“Do more with less,” was the common refrain during the Great Recession of 2008. But there’s only so much you can do with LESS. How long will reps make quota if you constantly cut back on training, coaching, and enablement?
In the years of the recession the percentage of reps making quota steadily rose through 2009, 2010, and 2011, until it plateaued at 63% in 2012 and finally dropped to just over 58% in 2013, says data from CSO Insights. This underlines the fact that there’s only so much productivity and efficiency that a rep can achieve while constrained for resources.
Source: CSO Insights
Ironically, even against this negative trend, 94% of companies that CSO Insights polled revealed that they had raised their quotas for 2014. If companies raise quotas even as rep productivity drops, what carrots do you give your reps to keep them fit and fighting? Of course you could argue for stretchable quotas but I suggest four key measures that are bound to pay off.
Connect With Leads Anytime, Anywhere
Do your marketing folks share their marketing automation platform with your sales reps? If they don’t, start the crusade for it today. Marketing automation neatly integrates into CRM and works as a single window that gives sales reps plenty –daily alerts on leads, enables real-time lead engagement, ability to run hyper-targeted campaigns even from a mobile phone, lead intelligence and insight to deliver better pitches more suited to the customer’s business problem – improving deal sizes, win rates, and sales cycle times.
A Single Location for All Intelligence
Sales reps are always multi-tasking against tight deadlines; juggling phone calls from customers, prospecting for new leads, and meeting with potential buyers all in one day. And every time there is a customer pitch they have to trudge through various online and offline sources for information and content. More often than not they reinvent the wheel, creating new content. This is not the most efficient use of a rep’s time. You could make content discovery effortless with a central repository for all sales intelligence: datasheets, ROI calculators, objection handling, case studies you name it. This sales intelligence repository or sales enablement portal should also be interactive allowing reps to leave feedback and comments.
Coach Them to Win
Coaching your under performers is often cheaper than firing them and finding replacements. But many companies lack a formal coaching system; sales managers are left to decide how to coach their reps. This means the quality of coaching varies widely depending on the caliber of individual sales managers. Ideally, the manager should have a formal coaching process that identifies the gaps each rep has and teaches them positive sales behaviors of the top-performing reps in the team. CallidusCloud research shows that reps who receive at least three hours of coaching per month achieve 107% of quota.
Speed Up Contract Negotiation
On an average how long does contract creation and negotiation take in your company? If it takes three months for a sales rep to close a deal and another month to make a contract, it’s high time you smartened up the process. You could streamline the creation, negotiation, and storing of contracts through Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) so business can get done much faster. According to Forrester, best-in-class companies that use CLM have seen sales cycles shrink by 25%. With CLM multiple teams like finance and legal can redline contracts simultaneously and contracts are automatically routed to the appropriate person for approval, saving several precious hours.
How about you? How are you driving rep productivity in your sales organization?