Kristie's Blog

The Problem with Productivity


The dictionary definition of productivity is:

  • The amount of time it takes to complete a task.

The KKJ definition:

  • The ability to identify and execute on tasks that will result in providing the highest value outcome.

So what’s the big deal? Why should sales leaders care about and measure the productivity of their sales reps? Because it matters. What I love about sales is it is the blending of art and math. I tell sales reps. I don’t care if they work harder or smarter- just hit quota! Productivity is the grease that makes the sales wheels move. Each prospecting call, email, discovery call, demo, and negotiation will all add up to success if done consistently and effectively.

The struggle is real. Sales reps are struggling to hit quota (on ave. only 60% of reps are hitting quota each year) due to a lack of planning, organization, and discipline. Sales Leaders who aren’t holding their reps. accountable for understanding and executing on the tasks that will get them the biggest bang for their buck are to blame as well.

Let’s take a look at what Sales Reps can do to improve their productivity.

Sales Reps

  • Have a Plan – Each sales rep. needs to do a SWAT analysis and create a business plan that they are willing to be held accountable to. Do they understand which activities will have the greatest impact on their success? Do they understand which industries, geographies, and personas they had the best results with?
  • Get Organized – I’d recommend doing a “productivity audit”. Take 2- 3 days and have your reps. write down everything they do while at work and how long it takes. I think the results will be shocking and telling. The more each day or week looks the same the more likely that you’ll establish a habit of doing the tasks that will result in positive outcomes. Now- this assumes that the tasks they are doing are effective in helping them get the results that are expected of them. Build-in ways for them to hold themselves accountable and find ways for others to help hold them accountable. Click here to access a Productivity Audit Worksheet.
  • Know their Sales Math and Sales Super Power – Sales reps. who don’t understand their personal ICP and sales math will spend time prospecting the wrong companies/contacts and spinning their wheels. Help them to understand their sale math and sales superpowers:
    • Their ave. deal size
    • Sales cycle length
    • ICP that fits best for them (industries, regions, size of the company, personas, etc.). This is where they will perform the best because they are in their comfort zone.
    • The number of deals needed in their pipeline at all times (4x or 5x quota)
  • Own the Sales Process – Sales reps. aren’t holding their prospects accountable and are allowing the prospect to run the sales cycle thus causing the sales rep. to be less productive due to being reactive and not proactive. Every day I hear sales reps. hang up the phone with a prospect without getting a FIRM next steps (which I call homework) and a FIRM follow-up call on the calendar. This means they are going to have to track that prospect down over several days to get them back on the phone- not productive!
  • ● #ownyourownshit – Now that they have a plan, they need to be disciplined enough to execute it. Are they saying no to spending more than 5 hours a week in internal meetings? Are they time blocking their calendar for prospecting, follow up calls, and demos? Are they coming into their 1:1s each week with excuses or are they owning their own shit?

So why should sales leaders be talking to their reps. about productivity and their expectations around it? Because just completing tasks won’t necessarily help them hit quota. Each sales rep. needs to understand their personal sales math, as well as, the activities they do that yield them the highest ROI.

Here’s what Sales Leaders need to be doing to help the productivity problem.

Sales Leaders

  • Help your reps. do their sales math. I love sales because it’s objective. Subjectivity has no place here.
    Let’s say your Rep. Ashley has a quota of $850K.
    Ave. Sale – $55K
    Close rate – 17%
    # of total deals that need to have been in her pipeline during the 12 months – 91
    # of deals in the pipeline at all times – 23
    Not all sales reps. can do this math. They need your help.
  • Catch them Doing it Right – New strategies and accountabilities take time. Make sure you’re giving them a high 5 when you see them putting new practices in place.

There’s nothing sexy about time blocking, writing down everything you do in a day or doing a SWAT analysis. What IS sexy is hitting quota consistently. Taking action each day to do the tasks that will get your reps. ROI is worth the time and attention you should be giving it!

Go get shit done!

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Antecdotes, advice and tough love for sales professionals who want to be intentional about their career.

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