The buying experience has come a long way. And more recently, with the transition to almost exclusively virtual transactions, sales pitches, and end-to-end deal cycles, the selling experience has also shifted dramatically. It’s easy now for the average person to become distracted, fatigued, or untethered in our newly at-home-almost-all-the-time environment. But it’s particularly detrimental to businesses if sales teams find themselves lacking the support and sales intelligence they need to compete and deliver.
It’s more important than ever to get it right the first time: to be able to identify your target accounts, use their preferred methods of communication, and get insight into who’s most likely to convert and when. Here are six ways to boost sales productivity without losing your sanity in the process.
#1: Provide meaningful outreach (emphasis on “meaningful”)
Sales teams may engage more frequently because the number of touches required to generate a response from prospects has gone up (roughly 17-22 touches), but the key is to make those interactions count. It sounds simple, but a series of meaningless emails that put the emphasis on your enthusiasm and desire to hear back — as opposed to providing information and concrete value — can do more harm than good. Best case scenario, they’re tuned out.
Delivering calls, emails, social outreach, etc. focused on the prospect’s needs and interests are a more enticing way to do business, but they can also further teach you what types of outreach, content, and messaging perform best for a given buyer.
To that end, you can stand to save a great deal of time and effort by only reaching out to in-market buyers and avoiding the gamble of cold calling or emailing. (Tip: Check out the book from our CMO, No Forms. No Spam. No Cold Calls. It details the benefits of ditching traditional methods for a better, bolder account-based approach.)
#2: Establish your routine… and stick to it
There are many talents that are essential to succeed in sales, but the ability to prioritize and multitask ranks high among them. Because so many field sales reps have had to switch things up in recent months, and continue to do so, they can take a cue from their BDR and inside sales counterparts. Without travel time (or at least having cut it down considerably), there’s room to rethink scheduling prospecting and nurturing efforts and keep up sales productivity on the whole.
Your routine and the way you go about structuring it from day to day should be tied directly to your greater goals as an organization and the numbers you personally have to hit across the board. Consider who you should prioritize at the start of each workday, with a calculated mix of retention and acquisition initiatives, such as making an immediate effort to engage big, long-term customers… before going after net new prospects. Sales intelligence technology can help you prioritize the most high-value targets through AI and predictive analytics.
#3: Support your team and let your team support you
Sales is tough, and it takes teamwork in order to stay resilient, connected, and strategic. Ernest Owusu, our Sr. Director of Business Development, was recently on the Sales Hacker podcast discussing building a crisis-proof sales culture to weather any storm. He spoke about how in good or bad times, it’s essential to rely on a strong team culture to help sustain sales productivity and professional development.
“Our acronym is FAMILY: Fun, Accountability, Mindfulness, Integrity, Love, Yes,” Ernest says. “So without a doubt, every single week, we have someone on the team talk through one other person who exemplified our family culture best, and it brings our team together.” If you can discuss the difficulties and victories with others on your team going through some of the same things, it can empower you to forge ahead and boost sales productivity under any circumstance.
#4: Understand and unleash the power of intent data
It can be complicated and time-consuming to chase a moving target (or several). It’s considerably easier if you can slow or steady that target with intent data. Knowing what an account tends to do — what keywords they’re searching, which pages on your site they’re visiting, which buying team personas are engaged — not only gives you more information about the account itself, but helps you better understand which accounts you should care about in the first place.
Valuable conversions are the goal and intent signals are the way to get there. If your tools aren’t able to match intent signals to the right accounts, you’re likely to chase after the wrong ones. A “highly qualified” account only checks out if the data supports it. Our customer GAN Integrity sorts their accounts into different outreach cadences, which are hyper-targeted because they correlate to specific segments in the 6sense platform based on intent keywords. The data is then pushed into their Salesforce instance, allowing them to automate their outreach and engage with in-market accounts at scale.
#5: Realign yourself with your marketing counterparts
Marketing is meant to support sales and vice versa, though often there’s a discrepancy between the two teams’ overarching goals — and the means to get there. According to Forrester, only about 10% of companies report that marketing and sales are working in harmony. We all know that unity is important for the business (at least in theory), yet it’s easy to become siloed in individual outreach efforts.
Set some time to regroup and ensure that sales and marketing have the same metrics, KPIs, and goals in mind; align on personas, target accounts, and other buyer-based criteria; center your everyday sales activities on those symbiotic initiatives and you’ll be less likely to get lost or lose momentum going after the wrong accounts or goals.
#6: Keep the humanity in virtual sales calls
It’s hopefully not a groundbreaking concept, but when you’re on a call with a customer or prospect, they should be the only priority. Because remote work is the predominant style for most people now, it can be easy to mistake multitasking for efficiency. But if you’re zoning out or handling other work while on a call, you can lose the thing that makes connections possible. Prepare in advance for the natural progression you’d like the call to take, while allowing for changes:
- Do your homework: Know who you’re speaking with, what they’re interested in, and what their pain points are.
- Lead with personalized discovery questions.
- Focus on follow-up questions and plan how you’ll move the deal along.
As is true with any kind of outreach, whether automated or face-to-face, the point is to keep it personal — both in what you’re selling and how you’re selling it.
Boosting sales productivity is a marathon, not a sprint. Learn more about taking control of the buying experience in our ebook BDRs are a BFD.