capabilities; and they explain complex aspects of the purchase process clearly,” increasing purchase ease by 86%.  

6. Don’t Respond - Anticipate

Don’t wait for customers to encounter problems and frustrations to start playing whack-a-mole with constantly reappearing issues.  Identify buying barriers early and eliminate them instead of wasting your reps’ and customers’ valuable time on damage control. 

Quickly pick up on patterns in customer questions, problems, and needs, and establish a system that ensures that they need as little help from you as possible.

7. Personalize

There is still plenty of room for a personal, human approach in a time of ever-increasing digitalization. “ More than half of B2B sales and marketing professionals in 2020 say that marketing personalization leads to higher rates of sales conversions and future growth.”  Customize communications at all stages of the sales pipeline because “emails with personalized subject lines get 26% more opens.”

8. Motivating Leadership

Lead with a listening ear, an open mind, and a perceptive eye to understand sales team challenges.  Get to know your salespeople personally to motivate everyone individually, tackling issues and goals as a true team.

9.Training and Professional Development

While training can take time away from selling, high-quality training will lead to increased B2B sales productivity in the long term, especially when it pertains to professional skills and optimizing technology use.  Use your sales productivity metrics as a springboard for developing reps’ skills and maxing out productivity.

10. Keep it Simple

Avoid the pitfalls of overzealous tech and system overhauls that fail to pay off due to excessive complexity.  Salespeople’s time is of the essence of B2B sales productivity, and changes need to be structured, time-saving, and realistically scaled.

This applies to customer experiences too.  Create direct, painless, guided processes, not “unproductive, open-ended learning loops by the deluge of information” that make the solutions purchase process an “awful, painful, frustrating minefield.”

Improve B2B Sales Productivity with PerceptionPredict

Increasing B2B sales productivity starts with a strong team.  PerceptionPredict’s Performance Fingerprints use predictive analytics to analyze reps’ sales aptitudes.  Within 20 minutes, we rate participants on a spectrum of hundreds of role-specific behaviors and research-based human attributes to gauge sales candidates’ potential to succeed in individual sales jobs.  This profile includes projections of their future KPIs, like how many units they will sell and how much revenue they will generate.  The machine learning approach to evaluating salespeople’s performance pre-and post-hire helps hire more productive people, identify skill gaps, and free up managers’ valuable time by streamlining the hiring process.

Book a demo to see for yourself how PerceptionPredict can boost B2B sales productivity.

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