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Sales productivity: 4 common pitfalls you really should avoid

Despite all the sales talent in your ranks, consistently pulling great numbers is not easy. Do you sometimes wonder what's holding back your sales?

Some people seem born to sell while others have a harder time closing their deals. Preferably, you mostly employ the former. Still, despite all the sales talent in your ranks, consistently pulling great numbers is not easy. And it's not always a people problem.

Do you sometimes wonder what's holding back your sales? Take a look at these 4 common sales pitfalls, and see if they apply to your sales team.

1. Your sales reps are Jacks of all trades

We've said it before and we'll say it again: being busy is not the same as being productive. Most people enjoy a bit of diversity in their workday, but spending too much time on tasks that do very little for your sales performance, is not a winning strategy.

The most successful salespeople never take their eyes off the prize. And the prize is: closing deals. Reeling in customers. Up- and cross-selling. Everything else is debris for salespeople, and should be delegated.

Because handing over responsibilities that don't directly contribute to your sales targets is not laziness, it's being effective. Even for a junior. Sales should never bother with customer service questions, even for customers they brought in. That's a job for customer service, who will - if they're both well-trained and aligned with sales - likely do it better and faster. Something customers surely appreciate.

Bicycle2. Your sales cycle is needlessly long

Imagine a brightly lit meeting room. We're in a big lead's headquarters. Two decision makers are present: the CEO and CFO. In walks your best sales rep. She opens up her laptop, switches on the beamer and starts the world's best product presentation. Twenty minutes later, everyone's in awe. The CEO nods approvingly, and signs a big contract. Another lucrative deal is in the bag.

Alas, that's not how sales work in the real world. Leads need to be properly researched and qualified. Phone numbers and email addresses need to be gathered, calls made and mails sent, approaches considered and necessary steps taken. At that point, you still haven't really presented your product nor convinced your lead of its merits. You're quite a long way from a done deal.

An overly long sales cycle hampers your productivity. Map out the tasks that lead up to a sale and analyse the time your salespeople spend on it. You may find some glaring time-consumers that unnecessarily prolong your sales cycle. Perhaps you're not talking to the right people right away or leaving too much time between points of contact, severely hindering your sales productivity.

3. Your sales reps can't work from everywhere

Tortoise turtleWe already spoke of the many things leading up to an actual product presentation or elaborate sales pitch, the real money maker for most sales organizations. Unless your company offers what can simply be sold by email or phone, chances are your sales reps need to hit the road a lot.

To make good use of time, the sensible thing for any company would be to give their sales people mobile access to most of the same customer data they have at their disposal at the office. This isn't the 90s after all. However, although mobile or cloud-based applications such as CRM are steadily on the rise, they're not yet household tools in every business environment.

Don't be one of yesterday's companies. Invest in or at least experiment with on-the-go CRM, and see how it benefits your sales performance. And it will, either by collecting and entering data at its source, prepping a meeting on the road or scheduling a follow-up call right away. After all, why do tomorrow what you can do today?

4. Your sales are slowed down by clunky administration

Lastly, if there's one thing that can bring your sales momentum to a halt, it's the burden of inefficient, old school administration. Drawing up quotations based on the same old Office templates, going to work on spreadsheets to get a grip on your numbers or just plain boring paperwork: who really enjoys that? Nobody does. Especially not fast-moving sales reps.

PaperworkTake a close look at the time your sales team spends doing paperwork and manual data processing. You might be surprised. If this indeed is your sales bottleneck, take as much work off their plate as you can. And while you're at it, pull that work straight into the 21st century: automate and digitize where possible. Not only will this allow your sales reps to sell more, they'll be eternally grateful too.

How can Teamleader improve your sales?

Teamleader helps sales productivity on every level. Its CRM feature gives your sales access to all customer data all the time, even on the road, which shortens sales cycles and helps build strong customer relationships. Moreover, streamlined sales save them time and tedious manual labor.

Meanwhile, sales managers have a great overview of the sales pipeline and team performance, making it easy to analyze and adjust along the way.

Eager to try it out for yourself? Start your free fully-functional trial today!

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About the author

Robin Van Cleemput

Writing something about a copywriter, always tricky… If it’s bad, he’ll hate you for it. If it’s good, he’ll hate you for it because he didn’t write it himself. Although Robin isn’t quite the hateful type, on the contrary. His sharp pen makes sure you are engulfed with – hopefully positive - words our customers have to say about us. He can turn a shopping list into a genuine page turner!

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