As a Sales Manager or Sales Director, you will have come across the same issue: really good salespeople are a rare, valuable, and expensive commodity. No doubt a significant amount of your time over the years has been spent trying to hire new recruits to provide the required capacity to meet and exceed your targets.
However there is one question that’s not so often asked, which is:
Could I reduce the admin workload of my current team to provide more time for selling?
No doubt you have some excellent people in the team – what if you could create another 5%, 10% or even 20% capacity just by more efficiently using your current resources?
Reviewing Sales Efficiency
I believe that there are three key questions to ask when conducting this kind of efficiency review:
- If you look at the tasks that form your sales execs’ core job role, could any of these tasks be done cheaper and/or more effectively by others? I’ve often known expensive sales people carrying big targets who were expected to carry out tasks which they simply didn’t do very well. For example, enterprise salespeople are often expected to generate many of their own leads – typically this can be done more effectively by specialists, for example outsourced marketing agencies and even junior sales execs. Likewise with proposal writing – could this be separated as a specialist job role, or made more efficient by creating a templated process which either reduces the work or means it can be performed by an administrator?
- How much “dead time” do your salespeople have, and could it be used more effectively? Do you have KPI’s to provide evidence of where time has been invested? Many successful companies link commercial accelerators to evidence of good sales ops to ensure leads are being followed up a minimum of five times and thus not wasted.
- As a related point, could you streamline your processes by using technology more effectively? For example, do your sales staff have the tools to enable them to carry out necessary admin while they’re on the train, or at Starbucks before their meeting? The costs of providing the right infrastructure can be significant, but are typically very substantially lower than the cost of missed opportunities and inefficiency.
In relation to Point 3, so many opportunities exist for improving efficiency through technology, that I felt it made sense to expand on some of these in a dedicated section below.
Driving Sales Efficiency Through the Right Technology
The right tech for the job will to some degree be specific to your particular team, however it can include things like automating follow-ups, using a solution like HubSpot Sales Pro or Salesforce, or implementing a specialist document and contract management solution such as PandaDoc. The latter will mean fewer opportunities for a sales opportunity to drop out due to a simpler conversion process.
One really exciting technology which can have a huge impact on efficiency, as well as improving CRM data quality, is LiiD (pronounced “lead” as in “sales lead”). We found LiiD so powerful from an internal perspective, that we now offer it as part of our own solutions portfolio.
For years I, and many Sales Directors I know, have had a big problem getting salespeople to log the details of calls made or received when out of the office - when they’re at the desk they fill in the CRM, but they don’t capture the calls they’ve made on the road. Even if you can get a process to make them log the calls, this takes precious office-time which could be spent on the phone.
Visibility on Pipeline and Opportunities
Generally speaking salespeople are often pulled in many directions at once and thus updating the company CRM, while critical to intelligence and forecasting, often falls by the wayside.
Applications like LiiD integrate with CRM’s to automatically log calls made or received on mobile phones, and also automatically capture emails. Additional functionality includes enabling call and meeting notes to be recorded using voice-to-text technology, and a Personal Sales Assistant function – providing the salesperson with a list of tasks, such as emails requiring response and missed calls.
Measuring how and where your sales team invest their time means that often wins can be made in terms of resourcing, as well as cost of sale. Outsourcing and Automation are both powerful tools when it comes to ensuring that your team hits their sales targets and their time is spent on generating revenue, not undertaking admin.
Applications like PandaDoc, LiiD and Sales Pro on HubSpot can drive significant improvements in dead-time, minimisation of office-based sales-admin, and enhancements in data quality and insights to make sure that you are delivering on commercial targets.