Everyone has only 24 hours in a day. We can’t create more hours in a day, but we can make the hours as efficient and productive as possible. Most organizations lie and die by the productivity of their sales reps – they are, after all, often the core profit center of a company.
While it is a given that any sales development rep will have some amount of administrative hours every day, there are a few tricks we have developed at Growbots that we’ve found work for us and might help keep your sales development representatives productive as well. Creating the right environment for your sales reps to succeed is key.
The 5 Steps to Keep Your Sales Development Representatives Productive
1. Making success metrics accessible.
For us, productivity and success go hand in hand. While we can’t force anyone to buy a product or service, we can set standards and metrics to make sales as likely as possible. We define metrics for the entire sales funnel, which makes every step fully measurable.
Our sales reps know exactly what they have to do to meet their quotas. Setting goals such as “source 35 opportunities” or “bring in 5 new customers per month” doesn’t show them the “how” i.e it’s not indicative of the path they have to follow to reach their goal.
Only after we divide their main goal into smaller, more actionable steps and set a metric for each and every step they will be able to reach their ultimate goal – fulfill their meetings’ quota.
2. Create standards and resources.
Obviously, setting up success metrics for sales reps creates a standard of expectation, but just because a sales rep understands where they should be, they might not know how to get there.It is crucial to provide them with the right tools and training to help them achieve their goals.
Part of this process is comparing their key performance indicators (KPIs) against the team average. For those sales reps that are falling a little short, we’ve found that one-on-one coaching can be extremely effective to help bring those metrics up to where they should be. We also organize group training with the best sales reps to provide an aspirational mentor and peer coaching.
Essentially, we try to make it easy for our sales reps to learn how to become great at selling and to also offer models to look up to.
3. Seeing the bigger picture.
Let’s keep it real – being a sales development representative is a tough job. It’s a numbers game and getting through to those ‘yes’ answers can take some time and effort. It’s important to keep your sales development representatives productive that you continually relate their work to the bigger picture. And it’s pretty likely that 53% of your employees don’t understand how their job matters in the greater scheme of things.
For many sales reps, their goal might be to make sales to earn their commission or to reach certain metrics, but that’s a narrow view of the position – one that won’t keep someone motivated for long.
Figuring out how to tie the work back to the organization is key. Do they know truly why a sale matters? Do they know how that means the organization succeeds and therefore so do they? Offering a narrative for not only their own personal success in regard to meeting metrics but also the success of the organization helps to keep the monotony of the job from becoming the defining factor.
When they can see how their sales impact the business as a whole, it will keep your sales development representatives productive.
4. Monitor progress and follow up regularly.
You can’t rest on your laurels. Once you’ve got every other piece put into place, it is important for you to circle back with every single one of your sales reps on a regular basis.
At Growbots, we organize weekly one-on-one meetings to talk about how the week went, what was done well, and what could be improved. These meetings are based on their KPIs and generally last about half an hour.
Each week we pick one big issue for each of our sales reps to focus on for improvement. We’ve found that even choosing just two goals can become confusing or overwhelming. Narrowing it down to the KPI that needs the most improvement each week ensures that they stay focused and not discouraged.
Remember, you want to keep your sales development representatives productive so the meetings should consist of praise for meeting metrics or making a great sale first and foremost. Then offer a critique but couch it in a positive method. Offer suggestions for improvement and set a goal, but try to keep from critiquing a sales rep to the point that they become demotivated.
5. Hire the right people!
Not everyone makes a good salesperson. Period. End of sentence.
Finding people that can naturally sell products or services will go a long way to keeping them productive and motivated. Harvard Business Review did a study on the personality traits that make a person more likely to be better at sales. They determined salespeople are more likely to possess these seven personality traits:
- Reliable and responsible
- Highly motivated to succeed
Interestingly, the Harvard Business Review found some personality traits that might go against of the grain of what we likely picture as a superstar sales rep. I always picture the iconic coffee-is-for-closers speech in Glengarry Glen Ross, but actually, high performing salespeople are more modest on average.
They don’t think of themselves as stars, but as a contributing team member that helps the organization succeed as a whole.
Recognizing the personality traits of a good salesperson and asking the right questions in interviews can go a long way to hiring new employees that will be a good fit.
Do you have a tip to keep your sales development representatives productive? Let us know what you think in the comments.