Support Your Sales Team: A Guide for Managers

support your sales teamEvery sales manager wants their team to be successful– but sometimes, that’s easier said than done. Sales reps face a number of obstacles that can keep them from their goals and it’s your job as their manager to help them overcome these challenges. To put it simply, sales reps are only as effective as their managers enable them to be.

Today’s post breaks down five ways you can support your sales team to become more productive. Keep reading!

Five ways to support your sales team and increase productivity.

1. Provide your team with access to direct dial phone numbers.

Are your sales reps relying on headquarter phone numbers every time they reach out to a prospect? If so, they’re not performing as well as they could be.

The benefit of direct dials is obvious– they enable your team to get in touch with the exact contacts they’re looking for, faster. Consider these statistics (source):

  • It takes 22 minutes to connect using switchboard numbers compared to just 5 minutes using direct dials.
  • A sales rep using a direct dial is 46% likelier to reach a prospect at the director level than a rep who is not using a direct dial.
  • A sales rep using a direct dial is 147% likelier to reach a prospect at the VP level than a rep who is not using a direct dial.

We know what you’re thinking– “I’d love for my reps to have direct dials, but where do I get them?” Unless you want to spend countless hours on prospect research, your best bet is to enlist the help of a B2B data provider.

2. Invest in ongoing coaching.

Studies show that sales reps forget 84% of all sales training content after 90 days (source). There’s a simple solution to this problem– implement a program to facilitate consistent sales coaching and ongoing training. The benefits are staggering:

  • Sales managers spend only an average of 5% of their time coaching, but sales coaching increases sales productivity up to 88% (source).
  • High-performing businesses are twice as likely to provide ongoing sales training compared to low-performing ones (source).

We recommend that you meet with the members of your team at least once a month and make sure they’re using best practices and are up-to-date with any recent developments. Consistent check-ins allow you assess how your team is performing and what they might need a little extra training on.

For a more in-depth look at sales training, check out the following blog post: How to Get More From Your B2B Sales Training.

3. Facilitate better sales and marketing alignment.

Sales success is dependent on more than just the sales department. In fact, we’d argue that the marketing department holds an equal amount of responsibility for sales productivity.  For this reason, sales and marketing alignment is crucial if you want your sales reps to be as productive as possible. Here’s why:

Your reps will receive better leads.

Only 27% of the leads sales reps get from marketing are qualified to purchase your product or service (source). Fix this problem by sitting down with marketing leaders to agree on one universal definition for a sales-qualified lead (SQL). That way, both teams are operating under the same goals. Think about it, if marketing isn’t clear about the factors that qualify a lead, how can you expect them to develop strategies to generate them?

You’ll have increased access to relevant content.

65% of sales reps struggle to find content to send to prospects (source). Your marketing team works hard to create relevant content, so you should make sure your team knows how to access it. With the help of marketing leaders, develop a system for reps to find the content they need.

Your team will understand your customers better.

The sales and marketing departments have different perspectives when it comes to customers. While sales reps have firsthand experience speaking with customers about their needs, preferences and pain points, marketers can offer insights into broader trends and commonalities. When the two departments come together, the entire company gets a more holistic, accurate view of the customer—allowing you to sell and market better.

Most companies understand the importance of alignment, but it’s up to you as a sales manager to make it a reality.

4. Use the right tools and technologies.

We’ve referenced this statistic before, but it remains relevant– the average sales rep only spends a third of their selling (source). The rest of their time is spent on a myriad of administrative tasks like prospect research, setting appointments, and entering data. This productivity pitfall isn’t your sales reps’ fault. It falls on you as their manager to support them with the tools and technologies they need to be productive.

Of course, there are a ton of options when it comes to your sales stack, so it’s important to do your research. We’ve gone more in-depth on this topic in the past, so check out the following posts:

5. Be diligent about performance metrics.

You can only support your sales team if you have a solid understanding of their performance. To develop that understanding, you must be diligent about the metrics you track. As a sales manager you’re likely tracking things like quota attainment and revenue, but if you stop there, you won’t have the full picture of your employees’ performance. Here are a few other metrics that can give you important insight into the sales process:

  • Length of sales cycle
  • Time spent selling
  • Average deal size
  • Percent of reps achieving quota
  • Revenue by product or service
  • Deals lost to competitors
  • Market penetration
  • Customer lifetime value
  • New business revenue
  • Number of daily sales activities
  • Win rate
  • Lead response time
  • Percentage of leads followed up with
  • Customer acquisition cost
  • Revenue by channel

Remember: the purpose of tracking metrics isn’t to punish sales reps who underperform. Rather, they will give you a clear picture of what you can do to help your team improve in key areas.

Final Thoughts About Supporting Your Sales Team

There you have it – five ways you can provide better support for your sales team. If they’re not delivering the results you’re looking for, remember to take a step back and think about what tools you can provide them to promote success.

Contact ZoomInfo today to learn why we’re the B2B database to support your sales needs!