In response to his article, Perfect the Elements of Your Selling that You Control, I asked Andy Paul, a leading sales acceleration author, speaker and coach, a series of questions of questions on sales training and continuous learning. Here’s Part 4 of that series.
What is one piece of advice you have for sales leaders/managers that they can use to make their reps more productive?
AP: If you want to make your reps more productive, focus on time.
Unfortunately, the term productive is misused in sales. Productivity is a measure of the rate of output for a given unit of input. In the case of sales, that output is revenue and that input is time.
But, what unit of time? If you’re like most managers, you measure the length of your sales cycle in days, weeks or months. The problem with that approach is that days, weeks and months are a measure of how long your prospect takes to make a decision. They aren't a relevant measure of how much sales time you invested to win the order.
You should be measuring your sales cycle in hours. How many sales hours do your sales reps need to invest in order to move a prospect from interest to a decision? That is a true measure of sales productivity.
Sales reps have a fixed inventory of time. Assuming that they are adequately trained and capable, the quantity of time they invest in a sales opportunity is the variable that ultimately controls their sales productivity.
This doesn’t mean focusing on ways to increase the number of hours of sales time a sales rep has. You should try to do that anyway. It will give your reps more time to sell. But it fundamentally doesn’t improve their productivity and it won’t increase their revenue per sales hour.
To increase sales productivity, you, as sales leaders, should focus your efforts and your investment in the hiring, professional development and technology that will enable your sales reps to generate more revenue per hour of sales time.
In short, your objective should be to increase the value a sales rep can deliver during each sales interaction with a prospect in order to reduce the number of such sales interactions required to help the prospect across the finish line to a winning decision. This may not short the customer’s decision cycle (though it probably will) but it will increase your sales productivity.
For more sales tips, ideas and strategies from Andy, visit his blog, The Sales Fix.
For details on how Brainshark helps reps have more productive, successful sales conversation, take a tour of the Brainshark Sales Accelerator.