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  • Writer's pictureAgnes Lan

4 Steps to Increase Sales Efficiency with Technology

Productivity = f {Efficiency x Effectiveness}

The terms sales efficiency and sales effectiveness are buzzwords you're bound to hear in today's workforce. The key difference is that sales effectiveness is all about what you work on to drive revenue while sales efficiency is focused on doing those things quickly, without wasting time.

Figuring out how to be effective in your sales strategy is tricky, but once you figure out what you need to be doing, becoming efficient at it can also be a challenge. That's where technology is beginning to play an ever-increasingly important role.

With that said, there is a lot more to achieving sales efficiency and leveraging technology than simply subscribing to platforms or installing software. With time being such a valuable and finite resource, you have to be strategic in your approach to improving sales efficiency.

What Does It Mean To Be Inefficient?

One thing is for certain, efficiency is relative. A sales process that is inefficient can end up costing an organization a substantial amount of lost revenue each and every year until the inefficiencies are addressed. This is a part of business that needs constant attention and analysis too, because a sales process that is efficient today may be lackluster with tomorrow's innovations.

Remaining competitive and having efficient sales processes go hand in hand. With the latter, you'll be able to drive sales more quickly and with less investment (of time and money). But, how do you know whether or not your current sales processes are inefficient?

One of the two ways that inefficiency occurs is with sales reps not being able to find content. In fact, the most common source of both ineffectiveness and inefficiency directly relates to content. It takes an average of 18 minutes for a representative to find the content they're looking for. S/he ends up recreating content, that wastes even more time. Inefficient. Or, the rep blindly, without knowing what works, or without tailoring it to the person's needs, sends generic content. Ineffective.

Therefore, one of the first inefficiencies your workplace should address is how sales reps access content. This will also tie into the effectiveness of the sales process as a whole because you’ll have to look at how sales reps determine what content to send.

4 Steps to Better Efficiency

Achieving better sales efficiency is by no means impossible. While it's a worthy undertaking, you should expect to invest a good deal of time and energy into the process of achieving higher efficiency. There are three steps you should look to follow.

Step #1: Benchmark your Processes

You cannot begin to worry about sales efficiency until you have established the fact that your sales processes are effective. You must first review your sales processes to ensure that your organization is committed to doing the right activities, in the right order, before you begin to dive into sales efficiency. Trying to make an ineffective process efficient is a waste of time.

In order to make sure your sales processes are as effective as possible, you need to assemble your sales leaders. These leaders then need to be tasked with outlining a sales process that they can consistently follow to drive revenue. You'll then need to discuss and set new sales objectives based on this process.

Define the activities that relate to the various sales goals the team needs to set and then have the company follow-through with a plan of action. According to HBR research, companies that follow a defined workflow are 33% more likely to be high performers.

Step #2: Streamline your Technology

As the old proverb says, “time is money.” It can't be more true than when you are in sales. Every minute we spend doing reports is a minute away from talking to our customers. Reducing time spent on administrative tasks has direct impact to your bottom line. Are the administrative tasks driving the business forward? Technology can help to simplify the administrative process.

Once you've identified your value-added effective processes, you might even be leveraging technology to help you with some of it already. Take a step back and see if you can streamline your technology. Why are you using Office 365 for emailing and Webex for conferencing? Are you using Salesforce as a CRM and Freshdesk for trying customer service calls?

Step #3: Invest In Training

Whether you’re having to alter your sales process a little or a lot, investing in on-going training is one of the most effective ways of driving revenue within your organization.

The facts tell all. While fewer than 45% of companies have established a formal training process on sales, continuous training has been shown to bring up to 50% more net sales per sales rep. Even if the team knows what they should be doing, they may not know how to do it. Training ensures they can put the plan into action.

Step #4: Begin Optimization

Finally, once you have established an effective sales process and trained your reps on how to execute it, you can begin optimizing all of it. The optimization process will consist of analysis and discussion where you look for areas in the process where sales reps are spending a lot of time.

Redundant activities, like follow-up emails, are one of the first areas you’ll look to optimize as you begin exploring the many ways technology can help. Automation is my best friend. Later, you can move onto implementing tools that will promote greater efficiency with the actions sales reps have to take themselves--for instance, you might implement a knowledge library so they can easily find content. Hello Docurated.

Last Thoughts

With technology's ability to automate, cut costs, and increase output, achieving sales efficiency without it is a difficult feat. Chances are, your competitors have already adopted many technologies to help improve sales efficiency, so if you aren't doing the same, you're lagging behind. Ignite the engines. It's time to optimize. Stay tuned. Next week, I'm going to share with you my 3 favorite sales efficiency tools.

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