11 High-impact sales activities to focus on for big results
The renowned San Francisco 49ers football coach Bill Walsh wrote a memoir called The Score Takes Care of Itself: My Philosophy of Leadership.
In the book, he argues that the largest goals in life are accomplished only by mastering the small, fundamental actions that make up those goals.
In the same way, when sales reps prioritize high-value activities, they don’t need to be constantly fretting over reports and dashboards. They can rest assured that they’ll be making progress against their goals.
In other words, when reps master the fundamentals of good selling, the score takes care of itself.
In this post, we’ll talk about:
- What exactly sales activities are
- Which sales activities are best to focus on
- How to track, analyze, and improve your reps’ actions
Let’s jump in.
What are sales activities?
Sales activities are the individual actions sales reps take to move a deal through the sales pipeline.
They’re generally categorized into three stages:
- Prospecting: Activities aimed at finding new leads and building relationships with them.
- Engagement: Activities meant to nurture leads and turn them into sales-qualified opportunities.
- Closing: Activities sales reps do to convert opportunities into customers.
Not all sales activities are created equal, though. And not every sales activity will have the same impact at each stage of the sales pipeline.
To help you figure out which sales activities are most important for your reps to focus on, we’ve put together a list of 12 high-impact sales activities, broken down by the stage in the sales cycle.
High-impact sales activities in the prospecting stage
1) Attending relevant conferences and events
Despite COVID putting a damper on in-person events, there’s still nothing quite as effective as meeting up with potential prospects in person.
One of the best ways to do this is through meet-ups, conferences, and industry events. Just make sure you use a CRM to log all costs and tie that into prospects and closed deals.
That way, you can understand your ROI in the analysis phase.
Not only do events give sales reps a chance to meet potential leads in person, but they also provide an opportunity to learn more about their needs and pain points.
Conference attendance can also help sales reps establish themselves as thought leaders in their industry.
2) Creating targeted lists of leads
A sales rep’s success depends on their ability to reach the right people with the right message.
The first step in doing that is creating targeted lists of leads that sales reps can reach out to.
To do this, sales reps should start by segmenting their leads into groups based on factors like:
- Company size
The best sales reps don’t stop there, though. They also take the time to research each lead on their list.
Using a tool like Accent Connect, you can automatically get AI-powered content and messaging recommendations for prospects in each of your target segments.
3) Cold-calling (or cold-contacting) leads
Yes, it is probably the most brutal sales activity on the list, but there’s still nothing quite like cold-calling.
The good news is that anything that’s hard to do likely has a high barrier to entry for your competition. The simple act of utilizing cold-calling at all will likely put you ahead of 90% of your competitors.
When done correctly, cold-calling can be an effective way to reach new leads.
Of course, the key here is “when done correctly.”
Sales reps should make sure they’re prepared before they start making calls. That means:
- Doing their research
- Crafting a script that sounds natural
- Being prepared with answers to common objections
4) Hosting top-of-funnel webinars
Webinars are a great sales activity to focus on in the prospecting stage because they’re an effective way to reach a large number of potential leads at once.
And, when done correctly, webinars can be an excellent lead generation tool. If you need ideas for webinar content, consider this tried-and-true blueprint:
- Reach out to a thought leader in your industry and offer to platform them as an expert (most experts will gladly do this for free, though some may want to be compensated for their time).
- Use their name and expertise as leverage to attract top-of-funnel leads to register for your webinar.
- During the webinar, give attendees a ton of value by having the expert deliver content that’s helpful and relevant to both their expertise and your audience’s interests/pain points.
- End the webinar with a brief presentation on your product and how it can also solve their pain points, as well as a call-to-action for attendees to take the next step.
I’ve personally partnered with businesses that used this very strategy to great success. The key is to be prepared, rehearse the content, and plan your campaign and promotion strategy at least three months in advance.
5) Publishing keyword-targeted blog posts
SEO is one of the cheapest, most sustainable, most effective ways to attract qualified prospects. The best way to leverage SEO is through the regular publishing of high-quality, keyword-targeted content.
What do I mean by “keyword-targeted”?
I’m talking about blog posts (or other forms of content like infographics, videos, etc.) that sales reps create with the express purpose of ranking for certain keywords in Google.
To do this effectively, sales reps should:
- Conduct keyword research to identify relevant keywords that potential buyers are searching for.
- Use those keywords throughout their blog post, including in the title, headline, subheadings, and throughout the body.
- Optimize their blog post for other on-page SEO factors like meta descriptions and image alt text.
- Include a call-to-action (CTA) at the end of each blog post that encourages readers to take the next step, whether that’s downloading an eBook, signing up for a webinar, or requesting a demo.
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High-impact sales activities in the engagement stage
Once a prospect has officially become a lead, they move into what many organizations call the “engagement” phase, otherwise known as middle-of-funnel.
6) Conducting one-on-one demos or presentations
At this stage in the sales process, sales reps should be focused on conducting one-on-one demos or presentations with their leads.
The goal of these meetings is twofold:
- To further qualify the lead by determining whether or not they’re a good fit for your product.
- To give sales reps an opportunity to show off the features and benefits of your product in a way that’s tailored to each individual lead’s specific needs and pain points.
To make sure these meetings are as effective as possible, sales reps should:
- Prepare for each meeting in advance by doing their research and crafting a personalized presentation. AI-powered tools like Accent Connect can help simplify this preparation phase by suggesting the most appropriate pieces of marketing collateral.
- Come into each meeting with a clear understanding of each lead’s specific needs and pain points so that they can address them directly during the presentation.
- Tailor their sales pitch to each individual lead by emphasizing the features of your product that will be most relevant and valuable to them.
- End each meeting with a clear next step for both the sales rep and the lead to take, whether that’s scheduling a follow-up meeting or starting a free trial.
7) Building customized sales proposals and playbooks
After a sales rep has conducted a demo or presentation for a lead and they’re both ready to move forward, the next step is to put together a sales proposal.
A sales proposal is a document that outlines your product’s features and benefits, as well as your proposed solution to the lead’s specific pain points.
To put together an effective sales proposal, sales reps should:
- Include a personalized cover letter that summarizes the meeting and addresses the lead’s specific needs.
- Include pricing information as well as any relevant discounts or promotions.
- Include a CTA, such as a request for signatures or next steps.
8) Sending personalized email sequences
Email is still one of the most effective sales tools out there, but only when it’s used correctly.
Gone are the days of generic sales templates and mass BCC’ing lists of leads.
In order to be successful, sales reps need to send personalized email sequences that are tailored to each individual lead’s specific needs.
To do this effectively, sales reps should:
- Use an email tracking tool to see when each lead opens and clicks through their emails. You can use a tool like MailChimp or a Google Chrome extension like Gmass.
- Segment their leads into different groups so that they can send more targeted email content.
- Test different subject lines, email templates, and CTAs to see what gets the best response rates.
9) Engaging in social selling
Social selling is the process of using social media to build relationships and interact with potential customers.
It’s an effective sales strategy because it allows sales reps to connect with leads and prospects in a more informal setting, which can help build trust and rapport.
To engage in social selling, sales reps should:
- Find and connect with their leads on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
- Interact with their posts and engage in conversations to build relationships.
- Share relevant content that will be of interest to their leads.
High-impact sales activities in the closing stage
The closing stage, or bottom-of-funnel stage, is all about getting the sale. However, there are certain activities that can precede or even follow that fateful “Closed-Won” status that can set you up for future success.
At this point, sales reps should be focused on driving leads towards a purchase decision by emphasizing the value of your product and addressing any final objections they may have.
This is also a great stage to pause and evaluate the efficacy of your strategy and how you might improve it in future deals.
The most important sales activities in the closing stage include:
10) Analyzing deal reports to uncover trends
Sales reps should regularly analyze their deal reports to uncover any patterns or trends. This information can then be used to improve your sales strategy and close more deals in the future.
Sales reps should be looking for things like:
- The average length of time it takes to close a deal
- The number of touchpoints required
- The most effective sales activities
- Common objections and how to overcome them
Using a tool like Accent Manage, leaders can get at-a-glance status reports on the efficacy of their team’s activities and how to improve them for better funnel velocity.
11) Coordinating internal resources for deals in motion
The closing stage is also the time when sales reps need to start coordinating with other departments within their company.
For example, if a deal is moving forward, sales reps will need to coordinate with customer success to ensure a smooth onboarding process.
Or, if a large deal is in the works, sales reps may need to coordinate with multiple departments to ensure that all the necessary resources are in place.
The most important sales activities in the closing stage include:
- Analyzing deal reports to uncover trends
- Sales reps should regularly analyze their deal reports to uncover any patterns or trends.
- This information can then be used to improve your sales strategy and close more deals in the future.
12) BONUS TIP: Spotting upsell and cross-sell opportunities
We know we said 11, but if you made it this far – you deserve a bonus!
As sales reps are working to close a deal, they should also be on the lookout for upsell and cross-sell opportunities.
For example, if a customer is interested in purchasing your product, sales reps can offer them a package deal that includes additional features or services.
Or, if a customer is interested in one of your products, sales reps can suggest other products that might complement it.
Upselling and cross-selling can help sales reps close larger deals and increase customer lifetime value.
How to track sales activities
Once you know which sales activities are most important for your reps to focus on, you need to start tracking them.
The best way to do this is by using a sales CRM or sales activity tracker. Once you’ve got a system in place, the hard part is collecting and maintaining all relevant data.
Sales reps, while some of the finest folks we know, don’t always have the best reputation for meticulous organization.
That’s why we built Accent Manage to automatically capture all buyer-seller activities and tie them to the appropriate records. That means less busy work for your reps and more organized, consistent data.
Tracking and analyzing rep activity will also help you discern which sales activities are resulting in the most closed deals. This data can be immensely valuable when you’re trying to prioritize sales activities and figure out where to focus your reps’ attention.
The sales activities your reps focus on have a direct impact on their success.
By understanding which sales activities are most important and tracking them using a sales CRM or sales activity tracker, you can help your reps close more deals and reach their quotas.
What sales activities do you prioritize? Let us know in the comments below. And for more information on how Accent Technologies can help your sales reps sell more effectively, click the button on this page to see a live demo.
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