How To Quadruple Your Sales Productivity Through Visibility
When the market nosedives, capital gets tight. Budgets shrink.
As such, keeping a close eye on sales performance becomes increasingly important. It truly helps to look at key indicators that matter.
Unfortunately, we have become so accustomed to data gluttony over the years that it makes laser-point focus nearly impossible to achieve. Most companies have become so obsessed with new KPIs — like a shiny new object — that they need to jump into immediately. This occurs despite organizations not having full cognizance of what’s creating their present outcomes. But, it is tough to put blame when we know how taxing business operations can be.
Another conflict also rears its head in between sales and marketing departments in most B2B organizations. It’s that we reserve the analysis part for analysts despite their lack of experience in the more practical side of the business. Usually, there’s a disconnect between the objective and subjective aspects that define their inputs.
As a result, sales leaders find it challenging to pinpoint bottlenecks in their sales programs. Unanswered questions are often left to speculation:
- Is the team missing out on critical tasks?
- Is the Marketing Department wasting time on campaigns that do not produce great results?
- Where is the source of truth in all of this?
Most of the time we don’t notice the answer is right there all along. Sometimes, it is buried under countless hours of analysis. More often than not, the analysis process obscures the cause of losses and takes credit for the wins.
Imagine this scenario.
Scenario 1: Car Dealership Business
A new car dealership has 20-30 representatives manning their showroom. It also has an IT-consulting sales floor of about the same number of representatives that specialize in selling cars for mid-sized businesses.
Purchasing a brand-new car is one of the very few large purchases an individual ever makes. Both teams capitalize on this fact and heavily influence future acquisitions, but what separates the showroom representatives from the IT representatives is that the latter frequently wind up with considerable expenses.
What makes all that difference? It’s assuming both organizations are seeing an increase in ‘lead volume.’ Lead volume takes into account the actual visitors processed by the showroom team and the number of form submissions and calls handled by the IT organization.
The question remains: how can sales managers in both scenarios determine the real reason behind their respective deal volumes?
The answer is simple: if the showroom representatives aren’t logging more conversations in direct proportion to the increase in visitors, it’s an effort problem.
In the IT department’s case, however, the answer is a bit complicated and might seem more obscure. Even with robust baseline metrics for ‘discussion to close’ ratios, it’s difficult for a business leader to spot the problem. Sales leaders and executives don’t have a clear understanding of whether it’s the reps, marketing, product, or timing that is making the difference. Difficult questions often bog them, such as:
- “Do I put more pressure on my sales team than they’re already under?”
- “Do I lean on marketing to change things up?”
Neither is the correct answer. Sales are about working hard, and marketing is producing — especially if leads are up.
Nowadays, attention is worth more than intent.
There are many buying decisions business leaders have to make every day. Often, the company that is more accessible (and therefore, commands more attention) wins business compared to the company that may have the right solutions.
The best way to address sales issues is to increase company visibility so that all departments can operate efficiently.
In this particular situation with the car dealer company, the car sales leaders can see what their reps are doing:
If visitors are up but sales activity is flat, the reps are not engaging enough to the same percentage of qualified prospects as they did previously. The activity should show an increase in proportion to the actual visitor volume.
In this case, the B2B sales leader can create the same line of sight into their team’s activity, and help them focus their effort on the right prospects.
The 30/30/40 Rule
When it comes to prospects, we often use a simple rule.
We call it the 30/30/40 Rule, and here’s how it works:
Dedicate 30% of the teams’ efforts to the following tasks:
- Doing phone calls, emails, and LinkedIn direct messages to new leads the second their contact information are available.
- Web-generated leads are actually of high value. However, these leads’ likelihood to close decays 10x faster than that of other channels.
- Allocate 30% of the sales efforts to business tactics that historically performed well.
- These tactics could be anything, such as seasonal drives, activity aligned with promotion, or even concentrated pushes related to budgeting cycles.
- Invest 40% of the effort in network building. Focus on:
- Identifying channel opportunities and relationships close to sales targets;
- Identifying local influencers, and finding a way how your business would become valuable to them;
- Creating a LinkedIn presence, where the B2B target audiences often hang out;
- Participating in high visibility discussion in channels where your audiences are active;
- Attending every relevant event. Speak if possible;
- Becoming a super-connector to create pivotal relationships;
- Putting more effort in giving value to other people
On the other hand, the back-end sales leaders can create the same transparency into this effort stack. We highly recommend the following:
For new leads:
- Measure activity volume and lead age.
- If possible, measure within the first 15 minutes from the first live touch
- For historical tactics, use historical metrics. Usually, it's a sales activity.
- For network building, focus on new conversations.
- For most companies, conversation activity mirrors cold outreach for the first 5 months.
If performed diligently, the ensuing months could lead to a 10-15% increase in new conversations per month, per representative.