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How to Improve Sales Productivity and Boost Team Efficiency

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As the backbone of any business, the sales team needs to be efficient to meet targets and ensure the company remains profitable. Keeping an eye on your team’s sales productivity is one of the best ways to track performance and nip bottlenecks in the bud.

When you can pinpoint dips in productivity and identify the elements that contribute to slower workflows, you can make the changes needed to support your sales team. An improvement in productivity translates to more deals closed and more revenue for your business, which means productivity directly impacts your bottom line.

This article puts the spotlight on what sales productivity means, why it’s crucial, and strategies you can employ to take your team’s productivity from 0 to 100 fast. We’ll also explore some of the challenges sales reps face that impact their productivity, detail how to calculate your team’s sales productivity, and discuss the best tools to help you increase it.

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What is sales productivity?

Sales productivity is a measure of how productive your sales team is. It boils down to two core elements: efficiency and efficacy. It also relates to how well your sales team and related teams employ the time and resources available to achieve sales goals.

When teams waste time and money, their productivity suffers. Improving productivity is about getting the most out of your team while efficiently using time, resources, and budget. A more productive team leads to more deals, revenue, and growth.


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Why is sales productivity important?

Apart from the obvious benefit of additional revenue, improving your sales productivity can have several significant positive effects on your business, such as:

  • Maintained profitability: Often, a lack of productivity results in the business losing money or running at a loss, which your team can turn around through increased efficiency.
  • Improved morale: Productive strategies help streamline sales team tasks, giving reps more time to focus on selling, which sales team members prefer.
  • Affordable growth: When the team is more productive, you can look forward to more business growth without the expense of additional team members.
  • Balanced work/life: Implementing efficient and productive processes means that your team spends less time working after hours, reducing the risk of burnout and fostering a happier team.
  • Better forecasting: Improved sales productivity sets the pace, giving you the opportunity to measure performance, set averages, and make more accurate predictions about upcoming sales revenue. 
  • Faster onboarding: After building more efficient and effective processes, you’ll have a fine-tuned prospecting, qualifying, and lead nurturing system that makes it easy for new recruits to get up to speed.
  • Higher customer retention rates: With your uber-productive sales reps on the job, your customers will have a more enriched customer experience, instilling trust and loyalty.

Common sales rep productivity obstacles

Perhaps you’re still wondering whether all this talk of improved productivity is worth your time. Let’s consider the alternative. The following serves as a peek into the challenges typical sales teams face today that hinder their productivity.

Multiple touchpoints

In this day and age, sales teams must contend with both the physical and online worlds, which introduces many customer touchpoints for most companies. As a result, queries and leads can come in through various channels, and without sound systems in place to organize prospect information and tasks, opportunities can fall through the cracks.

Customer knowledge

With everything you could possibly want to know available online, it’s easier than ever for customers and prospects to educate themselves about a product or service. The need for sales reps to equip themselves with advanced technical knowledge regarding their industry and offerings is now crucial to success.

Technological advancements

Because sales teams play such a critical role in any company, there are numerous business-related applications and systems aimed at improving sales, lead generation, and customer data management. In fact, technology is evolving at such a rapid pace that many sales teams struggle to keep up with the changes.

Sales techniques

Without standardized sales processes, sales reps lead with their preferred techniques, which can prove challenging. These techniques could differ vastly from one rep to the next, making managing interactions and buyer journeys tricky.

Admin-heavy lead nurturing

Our internet-centric society has shifted a significant portion of decision-making to the online environment. Sales teams have adapted to this, spending far more time interacting with prospects and customers via online channels. The result is that sales reps spend more time doing administrative-type work when conversing with customers and less time managing leads and pipelines.


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How do you measure sales productivity?

When it comes to measuring sales productivity, most businesses look at quantitative metrics, such as:

  • Number of sales made per hour worked
  • Sales per sales team member
  • Number of sales per contact

However, there are more metrics that teams should consider to give them a holistic view of the status quo. Numbers can only tell you so much. Analyzing the qualitative metrics related to sales rep productivity gives you insight into sales team soft and hard skills that also have an impact on your sales process efficiency and efficacy.

Essential sales metrics: the numbers

Here are some of the core quantitative metrics you should measure to determine how productive your sales team is.

  • How long they spent selling: Use a time-tracking tool to determine the percentage of each sales rep’s workday spent on revenue-generating tasks as opposed to administrative tasks.
  • Percentage of deals: Calculate how effective your sales rep is by dividing the total of won sales by the total proposals sent over a specific period to get a closed rate percentage.
  • Response time: Find out how long it takes your reps to reach out to a new lead by taking note of the number of hours or minutes from lead capture to initial engagement.
  • Cross-sells and upsells: Divide cross-sells or upsells by total customer interactions to work out each sales team member’s cross-sell and upsell rates, which reveals how effective they are at selling to existing customers.
  • Prospect-to-customer cycle: Establish the average time it takes team members to complete the sales cycle by measuring the time from first contact with the lead to when the deal is won over a specified period.
  • Sales totals per rep: Calculate the total revenue generated per team member by dividing your total revenue by the number of sales reps.
  • Number of proposals: Recording how many proposals each sales rep has sent to customers and leads over a given period tells you how busy they’ve been and aids in calculating that team member’s close rate.
  • Total demos done: Keep an eye on how many demos team members execute over a particular period and what percentage turned into deals, as demos are often an integral part of closing deals.
  • Number of outbound calls: Look at how many calls your team members made to customers and leads and how many of those calls resulted in sales to determine how effective the team’s outbound calls are.
  • Email outreach success: Determine how successful each team member’s email outreach is by tracking the total responses received on lead and customer outreach emails and the type of replies received over a period.

Essential sales metrics: hard and soft skills

Sales productivity is about more than just data. Your sales rep’s abilities, customer relationships, and overall approach to sales play a vital role, too. These are some of the more qualitative metrics you should keep track of when measuring sales productivity:

  • Ability to build relationships: Relationship-building is at the heart of sales, so it’s in your best interests to speak to clients and prospects to get feedback regarding their perception of your sales reps and the service they’ve received.
  • Collaboration with team: Regular and unhindered communication with team members and other departments is key to success in sales, so asking for some feedback from your peers about how often and well your sales reps interact with them is also beneficial.
  • Adaptability to change: Speak to your team members regularly about any challenges they’ve faced recently and how they overcame them to determine how they handle change.
  • Adoption of new technology: As technology plays such an important role in the modern sales landscape, it’s essential to evaluate how your reps use software such as a CRM to manage leads and how they deal with tech updates or changes.

7 strategies to increase sales team productivity 

Increasing sales team productivity requires implementing new systems in different areas to support an efficient and structured sales process.

1. Sales training and development

Training is an essential part of growth as a sales professional, and your team should receive regular training to help them deliver the results you desire.

Consider both third-party courses and regular internal training covering topics like sales techniques, product knowledge, understanding your sales process, and learning how to take advantage of new technologies.

2. Automate non-selling activities

Streamline your sales process by investing in software that lets you automate administrative non-selling tasks. This will save your sales team members heaps of time and allow them to focus on moving leads through the pipeline or engaging with existing customers for upsells and cross-sells.

3. Motivate with incentives

Keep team morale high through inter-team competitions and incentives. Rewarding your team members for completing tasks that improve sales productivity is an ideal way to keep them motivated and reinforce the process you’ve put in place.

It may also be a good idea to use stand-out achievements as examples for other team members and allow those who excel to teach those who may find things more challenging.

4. Bring sales and marketing together

While sales and marketing departments often operate in silos, they’re actually working toward the same goal, namely lead generation and conversions. That’s why it makes a whole lot more sense for sales and marketing teams to work as one to improve sales productivity.

Sales and marketing teams should meet regularly and have shared goals geared toward increasing deals and revenue. They should also all have easy access to the same data on a shared platform and the ability to communicate with each other seamlessly throughout the workday.

5. Organize and share important data

Sharing sales data with the marketing team, and vice versa, ensures these teams have access to identical and accurate information for analyzing and strategizing. But it’s just as crucial for other departments in your organization to access this data, too.

The ideal solution is using powerful customer relationship management (CRM) software to organize and manage your customer data. When every department in your organization can access this central database, you pave the way for enhanced customer experiences at every company touch point.

6. Create a structured sales process

Drawing up a playbook or similar document is one way to put your sales process on paper, so to speak. But, capturing your process within your CRM through custom pipelines comprising well-considered stages and integral tasks is the perfect way to get new sales team members into the flow of things.

A sales pipeline designed to follow your specific and preferred sales cycle makes for a smoother onboarding process. It also ensures that existing team members stick to the script, following your tried, tested, and constantly updated process for optimal sales productivity.

7. Measure, assess, and adjust

The sales process is an ever-evolving animal susceptible to change through both internal and external elements. For this reason, you should measure your team’s quantitative and qualitative sales metrics weekly or monthly to ensure your system is still effective for your team.

You should also exercise a quarterly sales productivity audit to determine whether you need to make any major sales process changes. Constant measurement, assessment, and adaptation are necessary to ensure your team’s productivity remains at its best.


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Best tools for boosting sales productivity

Proper data organization, team collaboration, measurement and analysis, and structuring and restructuring sales processes will all aid in inching you closer to your sales productivity goals. However, embracing the technology available to support and uplift sales teams will help you meet and exceed those objectives.

CRM software

There’s a reason CRM software is at the top of this list. CRM systems can help your sales team boost productivity in several ways. 

Typically, modern CRMs are so robust that they can help you with everything from capturing leads to managing customer data, streamlining tasks, customizing processes, moving leads through the pipeline, forecasting, and more.

That’s why a good CRM is essential for any sales team, especially those who want to improve their productivity and ensure a great customer experience.

Nutshell is an industry-leading CRM packed with all the features you need to empower your sales team and increase their productivity and profitability.

Automation tools

Many automation tools exist to automate repetitive tasks, helping individuals save time. And plenty of automation tools are on the market, specifically designed to assist sales reps with non-selling tasks. In fact, a quality CRM will include many of the automation options your sales team might require.

These tools can automate a broad spectrum of tasks, including lead advancement within the pipeline, drawing up reports, sending prospecting emails, and assigning leads, tasks, and activities. Using an automation tool ensures teams complete specific non-selling tasks and gives them more time to focus on qualifying and engaging with leads and customers.

Nutshell’s CRM allows you to automate a host of sales tasks, making it easier to better your team’s efficiency and overall productivity.

Sales intelligence tools

Advancements in technology have introduced sales intelligence software and platforms into the industry. This software crawls the internet, gathering information that fills the gaps in your customer and prospect data and equips sales teams with the information they need to lift their game.

Some of the information you can expect these sales intelligence tools to capture includes company information, job titles, contact details, social media activity, and more. 

Choosing a leading CRM like Nutshell will give you access to a powerful sales intelligence tool baked into the system. Our system also includes a competitor intelligence tool that gives you inside information on what your competitors are up to. 

Maximize sales productivity with leading CRM technology

Don’t waste another moment dealing with subpar sales figures and inefficient sales processes. Bring an affordable, top-tier CRM into the mix to boost your sales team’s productivity and your company’s bottom line.

It’s no accident that Nutshell is one of the top CRMs on the market and is listed on G2’s top 10 CRM software list. As an all-in-one CRM, Nutshell delivers everything sales, marketing, and customer success teams need to ensure cohesive service delivery in the most productive manner possible.

Experience Nutshell’s extraordinary features for yourself by signing up for a no-obligation, free 14-day trial (no credit card required). Kick the tires and discover why thousands of businesses worldwide choose Nutshell to increase sales productivity and much more.

Not ready for a trial yet? Sit in on one of our free 30-minute live demos, where you’ll see Nutshell in action and have the opportunity to ask questions. You can also explore our pre-recorded webinars and guided tours to see Nutshell features in use at your own pace.

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Give our powerful, easy-to-use CRM a try for free for 14 days! Or join a live demo to see Nutshell at work!



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