Stunningly useless sales productivity advice

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Some advice just doesn’t work.

New parents can relate – they constantly receive unsolicited advice, often based on old wives tales, on parenting from friends, family members, even random people in the grocery store.

Smokers from the big tobacco era of yesteryear can relate too. “More Doctors Smoke Camels Than Any Other Cigarette” an ad for Camel proclaimed in 1946.

Bad advice swirls around us like smoke in the air, but often, it is nothing more than just that – smoke and mirrors.

As is the case in many business contexts, old sales productivity advice is filled with misunderstandings and useless old wisdom that just doesn’t help. Often it suggests processes that hold you back rather than help you improve your sales results.

So, just like those useless and sometimes harmful suggestions of yesteryear, why not exchange these sales processes for ones that make life easier while leading to greater sales productivity?

Here’s some sales advice that we think could use a refresh:

What it used to be: Log all activity in your CRM

What it should be: Automate your CRM data logging

Logging activity in your CRM ultimately leads to greater sales productivity, better data and deeper insights. This was an entirely manual process, but no longer. Sales automation apps are designed to effortlessly document calls, email, text, and social media activities on their own so you’re free to focus on performing your specific sales activities instead of logging them. Today, if you’re using a CRM, you should have a automated activity logging tool. Reps simply require far too much information and have to record too much data to be able to spend their time selling effectively without one.

What it used to be: Take thorough notes during all calls

What it should be: Record calls and store them in your CRM

Note taking during customer calls used to be the only way to capture information like answers to key qualifying questions or the goals and challenges a prospect is facing. Now there’s technology that automatically transcribes calls and attaches these notes to the CRM record for easy reference. With no need to ask people to repeat themselves or devote half of our attention to taking notes, it’s possible to listen intently and ask clarifying questions so we can gain a deeper understanding. Modern day sales teams should employ call recording applications their reps can focus on having great sales conversations, not taking notes.

What it used to be: Coordinate schedules with your prospects via email ahead of time

What it should be: Use a calendar sharing application for efficiency

Scheduling appointments was previously a slow process that look place through an arduous exchange of emails to agree on the best date and time. Today, setting meetings is as easy as sharing a link that allows access to your schedule thanks to calendar apps. Today, all meeting should be scheduled with a few clicks of the mouse, not hours of email exchanges.

What it used to be: Use an autodialer to contact as many prospects as possible

What it should be: Utilize a dialer to have valuable conversations in a productive manner

Dialing calls from a leads list used to mean toggling from one record to the next in your CRM. Then, someone had the idea to write software that would automatically ring phone numbers sequentially, and only connect to the sales reps when someone answers the phone. It turns out all this does is motivate sales reps to wait around until their phone rings, and then once they do get a contact, they have no idea who they are talking to.

Smarter approaches offer a “dial next” feature that provides relevant context on the prospect while still letting the sales rep blitz through call lists. Now it’s possible to simply click to dial down a list on a single screen. Plus, call disposition and next steps are recorded in the same window following each call. This cycle is all completed in one application, which allows you to seamlessly advance from one lead to the next, increasing the speed with which you can call down a list, and therefore overall productivity.

What it used to be: Perform thorough company and prospect research before each call

What it should be: Optimize the sales stack to speed up the research process

Pre-call research is an important element of prospecting call success. It allows you to deliver more value and speak more empathetically than you would without it. Doing such research can be quite time consuming, but today there are apps that gather valuable intel and provide the context needed to conduct more productive sales conversations. Every sales rep should perform research before a call, but now they should get some help from applications that provide them with information.

What it used to be: Leave a voicemail message after each call

What it should be: Use voicemail drops save time and optimize your response rate

Leaving a voicemail message is necessary since people are answering their phones less frequently today. This means that voicemail content and quality are critical to your success. Plus, recording a message after almost every dial can be quite time-consuming and is even more risky if you’re winging it. Planning what you’ll say can help with message quality, but you still end up spending time recording a message for each call that goes to voicemail.

Now, instead of ad-libbing voicemails for every no-answer, you can pick from your library of pre-record high-quality voice messages for various types of calls and click to deliver the best one for the situation. Not only does this greatly increase your efficiency, it ensures your message is concise and has the greatest impact.

What it used to be: Reps, regardless of skill, should hit a certain number of dials and outbound messages per day

What it should be: Consistent coaching through call recordings

Consistent sales coaching has been proven to increase sales productivity. With the multitude of demands on sales managers, it continues to be challenging to provide the frequency and quality of call feedback that is required. Today’s coaching is no longer limited to one-on-one’s and ride along’s. It’s now possible to coach remotely via call barging, feedback on call recordings, and a shareable library of top performer recordings. Through this technology, managers are able to more easily provide the level of coaching that’s necessary for best results.

What it used to be: Only measuring a sales team based on superficial metrics like calls completed

What it should be: Rich metrics that incorporate voice data

Metrics and analytics have been used to provide deeper insights around sales performance for coaching and sales process improvement for years. It used to be a time-consuming process to run reports, draw comparisons and identify areas for improvement. Words said on calls used to be an unknown “black box” for sales managers, who could only get a sense of how a sales team performed on calls based on ride-alongs or call shadowing.

Now it’s possible to set up dashboards to track the surface level metrics, like dials completed, and the richer metrics, such as words used on calls, or keywords. Reports are now run with the touch of a button and the available information goes beyond basic metrics since Conversation AI has been added to the mix. This allows management to coach in new and different ways for significant sales productivity improvements.

Exchange the useless sales productivity processes for these more efficient ones. You’ll accomplish more in less time and drive greater results. Which outdated sales productivity hacks will you be replacing with newer, more effective ones? Let me know in the comments below.

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