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Quaran-team to super-team: 7 tips for more efficient sales

April 27, 2021

Is your sales ‘quaran-team’ stuck in a selling slump?

As a sales leader, you might suspect they’re firmly embedded on the couch binge-watching Bridgerton, but in actuality, they might just be in desperate need of some assistance.


It’s up to you to put on your super-selling cape and show them the path to success. We’re here to help you achieve that with some expert guidance from sales leader extraordinaire -
Michael Hanson, Founder & CEO of Growth Genie.

Invest in the right tools | Change up your processes | Master your time | Base your team structure on volume | Celebrate achievements | Get it right from the start | Stay inspired | Key takeaway | Re-energise your team with Cognism

Click a section ☝️ or scroll 👇 to start.

1 - Invest in the right tools 🔧

Streamlining your team starts with the software you implement.

Tech is only worthwhile if it’s solving a problem - i.e., helping them sell better and faster. Michael suggests investing in three tools for ultimate sales success - a parallel dialler, an analytics tool and a quality prospecting solution.

His favourites are:

Orum

Orum is a parallel dialler that’s great for a team that does a lot of cold calling. It calls about ten people at a time, and if one person answers, you’ll get connected to that conversation.

“Despite lockdown, the phone is still a powerful outbound sales tool. People don't answer as much as they used to because they're on LinkedIn or email or Zoom and it's hard to get hold of them, but when you get through it makes a huge impact.” 

“With a sales solution like Orum, you can make 100 calls in an hour. 100 calls that would normally take your team all day to achieve. It's fantastic for efficiency.” - Michael

Gong & Refract

AI like Gong and Refract ensure you're getting the best out of your outbound lead generation by analysing your sales calls.

This can enable you to train your team better, see what works and what doesn’t, and improve your sales strategy based on your prospects’ feedback.

“AI technology can help you make the most out of your messaging. For instance,  it can tell you if you’ve been speaking too much and if you need to encourage your prospect to speak more.” 

“It
can also be used across teams so your content team can hear what your customers have to say and customise campaigns that work for that audience.” 

Cognism Prospector

Prospector contains a database of millions of contacts for your team to cold call. It’s easily searchable, so you can target the right people in the right industry. Plus, you have the assurance that the B2B data you’re getting is accurate and GDPR compliant.

“Your data is important. You want to have your sales team spending more time selling to people than researching and checking data. A solution like Prospector makes B2B prospecting effortless.”

2 - Change up your processes 🔄

The next step to making your sales team more efficient is to look at your processes.

How are you measuring targets, and is there any way to shorten your sales cycle?

 

This might sound mad.

Can the sales cycle get any shorter and still work? 

It’s what’s going to make it excel!

Michael says:

“The time of your team is very precious because time is money. If you can reduce your average sales cycle from 6 months to 3 or even 5 ½ months across the board - that's extra time that your sales team can spend reaching out to new prospects.”

So take a look at your current sales cycle. Study the metrics and try to implement a plan of action to reduce it.

If you’re stuck where to start, hiring a specialised
RevOps manager can help.

Secondly:

Look at the way you measure targets.

If you’re selling more to enterprise companies, then change your targets from meetings and opportunities booked to the monetary value of the deal booked.

Michael adds:

“Turning your SDRs targets into the dollars in the pipeline is something we’ve been working on recently at Growth Genie. So rather than saying, your goal is to book 10 meetings or opportunities a month, it’s now to get $200,000 in the pipeline.”

“It encourages your team to get those meetings booked, to create opportunities and bring in larger deal sizes.”

3 - Master your time ⏱️

The key to finding success in sales, and ensuring your team stays dynamic, is to take stock of time.

  • Do they have enough time, the right resources and a large enough team for your targets to be realised?
  • How much time is being wasted doing things manually, and can you invest in software to speed things up?
  • Can their day-to-day tasks be streamlined for greater efficiency?

These are all questions you need to seriously consider when establishing or restructuring your teams.

Michael states:

“Your SDRs need a few hours to prospect every day - an hour to an hour and a half, to go on LinkedIn and research etc. and another three hours to follow up.”

He adds that the most important tip for ensuring order and efficiency within your team is for them to organise their day-to-day tasks via calendar blocking:

“When prospecting, it's really important that that time is blocked off your calendar. If you have a target for prospecting in the pipeline and it's not your job - say you're a VP of sales or a one-man sales team, block off time in your calendar or you'll never make time to prospect.”

“If your team embraces better time management by blocking it out so they actually have time to do it, great results aren't far off.”

However, this doesn’t mean blocking out hours and hours of time one on top of each other, especially if you’re working remotely. Spacing your schedule out is just as important for better sales and preventing burnout.

Michael shares a tip on managing your day-to-day:

“Take ten-minute breaks between calls or space them out so that you can do other tasks in between. Say you have four demos the next day - take 30 minutes between calls to research those companies and ensure you're prepared.”

“It shouldn't take too long, it's a lot easier to research nowadays with company websites or LinkedIn profiles a few clicks away.”

4 - Base your team structure on volume 📈

If you're thinking of splitting your team to make things more efficient, then you need to be sure that you're getting enough inbound and outbound leads to drive revenue.

Growth Genie shared some interesting advice on splitting inbound and outbound on LinkedIn recently. It’s based on a previous chat Michael had with us which you can read here.

Michael adds to the above:

“If your inbound lead generation is low, it doesn't make sense to split your teams - it would probably be better to do some sort of round-robin system instead.”

“Now, if your volume of inbound leads is high, then you may want to start splitting inbound and outbound because as similar as they are, they do require different sales strategies.”

5 - Celebrate achievements 🎉

It might seem like the last thing that’s going to create efficiency within your team, but recognising achievements and celebrating them does a world of good.

Primarily in terms of increasing morale, which in turn leads to more closed deals.

Michael says:

“Sales is a tough job, made even harder by the pandemic. Not because remote working isn't viable - I'm a huge advocate for remote working, there's a lot of benefits to it - but because your team loses some of the camaraderies they felt in the office. Add to that Zoom fatigue and being stuck inside because of lockdown, and their mindest and wellbeing takes a hit.”

This is where recognition and team bonding comes in to play:

“Sales is a team sport. A healthy mindset and well-being is an important part of making your team great. You need to ensure your team has a good balance working from home.”

“Provide them with the tools they need to bounce ideas off of each other, congratulate a job well done and celebrate successes.”

 

Recognition, incentives and rewards all help encourage your team to go further. The friendly competition adds to their dynamic; it builds the team, fosters relationships and ensures they have a great support system to get through the pandemic.

Try a combination of all these 👇

  • Team LinkedIn challenges  
  • Start a Slack group to celebrate wins
  • Gamify your outreach
  • Create a leaderboard
  • Fun bonding Zoom sessions (at Cognism, we’re fond of free pizza 🍕)
  • Send a weekly video message of congratulations

Recently, Cognism’s sales team took part in a virtual escape room - once you put your mind to it, the options for fun, team recognition and creating a sense of community across cities and countries, are endless.

 

6 - Get it right from the start ✔️

If you want an efficient team, you need to ensure you onboard and train new hires to follow processes and successful strategies from the start.

But this doesn’t mean you shepherd all your new recruits into a big training room and zap them with information.

 

Treat your team as individuals, get to know them and they’ll reward you with enthusiasm and hard work.

Michael advises:

“Before lockdown, it was typical for team leaders to take new teammates out for lunch as part of their onboarding. Just because many of us are working from home now, doesn’t mean that should end.”

“Send a food voucher and have a virtual lunch, you can even set up after-work drinks in the same way. Think of all the things you took for granted before the pandemic and try to find a new way to implement them for effective onboarding.”

And when it comes to training, he adds:

“Actually implement things because I think a lot of the time training is focused on scripts, role-playing and cold calling - without your new hire being fully aware of who their total addressable market is going to be.”

“I recommend training new recruits through your recorded sales calls and demos on a platform like Gong. This allows them the chance to really embrace who your ideal customer is and how best to talk to them.”

7 - Stay inspired 🤩

Your team isn’t going to give you good numbers if they’re overworked and bored of cold calling all day, every day. It’s your job to keep them inspired.

“Sales can get a bit monotonous. Try to change things up a bit. Cross compartmental integration is one way to stop silos and get all of your departments together.

“Some people might say it’s counterproductive because sales should be selling and content should be creating etc. but get your teams talking. They can provide each other with valuable insights that neither side had considered before and bring you more revenue.”

Key takeaway 🥡

The one thing to remember from our chat with Michael:

“No matter which way you look at it, the key to a more efficient B2B sales team comes back to a happy, dedicated team, working with the right resources and in a supportive working environment.”

If you can get those things in place, you’ll soon see your sales dashboard fill up with new revenue. Good luck!

Re-energise your team with Cognism 🚀

Speed up and simplify the way your team prospects with Cognism.

We’ll give you access to a globally compliant database of 400 million B2B contacts, plus the ability to automate your outbound. Prospector is the perfect B2B lead generation tool to help streamline your team.

Try it for yourself today with a free demo. Click 👇

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