grey hexagon background

Increasing sales efficiency: an Accent starter guide

Learn how to transform inefficient sales operations through sales enablement

This starter guide serves to give a strong foundation of what sales efficiency looks like and provide recommendations for tools and strategies to increase sales efficiency.

Use the buttons below to navigate to different areas of the sales efficiency starter guide:

Defining sales efficiencyDEFINING SALES EFFICIENCY

The cost of sales inefficiencyTHE COST OF SALES INEFFICIENCY

Sales efficiency strategiesSALES EFFICIENCY STRATEGIES

Sales efficiency toolsSALES EFFICIENCY TOOLS

Putting it all togetherPUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

Defining sales efficiency

Before getting into strategies and tools to improve sales efficiency, it’s important to have a strong understanding of just what sales efficiency is.

Sales efficiency is often used interchangeably with sales effectiveness, but there is a key difference.
Here’s a common way of looking at how efficiency and effectiveness differ: Effectiveness is doing the right thing. Efficiency is doing the thing right. However, that definition is still too basic. When applying efficiency to B2B sales, the sales efficiency definition becomes more complex:

Sales efficiency is performing sales operations activities in the fastest and most streamlined way possible in order to get the highest return on sales investment.

Sales departments do a lot of different activities on a regular basis, from calling prospects to recording information in CRM to reviewing reports and key sales metrics. Each selling process takes time, and time is money. Any way that businesses can speed up the time it takes to perform those operations while maintaining quality will increase sales efficiency.
Learn about why sales inefficiency is too expensive to ignore by going to the next section of the sales efficiency starter guide: The cost of sales inefficiency.

The cost of sales inefficiency

Every B2B sales company wants to increase profit. In the simplest of terms, there are two ways to achieve this: get more sales and reduce operational costs.

Many companies focus entirely on getting more sales, ignoring the money being thrown down the drain with inefficient sales and marketing processes. To get a strong understanding of why sales efficiency is important, look at what happens when sales processes aren’t efficient:
These statistics are just a few of the examples of the high cost of sales inefficiency. While companies differ in which areas of sales, marketing and management are inefficient, the odds are likely that a few processes have room for improvement, and each improvement in efficiency results in less money lost.
The cost of sales inefficiency is too high to ignore. Learn how to fix it by going to the next section of the sales efficiency starter guide: Sales efficiency strategies.

Sales efficiency strategies

There are many ways to increase sales efficiency, including audits, sales strategies and sales enablement tools.

Below, we’ve listed some common sales efficiency strategies that are easy to implement and result in higher efficiency for sales processes:
Start with a foundation for improving sales efficiency

Any process or strategy for increasing sales efficiency should start with analyzing an existing process. Only once you identify acceptable standards for efficiency can you know if a process needs to be changed.

This is where competitor comparisons and sales efficiency ratios come into play. Sales efficiency ratios are used to determine if profit margins are high enough for the allocated resources, allowing sales managers to see if sales processes are running smoothly enough to make a good profit.

Gather intelligence on each of your processes and how they relate to the industry as a whole, and consider bringing in a sales consultant to offer recommendations for improvement. Then you can prioritize the sales efficiency strategies that will have the initial biggest impact.

Get a sales competency model

“One size fits all” does not work for sales. Each sales role requires different personality traits, habits and skills. Find out what the ideal sales rep for each role looks like, and use those traits as a model for hiring and retention. In a 2015 study, Accenture found that using a sales competency model could predict with 92% probability that a person would be a high performer based on their attributes for a specific company or role.

Align sales, marketing and management

One of the largest indicators that a company is inefficient is misalignment, which occurs when sales, marketing and management have different goals and processes. To align your teams into one streamlined revenue department, start by opening up visibility through communication into each department’s tactics and processes, such as give marketing access to CRM reports or offering sales insight into what content creation marketing has planned for the future.

Use your CRM data

The majority of businesses capture a lot of data in CRM (and those that don’t capture data SHOULD). However, those businesses aren’t putting that data to use. CRM data is incredibly valuable for planning and strategizing pipeline opportunities, sales processes, coaching, training and more. Start using your historical CRM data to approach future deals more intelligently.

Follow a standard sales methodology and sales training program

There are a lot of different sales methodologies available for B2B sales teams, each with their own focus and specialties. Once you’ve identified your main sales weaknesses, it will be easier to choose the best sales methodology for your business needs.

This sales methodology is more than just a checklist item. It should be used on a daily basis so that you can easily track its effectiveness. Sales processes should be designed around the methodology, and the content created by marketing and sales support should map directly to it.

Use sales training reinforcement

According to ATD, $20 billion is spent on sales team training annually, but Sales Alliance found that 80-90% is completely forgotten in just one month. That investment in sales training is going to waste.

To get true value out of sales training, companies need a strategy to reinforce that sales training on a regular basis. By reinforcing training, sales reps retain information for 87% longer than those at companies without a reinforcement strategy.

Learn about the tools that make it easy to implement sales strategies in the next section of the sales efficiency starter guide: Sales efficiency tools.

Sales efficiency tools

Sales efficiency strategies are most effective when companies have sales efficiency tools that make it easy to turn thoughts into actions.

Many businesses know that their sales processes are inefficient, but they simply don’t have an easy way to start improving.
Other businesses may be completely unaware that the sales processes their reps and sales managers perform on a regular basis are unnecessarily wasting company time and money.

Whether your company falls into the first or second category, your sales team can use sales efficiency tools to drastically increase sales productivity and reduce sales operations costs.

Check out the list of the top six sales efficiency tools below:

CRM data automation

Sales reps spend a bunch of their time in CRM. That’s just the way sales works…right? Wrong.

To improve sales efficiency, use a CRM data automation tool. With CRM data automation software, sales reps perform daily tasks like making sales calls or sending emails, and the CRM automation tool works seamlessly in the background to capture all of the data and send it to CRM. Sales reps never have to do any manual entry in CRM. CRM data automation gives reps back more selling time while increasing the accuracy and completeness of CRM data.

Sales rep activity tracker

No sales rep is 100% focused 100% of the time, but some employees struggle with time wasters more than others. Use a sales rep activity tracker to keep your sales force lean, mean and focused on selling. A sales activity tracker logs all of the selling activities performed by each rep, such as sales calls, emails, demos, etc. Management can then concretely identify the reps who aren’t meeting the expectations for sales productivity.

Centralized sales resource library

In inefficient sales environments, sales reps have to search through multiple repositories such as Sharepoint or network drives to find a specific sales resource. This takes a lot of time, and it takes even more time when the sales rep gives up the search and just recreates the document from scratch.

Sales resource management software like Accent Connect puts all sales materials in one easily accessible, searchable location.  With Connect, sales reps can quickly find exactly what they’re looking for so that they can then quickly send those resources to their buyers.

Aggregated market intelligence

Sales reps often spend hours each week researching prospects, and yet they still miss valuable information they could use to engage their buyers. Aggregated market intelligence platforms like InsideView automatically collect data on buyers and companies from a variety of sources. Sales reps then can view that information with a single click, keeping reps informed without the research time and effort.

Buyer activity tracker

Voicemail is the bane of any sales rep. Nobody wants to go through the effort of contacting a prospect only to have their buyer be too busy to talk. That’s where a buyer activity tracker comes in. Using a buyer activity tracker, sales reps can get instant notifications whenever buyers open emails from the rep, view presentations or share sales resources with other members of the buying team.

The buyer’s moment of interest, when they’re focused on reviewing your solution, is the optimal time to contact. A buyer activity tracker gives reps the ability to plan their follow ups and spend their calling time more efficiently.

Content personalization wizards

Once reps find a presentation they want to send to a buyer, they’ll get the best results by personalizing it. However, personalizing documents is time consuming and often results in unbranded, unapproved materials sent to customers.

Content personalization wizards solve these problems by giving sales reps a way to quickly develop custom presentations with unique messages for each buyer—no downloading required. The wizards have built-in rules for branding, compliance and other business concerns.

In the final step of the sales efficiency starter guide, see how all of this guidance fits a bigger picture: Putting it all together.

Getting total sales efficiency through sales enablement

Achieve your sales efficiency goals by following a complete sales enablement strategy.

The key to achieving sales efficiency lies in understanding sales efficiency, realizing the risk of sales inefficiency, developing strong sales efficiency strategies, and using sales efficiency tools to put those strategies in practice.
Remember that you don’t have to do it alone. This starter guide is just that: a start. For a more in-depth, personalized assessment of the inefficiencies in your sales process and how sales enablement tools and strategies can help, give us a call. We’d love to set up a time for you to have a consultation with one of our sales enablement experts.