Selling Smarter, Not Harder: 6 Ways to Improve Sales Efficiency
September 29, 2023
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Did you know the average sales rep spends less than 30 percent of their time actually selling?
The rest of their time is spent on tasks like researching prospects, prepping for calls or meetings, and other manual and administrative tasks.
Clearly, there’s room for improvement when it comes to sales efficiency. Who knows how much revenue your organization is leaving on the table due to this wasted time?
The good news is that implementing sales efficiency processes can help reduce the time it takes for a lead to become a customer, which helps your company grow and helps sales reps meet their targets. It also means you can get more customers with the same number of reps.
So, how can you improve sales efficiency? There are some simple steps you can take, but remember, simple doesn’t mean easy.
Discover six strategies to help your sales team cut down mundane tasks and improve efficiency and performance.
Understanding sales efficiency
Before you can fix something, you need to understand what it is and why it’s important.
Sales efficiency measures the revenue your sales team generates compared to the costs to support them over a specific period.
Poor use of sales rep time drives down revenue while driving up costs, which is why it’s a sure sign you can improve efficiency.
How to measure sales efficiency
To calculate sales efficiency, divide your new revenue over time by the sales costs over that same period.
You want a number over one, which means your sales team is bringing in more than they cost. Many organizations shoot for an efficiency of 2 or better.
For example, let’s say your B2B sales team brought in $10M in one quarter, and the costs associated with the team were $4M. That means the team has an efficiency of 2.5 for the quarter.
A higher sales efficiency means you’re getting more revenue per dollar spent on sales, which every business leader loves to see. You’re getting more from each rep, which helps your company succeed.
6 Tips to improve sales efficiency
So how do you boost your efficiency score, especially if your team is hovering around one—or worse?
The statistic we shared above is an important clue. You want to maximize the time each rep spends selling instead of using their time on administrative work.
Here are some ways to improve your team’s efficiency.
Develop a sales enablement function
If you don’t already have a sales enablement team, this is a great place to start to improve performance and efficiency.
According to the 2022 State of Sales Enablement, 92 percent of organizations with a sales enablement function report that it has improved sales performance. About half of those organizations have enablement teams of 2 to 5 people, and 33 percent have six or more people on the enablement team.
“Improving the efficiency of your revenue-facing teams, especially your sales reps, is the fastest way to scale your revenue,” Mallorie Maranda, WorkRamp’s VP of Sales says. “Developing a strong sales enablement function allows teams to improve this efficiency through tailored coaching programs, trainings on new ICPs/products, and optimized onboarding programs.
“It’s important to first establish your baseline metrics: your current win rates, ramp times, and average sales cycle lengths. Then, after implementing a sales enablement function or a learning program, you can easily track the improvement on these baseline metrics and how they impact your overall revenue.”
Handshake, a college career network with over 1,000 college and university partners, used WorkRamp to create a sales enablement program that doubled year-over-year revenue, increased deal size by 15 percent, and lowered new hire ramp time by 33 percent.
A sales enablement team with the right tools can make a huge difference in sales efficiency and overall results for your company.
Improve sales rep engagement
What does employee engagement have to do with sales efficiency? A lot!
In the 2021 State of Sales Enablement report, organizations reported a 30 percent increase in quota attainment when they had highly-engaged employees. An earlier report found that organizations with a highly-engaged sales force achieved 8.5 percent higher revenue than those without, and employee turnover is also four points lower.
There are many ways to improve employee engagement. Having a learning culture is one big step, as employees feel more loyal to organizations that invest in their growth and development. You can also help sales reps understand the benefits that your products and services bring to customers so that they feel their work makes a positive impact.
When an organization prioritizes its employees, they respond with better performance, higher productivity, and lower absenteeism and turnover.
Centralize sales materials
Why do sales reps spend so much on other tasks besides selling? A lot of that time is spent looking for sales materials. In fact, 65 percent of reps can’t find meaningful content to share with their prospects.
That means they’re spending time creating their own sales sheets, customizing the materials they can find, and more. That time could be spent working with prospects and moving deals forward.
How can you solve this? Use a content management system (CMS) that lets you keep sales materials in the same place and makes them searchable so reps can find exactly what they need.
Read more: What is a Sales CMS?
Train sales reps on the ideal customer
Targeting the wrong people is another culprit of inefficiency. A sales rep can spend dozens of hours over several weeks talking to a prospect who is not the right fit for the product or service.
Why would there be confusion about who the target customer is? Sometimes, it’s because there have been updates or additions to the product and new customers. Other times, leadership may have changed the focus to a specific segment of customers over others.
To maximize sales efficiency, regularly offering refresher training on the ideal customer is essential. Beyond rehashing information reps already have, refreshers can give reps new ideas and ways to approach leads and build rapport.
With a strong sales enablement program, you can offer ongoing, consistent training to keep everyone on the same page and ensure reps don’t waste time on unqualified prospects.
Rethink the sales process
Another key way to improve sales efficiency is to ensure that sales operations are efficient. This is one of the top responsibilities of the sales enablement team.
Performing regular competitive analyses can improve win rates by three points, according to the 2022 State of Sales Enablement. Staying updated with evolving customer expectations and buying processes is also essential.
Once enablement maps the buyer’s journey, they can provide sales reps with structured guidance on approaching different sales situations, which the 2022 report shows can reduce struggles with seller engagement by up to 32 percent.
Finally, the enablement team can simplify the buyer experience so that there’s less confusion and conflicting information for the customer. This improves customer relationships, and increases win rates by as many as 12 points.
When sales reps have a better understanding of competition and prospects’ core needs and expectations, there are fewer unnecessary steps, and reps can take advantage of clear guidance on how to approach sales. All of these factors combined will increase sales efficiency dramatically.
Implement a consistent, high-quality coaching program
Finally, to improve sales efficiency, your company will want to develop a consistent sales coaching program to help reps improve their weaknesses, build on their strengths, and grow in their careers.
As many as 60 percent of sales reps say they’re more likely to leave their job if their manager is a poor coach, so coaching is vital for employee retention and growth. Companies that provide high-quality coaching can increase annual revenue by seven percent.
There are two sides to creating a strong coaching culture. First, the organization can provide high-quality training, especially microlearning, that managers can use to help reps address specific sales skills. Secondly, the organization can provide training on effectively coaching other leaders.
Ongoing coaching and growth are essential for any organization that wants to increase sales efficiency over time.
Get the benefits of high sales efficiency
A more efficient team brings in more revenue. That means your company makes more money—which is a result everyone wants.
You can start by implementing these six tips, but you’ll also need the right tools. The Learning Cloud from WorkRamp can help you create engaging sales training programs to help you close more deals and drive more revenue.
Discover how the Learning Cloud can help you create engaging sales training to close more deals and drive more revenue. Contact us for a free personalized demo.
Complete the form for a custom demo.
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Anna SpoonerFreelance Writer
Anna Spooner is a digital strategist and marketer with over 11 years of experience. She writes content for various industries, including SaaS, medical and personal insurance, healthcare, education, marketing, and business. She enjoys the process of putting words around a company’s vision and is an expert at making complex ideas approachable and encouraging an audience to take action.
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