With the current macroeconomic headwinds that are affecting the tech industry, there’s never been a more important time to become a more efficient and effective salesperson.
Prospects are starting to tighten their belts when it comes to purchasing new software, and they’re being more diligent when it comes to choosing the right solution—resulting in longer sales cycles and discounted deals.
Many companies have also increased their reps’ quotas despite reducing headcount and marketing spend. To be a successful sales rep in today's climate, you need to be able to do more with less and become more efficient in your day-to-day activities.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll provide you with the tools and strategies to do exactly this—whether you’re a seasoned sales professional or new to the game. From setting clear goals and priorities to streamlining your sales process and using technology to your advantage, we’ve got you covered.
The first strategy to becoming a more efficient seller is to prioritize certain activities throughout your day that result in the most impactful results.
Sales pros are busy: back-to-back meetings, Slack notifications, training sessions, prospecting, learning about competitors, this list goes on. It can become overwhelming. But by prioritizing your tasks, you can focus on the most important and impactful work rather than getting bogged down in less crucial tasks.
A good technique to understand task prioritization is to write down a list of goals each day and rank them in terms of importance. There will then be a list of tasks to accomplish in order of importance, which allows for ordered completion and better focus.
A typical seller activity list might include the following:
The second strategy to becoming an efficient seller is to set clear, measurable goals. This means stating exactly what you want to accomplish and how you will measure it. For example, instead of setting a goal to "get better at prospecting," set a goal to "increase the number of cold emails sent by 100 a quarter." This specific goal can be tracked and measured, allowing you to see if you have achieved it.
Another key aspect of setting clear, measurable goals is to ensure that they are challenging, but achievable.
It’s important to push yourself and strive to improve, but setting unrealistic goals can lead to frustration and failure. It can be helpful to break larger goals down into smaller, more manageable tasks and focus on making progress on these before tackling larger goals.
Instead of the overwhelming “increasing number of cold email sent by 100 a quarter” metric, you can break it down into smaller goals that amount to the same outcome:
Five more emails per day sounds far less daunting than 100 emails each quarter.
Staying organized is essential for any seller; it helps keep track of tasks, customer information, and the overall sales pipeline. There are many tools and techniques you can use to stay organized, including keeping an organized customer relationship management (CRM) system, maintaining a to-do list, and using calendar and scheduling software.
Keeping a clean CRM is the first thing sellers can do to maintain optimum organization. CRMs are where all customer data is kept, and through updating this system regularly, sellers are able to see exactly where customers are in their sales cycle while getting alerts about overdue tasks and activities.
Not updating your CRM can result in lost visibility on where deals stand, what the best next moves are, and what the pipeline looks like. Here are a few best practices for keeping your CRM up to date as a seller.
One of the easiest things you can do as a seller is to be diligent about where deals stand in your pipeline. Without doing this, it can result in a lack of visibility for the business in terms of where deals stand, and also take a lot of time out of your day as a seller having to deal with questions from sales leadership. Accurately update deals inside of CRM as they happen, and save time by not having to answer questions.
In a similar way that moving deals through the sales process is important for good CRM hygiene, it’s also important to add context to account records. If you’ve had a call with a prospect, be sure to add in the notes from the call so there’s a clear paper trail of what has happened in the account and what the next steps are.
The final best practice for sellers in keeping an accurate and up-to-date CRM is using tags and custom fields correctly.
A custom field is a field in your CRM put in to gather information that the business finds valuable. A custom field could be a box that asks where a customer heard about your company. It's up to the sales reps to fill in this box with the source of the lead, which is served up to other internal teams in the form of a report and helps refine lead generation strategy based on the information entered.
Maintaining a to-do list is another effective way to stay organized. A to-do list allows you to keep track of tasks that need to be completed and prioritize them based on importance. You can use a physical list or an app to create your to-do list.
Lack of focus and noise is your biggest enemy as a seller, so having a step-by-step task list can help refocus you when days suddenly get busy with internal meetings, ad hoc calls, and other activities.
The final thing to help you stay organized is by using calendars and scheduling tools effectively. Time-blocking after calls for CRM hygiene and call follow-up is just one way that sales reps can take control of their calendars and ensure that they don't get overwhelmed.
There are handy scheduling tools made for scheduling meetings with customers and prospects. All you have to do is share a simple booking link, allowing easy meeting scheduling without the tedious back and forth to find out when somebody is available.
Sellers are valuable because they bring in revenue for the business. However, sellers spend less than 36% of their time selling, and are instead wasting time on non-value add activities.
Time is a valuable resource, and it's important to use it wisely. This means focusing on tasks that are most important and delegating or outsourcing tasks that aren’t.
As noted before, with the challenging fiscal environment, sales leaders are asking their reps to work at higher velocity while still maintaining similar win rates. To do this, reps need to provide top-notch demos to prospects.
A large part of providing a quality demo is getting a prospect into a sandbox version of the tool so that they can truly test out the solution prior to purchase.
It can take days to create a fully functional sandbox environment, but with TestBox, the heavy lifting is done for you, helping boost the potential of converting on your demos. TestBox enables sales teams to spin up custom sandboxes at scale in a matter of minutes. Prospects are given immediate access to a demo environment, which is fully populated with data, and they are able to experience your software at its best.
Additional analytics also show you who has been into the demo environment and what features they click into the most, helping sellers to personalize follow-up outreach, making it easier to land the sale.
The seller gets time back, and the prospect (potential customer)’s buying experience is improved as they are able to try out the tool immediately with no long wait times.
One of the keys to being an efficient seller is learning to say no. This doesn't mean being rude or uncooperative, but it does mean being selective about the tasks you take on. If a task doesn't align with your goals or priorities, it's okay to say no.
Saying no can be difficult, especially if you are trying to please your boss or a customer.
However, it's important to remember that it's okay to set boundaries. By learning to say no, you can protect your time and energy and focus on business-critical work.
It's also important to communicate effectively when saying no. Instead of simply saying "no," explain your reasoning and offer an alternative solution. For example, if you’re unable to take on a new project, a friendly apology plus a referral to another team member can do wonders. By offering an alternative solution, you can still be helpful and maintain a good relationship that you may be able to take back on at a later time.
Streamlining means identifying any bottlenecks or inefficiencies in your process and finding ways to remove them. Something that can help streamline your sales process is automation software.
Automation tools are a good way to handle routine tasks or reorganize your sales pipeline to reduce the number of steps to a closed deal. They can be very useful for streamlining your sales process. These tools can handle tasks like sending emails, scheduling appointments, or updating customer information.
Luckily for sales reps, there are a lot of tools available that can help automate repetitive, tedious tasks:
You can also create custom, automated workflow alerts that ping into Slack if you want to update your sales manager of when you close a deal, among many other ways to automate your workflows.
TestBox can also help with streamlining the sales process. Before TestBox, teams were spending hours creating sandboxes for customers to play around in. Now, with TestBox, sales reps can spin up custom sandboxes in a matter of minutes—drastically cutting the time spent.
TestBox can save sales reps at least 10 hours per week—time that can be put back into prospecting and closing deals.
Being an efficient seller is not a one-time achievement. It requires continuous improvement and learning. This means staying up-to-date on industry trends and best practices and seeking out opportunities to learn and grow.
When new sales tools come into market, it's up to sellers to keep on top of new tools, and assess and incorporate them into their workflows. Reps should also keep up-to-date with the latest selling trends, news, and the overall health of the market.
Additionally, learning new sales skills and tactics through training programs, networking events, or industry conferences is another way to continuously up-skill.
Being an efficient salesperson helps save time and energy, allowing reps to close more deals and increase revenue. With the strategies outlined above, you can become an efficient seller and drive more success for your business.
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