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sales and operations planning
6 Strategies to Save Time and Increase Sales
If you’re in sales, you know that organization and time management are critical. Mark Hunter, author of the best-selling book High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price, explains at last year’s Dreamforce session, “The most critical asset you have in your organization is your salespeople’s time. Time is the only asset that is limited.”; By allowing your sales force to be more organized and to use their time more effectively, the entire company can benefit through higher sales. Help your salespeople focus on the WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHY, and HOW of sales and operations planning.
1. Prioritize who you work with
Spending more time with clients can be one of the most significant changes an organization or a salesperson can make. Measure your time spent either on the phone or face-to-face with a client or lead. And find ways to continue to increase that metric quarter over quarter and year over year.
Not all leads are equal. Spend more time with leads and customers, but do so with the right ones who are ready to buy now. In order to know which ones are ready now adopt a process known as scoring leads. Using this system has shown to reduce the sales cycle by 25 percent. Therefore, with a lead scoring process in place, your sales force can focus on the people most likely to buy soon. However, the other leads should not be ignored, but should be given to a separate team to be nurtured.
2. Prioritize what you do
If you don’t set your own priorities, someone else will. That is too often the case in sales where meetings and paperwork often overshadow the more important tasks of building customer relationships. In order to maintain control of your priorities, spend time planning the night before and choose one or two critical tasks to complete the next day.
“Organizations don’t have a time management problem, they have a priority management problem,” Hunter asserts. He explains that when a typical sales professional’s week is tracked, approximately two days each week is spent in the office doing paperwork. If businesses want higher sales productivity, paperwork time must be decreased. Sales reps’ time needs to be spent with clients and not on internal meetings and paperwork. The most productive sales activities are building relationships with clients, scoring leads, and focusing on the right customers at the right time. Internal paperwork can be streamlined and reduced by adopting efficient CRM systems. In fact, businesses who adopted Salesforce CRM saw sales productivity increase by 32 percent.
3. Prioritize your time
It’s easy to get caught up in being busy without realizing it. But that doesn’t necessarily translate into productivity. A clear example of this is email, the one area that demands time but doesn’t always bring results. Yes, email is a critical tool, but it isn’t part of the critical face-to-face measurement that can increase your sales.
Jill Konrath, author of three award-winning books on selling, argues that email is the number one productivity drain for salespeople. Emails can be a big time waster, taking up nearly 28 hours per week, composing and answering emails. And the average person checks their email 30 times every hour, says Konrath who suggests scheduling time to check and answer email.
An option to reduce the amount of time spent toggling between your project management program and email is a CRM with email integration, an essential productivity strategy for busy salespeople.
4. Be Online Productively
The internet can be a distracting place with social media recently becoming the number one distraction. Even researching clients online can quickly fall off-topic.
But online research can be streamlined for productivity, helping sales people connect with clients on a more personal level.
A quick and easy way to scan the web to see if new news or press releases have been published about your clients is through Salesforce’s Lightning CRM platform. The personal assistant feature allows you distraction-free information all in one convenient place.
Being informed of your clients helps you keep in contact with them. When you hear news of a promotion, you can send a congratulations card. A new promotion may also mean more purchasing power. If you hear news of a merger, congratulations should be in order as well as an opportunity to discuss the needs of the new, larger company.
Reining in email, social media, and Internet research helps salespeople take huge strides in their productivity.
5. Save time and increase sales
The bottom line behind being more productive in sales is just that: to increase your bottom line. When salespeople and their managers are cognizant of effective time management practices, more time can be spent on customers and winning deals.
Maintaining attention span is essential to be productive. Schedule time in your calendar for paperwork, cold calls, customer visits and work in blocks of time.
Though it’s tempting to multitask, don’t. Simply stated, multitasking isn’t effective. A Stanford study showed that the people who thought they were good at multi-tasking were actually slower at completing tasks and had more trouble organizing their thoughts. Instead, set your timer and stick to one task. Working in blocks of time decreases the temptation to multitask
Konrath is an advocate of working in “chunks” of time and even suggests having a set time (or times) to enter customer information into your CRM. Working this way allows you to focus on one task while still maintaining the important data in the customer management system.
6. Use CRM for everything
CRM management software can be the most effective tool out there for increasing sales productivity. On average, small businesses that use a Salesforce CRM customer management system saw an increase in their overall sales by 27%, and saw win rates improve by 29%.
Businesses who use CRM project management efficiently for sales and operations planning look to it as a “single source of truth” for their data. Every contact and sale should be recorded in CRM in order to efficiently access information. Cloud-based CRM is especially efficient because sales reps can update CRM from any mobile device. That means there’s no more lost contact information because it was written on a scrap of paper or on a napkin.
Integrating a CRM system into your business is one of the smartest actions you can take for efficiency. For salespeople, a good CRM system is a must. CRM management software helps keep all customer information, records of conversations, and details about deals in one place.