Boosting sales productivity is challenging, but it's also one of the most important procedural improvements a business can take on. In a business scene where 20% of salespeople make 80% of an organization's sales, according to The Balance Small Business, the benefits of motivating an entire department are obvious: more customers, a better reputation, and — of course — more revenue.
Naturally, technology can make a big splash when it comes to boosting sales productivity — and just as surely, communication should be front of mind for businesses looking to bolster their sales department via tech. As they revise and refine sales productivity and processes, companies should ask themselves these questions.
1. Is Sales Productivity Suffering Due to Communication Redundancy?
A customer, not knowing whether their assigned rep is at their desk or on mobile, struggles to figure out which number to call. A rep in search of information sends an SMS message to a number a colleague primarily uses for faxes. Multiplied across the whole organization, these sorts of missteps can bring sales activity to a halt, damaging productivity and needlessly sending potential buyers to the competition.
Focusing on simplicity can help, but only if the tools still enable a sales unit to communicate in all the ways they and their customers need. Unified communications — known best as UCaaS, a cloud-based take on the model — can help an organization make major strides in this regard. With the technology in place, reps can carry one number from desk to smart device to laptop, answering seamlessly no matter where they are when that big prospect calls. Built-in conferencing and collaboration tools make project management and other crucial tasks easier no matter who's in the field and who's in the office. Easy scalability and integration with the business's current tools, meanwhile, grow with the business without getting in the way. If there's no single magic bullet for boosting sales productivity, UCaaS is pretty close — as countless sales organizations using the technology will readily attest.
2. Do Our Tools Support Omnichannel Communications?
By the same token, there's no question that expanded communication options, while helpful on the whole, can make it hard for reps to stay on top of which customer prefers which channel. While a phone call may still be the de facto standard for many customers, others may prefer to send or receive a quick SMS message or even communicate over social media. Finding a tool that supports it all, with minimum hassle, isn't always easy.
In this instance, UCaaS's ability to integrate with the platforms and channels that sales reps and their customers rely on most is an important addition for any organization. Instead of shoehorning potential buyers into formats the selling business chooses, buyers can send questions and receive answers largely however they like — and reps can respond no matter what device they happen to be using at the time.
When a sales rep's communications platform both adds to your customer intelligence and makes that data easier to access, their job becomes significantly easier.
3. How Do Our Sales Reps Climb Silo Walls?
From the public sector to the private, from enterprise to small biz, the inability for certain solutions to share data amongst one another can be a killer. In a sales productivity context, these silos can create needless busywork or prevent certain data from being reached by certain platforms. Just as worrisome, they can make it difficult to obtain information from other departments within the business, making everything from lead tracking to regulatory compliance harder than it needs to be.
The secret to busting down the walls? Integrations. Consider a platform that integrates with popular customer relationship management (CRM) tools such as Salesforce. When a sales rep's communications platform both adds to your customer intelligence and makes that data easier to access, their job becomes significantly easier. That's especially true when the platform works across the gamut of mobile and desktop hardware. Why let important sales info bounce off the silo walls when a better solution is available?
4. Do Reps Use Unofficial Tools to Get Around Communication Problems?
Sales reps are as tech-dependent as the rest of us, and they have just as little patience for inefficiency. If the official tools available to them don't do the job, many reps will be just as happy to use an unofficial solution instead. Many departments use commercial cloud file boxes or collaboration software because their employers don't make an officially supported alternative available.
Known as shadow IT, this problem has potential ramifications, ranging from consumer privacy to business operations. It's worth the organization's time to figure out what people are using and why; they can then use this info to select official communication tools people will want to use instead. A little updated policy and a few training courses later and everyone's happier: Reps get official support for tools they rely on daily, customers get a better experience, and the business gets a tool that improves productivity across teams.
Better Productivity, More Sales
It's all too easy to let a sales unit with decent performance languish, while certain roadblocks hold them back from better performance; on the inverse, figuring out exactly what's wrong with a poor performing department can be hugely frustrating. In either event, gleaning better performance from sales personnel is all too often a matter of asking the right questions — and organizations with productivity concerns would be well advised to consider the above four in particular. Happy selling!