The definitions of productivity and efficiency are changing, and we have the millennial mindset to thank for this. From targeted career prospects, flexible work options and recognition, the alternative workforce comprising of part-timers and freelancers are everywhere, which includes the predominantly client-facing sales domain.
From a sales associate’s perspective, though, the job of selling a product or service involves a lot of stress arising from the pressure to achieve targets. Add screeching customers and unrealistic goals to the mix and you find yourself watching dissatisfied sales staff walk out the door. Or worse, the ones that stick around run low on morale and wouldn’t care enough to put in that extra effort.
So as an employer, how can you enjoy a boost in revenue and make things better for your customer base and employees?
The answer lies in knowing how to make use of the best and right people and having them collaborate to compete, as Robert K Logan and Louis Stokes put it. While some of us can take competition too seriously, there is a healthy side to it that sees people participating in free-flowing information and co-creating knowledge. Before going into the tips that balance out customers and employees, lets first get the key difference between sales efficiency and productivity out of the way
How do efficiency and productivity differ?
Productivity is all about the results a staff member produces on the clock while making use of the best resources made available to them. Efficiency, on the other hand, measures the quality of work and how successful your staff were in making use of fewer resources or saving more costs. The two, while very different from one another, go hand-in-hand; a record of sale transactions carried out indicates the extent to which your staff met originally proposed goals, while efficiency would concentrate on the time or revenue boost when leads get converted to confirmed orders. With this in mind, here’re the tips guaranteed to boost them booth;
1. Change your viewing glasses
Visibility into business activities is a crucial element in deciding the year’s performance goals. After all, it shouldn’t come to a point where there were too few staff and far too many goals to achieve. Unconditional visibility with a resource management tool lets managers know what their sales teams are on without having to repeatedly verify the accuracy of what they’re told. Further, it lets them track efforts, work, actions and decisions all at once, ensuring that every available skill is used.
2. Build cohesive team units
It’s true that happy employees bring in more customers. And the key to tapping into this psychology is to encourage collaboration through cohesion. Rather than work in scattered siloes with no way of knowing if everyone is contributing equally and how their efforts add value to the work, a better approach is to give sales teams the opportunity to work as a single unit, thereby offering better visibility into their skills and know-how. For instance, sales associates assigned to a particular floor can engage with customers and provide helpful replies in real-time, while another set generates pricing quotes, invoicing or even ring up the paperwork to ensure a smooth business transaction for both you and your customer.
3. Gamify reward programs
Gamification taps into our need for instant gratification when exploring and engaging in newer challenges. Given its positive impact on general workforce productivity, it works just as well in sales where targets achieved are measured. Besides giving your staff a reason to play to win and do a good job of the work they’re assigned, one of the benefits of gamifying reward programs is that your staff are motivated enough to set their sights on bigger goals. Even better, it brings out exceptional employees and sets an example for the rest of your staff to follow.
4. Regularize feedback
In an ideal world, feedback should go both ways. Salespeople should know how they’re doing and managers should be able to tell if their style of leading is aiding in the business strategy. Providing feedback at regular intervals leave no room for ambiguity. When your staff comes to you with an issue they’ve faced before or are presently facing, you’re in a better position to know what’s bringing down the overall productivity. Consequently, you can revise outdated practices and scrap failed sales tactics in time.
5. Document employee learning journeys
Employee learning journeys is a map of how far your employees have come and is just as important as customer success experiences. For one, it lets you match your employee’s professional growth with the business value they bring in. And for another, involving your employees in structural changes around the business gives them leverage when it comes to being a productive salesperson. After all, as your business scales up and looks to tap into future feasible prospects, your staff’s newfound knowledge, awareness, and ability to adapt should be mobilized with the view to increasing profitability.
Mapping this journey from a team-wide perspective begins with selecting the right teams. Post this selection, the next step is to document the employee’s credentials (such as role-based skills,experience, profile quality, department and location) and unify this information with the work that they are on. This serves the purpose of enlisting available members in future whose working knowledge complements the activity that they will be on.
Productivity is the route to sales efficiency. It is more than just identifying critical skills, hiring the people possessing these competencies and assigning them work. It’s about ensuring your workforce is inspired, engaged and sufficiently oriented around your business requirements such that a direct correlation can be established between efforts and results. It’s also about their ability to switch gears when required and remain a pivotal resource in the long run.