August 6, 2015

The 5 Sales Productivity Tools Every Sales Organization Needs

Sales productivity is a chief concern in today’s complex business environment. Remote workforces are the new normal, and while there are many benefits to such arrangements, it can be harder to ensure sales team productivity when reps are spread out across the country.

In short, the challenge that sales organizations face is to maximize existing sales resources in order to achieve maximum revenue. Sales enablement is a crucial concept in driving sales productivity and must be embraced if your company wants to compete in the modern climate.

At the heart of sales enablement is ensuring that your sales reps have everything they need to get the job done. That means providing content, coaching, training, actionable data, tools and more. 

For the purpose of this article, let’s focus on tools. There are all sorts of sales productivity tools that your organization can leverage to empower and enable sales reps, with solutions ranging from automation to customer relationship management (CRM) and even sales forecasting. 

To that end, here are 6 types of sales productivity tools that your business should implement. When your sales reps are armed with these tools, they will be sufficiently equipped to easily navigate the sales process and take your revenue and client relationships to the next level.

1. Prospect management tool

The search for potential buyers easily tops the list of challenges faced by a sales team. This is a process by which a sales rep finds new buyers for the product and then takes them through the sales cycle to close. 

A lot of time and effort goes into prospecting. Yet prospecting — or the act of gathering potential leads — is actually a very low-value task for all the resources it demands. The problem is without the right tools for prospecting, sales rep productivity could flounder thanks to all the time they have to sink into the job.

To unleash the potential of your sales team, you need them focused on parts of the sales process that they can actively shape and which drive value or the sales experience. Prospecting is not exactly among those top responsibilities, so finding any automation tools for prospecting can return significant resources to your sales team.

The best prospect management tools are ones that enable your sales reps to identify leads with minimal effort, allowing them to optimize their time working qualified leads and closing deals.

One prospecting solution to consider is Salesloft. It’s sales automation software that helps a sales rep build their own unique workflows for monitoring and regulating sales lead development emails, phone calls and other communications and activities. It works in tandem with LinkedIn to generate phone numbers and email lists, which are often the first steps for establishing contact with a prospect.

With all the legwork done, your sales professionals can focus on the real job at hand: engaging those leads and nurturing them to buyers — which is something the next class of sales productivity tools can accomplish.

2. Lead generation/management tool

Lead generation/management are essentially the methodologies, systems and practices your sales team deploys to manage lead flow. A startling high number of companies have few best practices in managing leads — and the lack of such tools may be to blame.

Lead management tools play a pivotal role in separating genuine buyers from uninterested ones, managing existing prospects and pushing leads down the sales funnel. Manual lead management requires lots of sales rep time in order to optimize. But the right sales productivity tool can lessen these demands and enhance lead generation/management.

Salesforce is a lead generation/management tool that provides on-demand CRM software services to help companies with global customer communication. Salesforce can help your reps more efficiently and effectively develop relationships with potential customers and nurture leads. The CRM integration helps ensure that your sales professionals have a 360-view into the entire profile of a lead, as well as history of interactions and communication.

With this intelligence at their fingertips, reps are enabled to smoothly move leads through the sales process and ultimately clinch their business.

3. Sales performance metrics tool

Sales managers need easy and immediate access to sales performance data to understand exactly how their team is shaping up and what areas of improvement exist. As the importance of data analytics continues to rise, your company needs to ensure that it has sales tools that can report metrics and other key sales performance indicators.

Having this insight into team performance can help a sales manager more effectively assess strengths and weaknesses. With this knowledge, they can develop new training modules or individualized coaching sessions to help drive team productivity.

Yet without such tools and data, sales managers would be hard-pressed to find the time to dig through metrics and find the actionable insights to inform such measures. With a sales automation solution for metrics reporting, sales managers can easily create custom dashboards and share insights with the rest of the team. Sales enablement stretches to managers, not just reps, so be sure to have a sales performance metrics tool that will allow them to intelligently manage and drive team productivity.

4. Time management tool

The saying “time is money” is never more true than when talking sales reps’ time. Scaling back their involvement with low-priority tasks and helping them better manage their time can lead to a huge boost in sales productivity.

Time management is especially important for businesses that rely on remote sales workforces. It can be more difficult for an employee to manage their time at home, where all types of distractions may occur. But when you provide your team with a time management sales tool, they can keep better track of assignments and tasks. A more organized sales rep is often a more productive sales rep.

The best time management tools help sales reps work smarter, not just faster. In reality, this means finding a solution that balances sales automation and function. Ideally, such sales tools will help eliminate stress that arises from mismanaged time, making for a more conducive and supportive work environment, whether in the office or at home.

A recommendation here is Calendly, a scheduling software that aids sales reps by streamlining administrative tasks, setting meetings according to availability and saving valuable hours wasted through playing phone and email tag. It allows a sales rep to set reminders, manage cancelation notices and automate confirmation emails while being able to personalize the timing and content.

5. Sales asset management tool

Sales asset management (SAM) tools aim to provide reps with access to the right client-facing content at the right time. What this amounts to is continuous sales enablement. In this context, the best SAM tools give reps some control over content and messaging while providing the sales team with up-to-date content to present and share with prospects.

The modern sales process is more reliant on optimized content than ever. Yet it can also be harder than ever for reps to search for updated or personalized content without the right solution. SAM tools work best by providing sales professionals with simple controls for accessing and sharing content. On a deeper level, they can also report metrics and data on how leads interact with content. These insights can then inform how to improve content assets, fueling closer sales and marketing collaboration. This all works by enabling sales reps to sell smarter by easily identifying engaged leads, key stakeholders and relevant follow-up steps.

Looking for a SAM solution to power content excellence? Showpad is a sales enablement platform that can also perform many of the duties of a SAM solution. Our content tools enable sales teams to seamlessly pull content and share it with prospects, measure interactions and then collaborate with marketing to develop the most engaging and high-performing content assets.

6. Transaction management tool

You’ve closed a deal – great! Now the happy rep, or the sales operations team behind them, needs to create contracts online and capture signatures. Transaction management tools can often be an afterthought, but they are critical to sales productivity. After all, no signature on the dotted line means no sales.

A transaction-focused sale tool can help speed up the closing process by allowing for simplified document management and final confirmation. Such solutions can eliminate the typical friction that may occur at such stages, and help the sales team avoid traditional pitfalls of lost or missing data.

DocuSign helps businesses of all sizes easily and securely sign and send documents in the cloud. In addition, it readily integrates with other sales tools, thus helping the company get immediate returns and save time.

Get Showpad, the all-in-one sales productivity tool

There is no doubt that sales productivity must always be in focus. In addition to deploying these sales productivity tools, seamless integration of the applications and a thorough understanding of the processes they support are both crucial. Once that is conquered and the sales team has these productivity tools in hand, there is no stopping them from becoming a force to be reckoned with.

Showpad’s sales enablement platform has its place among those crucial tools. Our platform is able to drive productivity, communication, metrics, collaboration and more, providing your teams and sales managers with all the tools they need to be successful. And once you have the right tools, you need the right strategy.

Read Showpad’s guide “What is sales enablement?” to take your sales enablement game to the next level.