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Efficiency Productivity Sales Team Work

Productivity-Boosting Strategies for Sales Teams

Reading Time: 4 minutes

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In the world of sales, time is money. For that reason, prioritizing sales productivity is a leading factor in overall success. While improving productivity isn’t something that happens overnight, with the right processes and strategy in place, you can set yourself and your team up to make 2019 your best year yet.

Sales is a constantly evolving field; what works one day may not the next. Furthermore, because 87 percent of training content and information is forgotten within weeks, a one-time training course is not effective. In order to succeed, sales reps need to be refreshed on the latest trends and developments in the buying process, buyer personas and products on a consistent basis. To help you most effectively prepare your team for a successful year, we’ve gathered a few productivity-boosting strategies you can implement today.

Communication and training

Communication is key. Without regular communication between sales reps and managers, missed connections can occur and can result in long- and short-term issues. To remain productive, sales managers should keep close ties with their reps through regular one-on-one meetings. Even just brief chats to feel out any grievances or frustrations can serve as time- and money-saving preventative maintenance.

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Sales coaching can increase productivity by a whopping 88 percent. By engaging your sales reps with valuable insight and guidance and easing any apprehensions they may have, not only will they feel more confident, but the likelihood of improved production will also rise. Taking note of how other companies engage their people can provide helpful insight when forming your training methods. CEO Mark Hurd, for example, created a mentoring program so new employees can learn from more experienced salespeople. The program encourages new employees to build on the relationships they established during initial training sessions and allows veteran reps to get a fresh look at what the younger people are bringing to the table.

Big data

Modern technology has provided access to more accurate and insightful data than ever before. What used to be an incredibly time-consuming task for sales reps can now be achieved with minimal effort and lead to improved results. Taking advantage of the abundant available information can provide your team with the necessary information to recognize what’s working, areas in need of improvement and opportunities for new successes. Management can also better understand the performance factors for individual reps as well as buyer behaviors and can, therefore, make more informed decisions about where to focus resources.

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To improve your team’s production, data analytics should be utilized to drive strategy and identify opportunities. The proof is in the pudding: Organizations that use sales analytics and insights increase team quota attainment 4 times faster than non-users. Once you’ve determined your most valuable metrics, dashboards should be employed to visualize patterns and insights on what makes certain reps more successful than others. Following a more data-driven practice in this format will undoubtedly contribute to changes in productivity levels and how prospects are engaged, in turn positively impacting your bottom line.

Automation technology

As with any industry in this age, technology has notably altered the sales process. Innovative new strategies are developed and contribute to the improved output. Studies show less than one-third of a salesperson’s day is focused on core selling activities, while the other two-thirds is spent on busy work that doesn’t directly add value to prospective deals. Cutting down on that wasted time can often be as simple as streamlining daily processes and eliminating redundant tasks. Automation technology is the optimal solution for this problem as it enables sales teams to work more efficiently. When redundant and mundane tasks are automated, sales reps can focus their energy on more important, selling-focused duties.

However, caution is advised for utilizing automation in sales. Because sales is still very much a personable transaction, it’s important to remember your prospects are people and will likely not respond well to fully-automated interactions. There’s still a lot of value in conversing with customers, particularly when it comes to larger and more complex deals. By automating other aspects, more time will be freed up to allow for this relationship building.

That being said, a few recommended forms of automation include:
Email drafting: Template emails can be automatically personalized for efficient communication with prospects.
Lead scoring: Rather than manually sifting through leads, automated lead scoring saves time and presents your most engaged leads through a point-based system.
Task automation: Reducing the risk of letting a lead go cold, automated systems allow reps to log their calls and receive automated reminders for unique follow-ups.
Lead routing: This type of automation relieves sales managers of the task of pairing leads with reps, handling it in seconds using a process based on your preferences.
Building reports: Automating sales reports allows for teams to visualize real-time displays of performance, providing invaluable insight into what’s working and what’s not.

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Recognition

Everyone likes to be recognized for their hard work, and feedback is essential for improvement. While sales compensation packages often include commission, going the extra mile to acknowledge success with positive reinforcements and incentives can be an excellent motivator. Whether that be celebratory company events, a gamified leaderboard or whatever else best suits your team, letting your reps know you appreciate their efforts and that there are rewards in good work can make all the difference in productivity. As for verbal recognition, leadership author L. David Marquet advises that praise is most effective when it’s immediate. Think minutes or seconds after success is achieved rather than hours or days. Keeping this in mind can serve as a helpful reminder to regularly congratulate your employees.

Employee-first culture

The American Institute of Stress says that occupational pressures and fears are the leading source of stress for American adults. That’s a big deal for obvious health reasons, but it also has an effect on your team’s productivity. When people aren’t feeling physically and mentally well, their ability to focus and produce plummets. Here are a few best practices to avoid employee burnout and unproductive stressors and create a healthy, productive culture:
• Encourage the use of PTO when necessary.
• Establish clear parameters for success and growth.
• Keep lines of communication between reps and managers open.
• Offer feedback when helpful.
• Provide reps with the right tools and equipment for success.

With a new year comes a sense of refreshment and a desire to improve on the prior year. Now that 2019 is officially underway, it’s time to set strong goals and establish your processes for achieving them. We hope these tips help facilitate a productive year for you and your sales team going forward!

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Customer Service General

The Rise of the Chatbot and How It Can Enhance Your Customer Support Team

Reading Time: 4 minutes

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A key element of customer satisfaction is customer support. Providing a customer journey that’s both effortless and entertaining but also comprises great support in case of queries or problems is a huge part of creating brand loyalty. You’re undoubtedly thinking that’s far easier said than done. Where do smaller companies find the resources necessary to have round-the-clock customer support teams? How about the larger ones, who receive thousands of messages per day across several different platforms?

The answer is simple: bots

Research institute Gartner forecasts that by 2020, people will have more conversations per day with a bot than they do with their significant other, and customer support is one domain where chatbots truly come into their own. Read on to find out why chatbots will take your customer support team to another level:

Customer Support is Becoming Increasingly Text-Based

It’s a bit of a cliché, but one that holds a lot of truth: your customers are the biggest ambassadors for your brand. Happy customers are loyal customers, and when you take into account that a returning customer is worth five times more than a new one, it makes sense to work on retaining them. Not only do unsatisfied clients tend not to come back, but they can also make a lot of noise about why they’re not happy, which is a situation you’d obviously rather avoid.

A stat that’s making the rounds is that by 2020, customer experience will become more important than price and product from the consumers’ point of view. Things have moved on a lot since the days when customer support meant calling a hotline and gritting your teeth to the sound of tinny muzak while your phone bill mounted.

Based on a recent study by Twilio, 66% of consumers prefer to interact with brands through messaging platforms (mainly the ones they’re using already, such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp or Viber) over any other medium. And with billions of people across the planet using messaging apps on a daily basis, it makes sense to interact with customers using channels they know and love.

Chatbots are Quick to Respond 24/7

Customers expect swift and efficient support, but according to Telegraph, almost 90% of messages requiring a response are ignored by companies. Customers that do end up getting some kind of response have to wait an average of ten hours, while they reckon that should be around four. Responding to customers in a timely fashion can be a major challenge for small businesses and start-ups, who don’t have experienced teams working round the clock to solve customer issues as they arrive, and a big investment even for larger companies. This is one of the major reasons it makes sense to bring in the chatbots. Unlike their human counterparts, customer support chatbots don’t need 8 hours of sleep a night and can give consumers the answers they need with little to no wait time. What’s more, customers don’t even have to leave the apps they use every day, as many chatbots integrate with the aforementioned messaging platforms such as Facebook Messenger, Viber and  WhatsApp.

They’re Proactive and Never Lose Their Cool

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With traditional customer support, companies sit back and wait for the customer to come to them, meaning that customer interactions are mostly passive and centered around issues and problems encountered. As you will have noticed, chatbots take a more proactive approach by being quick to leap in as soon as a customer arrives on a homepage, asking what they’re looking for and if they can be of any help. Advances in Natural language processing (NLP) mean that talking to a bot is no longer the slightly surreal and potentially frustrating experience it used to be: conversing with chatbots nowadays is very much like talking to a human agent – only faster. And while human customer support agents are well, only human, bots never get tired, frustrated, or lose their patience.

Bots can kickstart the conversation, pointing customers in the right direction, guiding them through the payment process and following-up post-sale by letting them know about useful tutorials to help them out with a recent purchase and asking questions about their experience, thus replacing the traditional satisfaction survey and helping you build even better customer journeys in the future.

Your Support Team Gets to Concentrate on the Important Stuff

As in many fields that are currently seeing huge developments thanks to artificial intelligence and machine learning, the rise of chatbots in customer support is raising questions about human agents eventually seeing their jobs taken over by robots. This is however far from being the case. Chatbots aren’t set to replace customer service representatives, but rather take care of a lot of the grunt work and help them do their jobs more efficiently, in better conditions and with a more satisfying result for the user.

Chatbots are just like human agents in that they learn on the job and improve as they go along. AI-powered chatbots can gather and analyse cross-channel data from a wide variety of sources, including previous conversations with the customer, social media profiles, web searches and interactions with your website. This enables them to personalise their responses to and improve them with every customer interaction while providing agents with essential analysis grounded in previous conversations and similar use cases.

Unlike human agents, chatbots aren’t able to handle situations that require in-depth analysis or diplomacy (yet. We’ll get there someday). What they are great at is taking the weight off customer support teams by welcoming customers and reassuring them that their issue is being addressed, before responding to simpler requests and filtering the more complex ones towards a customer service representative. The benefits are obvious: agents no longer have their time taken up by routine questions and can focus on bigger, more complex tasks that require advanced problem-solving skills.

In conclusion, customer support chatbots are a great investment for any company, big or small, seeking to give their customer service representatives they help they need to smooth the customer experience journey and boost brand loyalty while they’re about it. What’s not to love?

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Efficiency How We Work

Why Efficiency is More Important than Productivity

Efficiency 1
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Open a business blog of some kind – a major one like Forbes or Entrepreneur or one of the tiny ones, it doesn’t matter.

Take a look at the homepage.

Chances are that you will see at least one article about boosting one’s productivity, the productivity of one’s team or the entire organization.

Articles like that are ubiquitous and, more often than not, they miss the point completely.

It’s not just that they oversimplify the whole concept, which they also do in astonishingly broad strokes. It’s that they focus on the wrong thing.

In the majority of cases, these articles would be immeasurably more beneficial for the reader if they focused on being more efficient and not more productive.

Getting Down to Definitions

In order to understand why the focus on efficiency instead on productivity is often the better idea, we have to go all lexicographic and formally define these two concepts.

(It should be pointed out here that these two terms can mean a ton of different things in different situations and to different people, especially if one includes the historic definitions and implications.)

In the simplest terms possible, productivity is the measurement of the value and the amount of work that has been done over a set period of time.  

Efficiency, on the other hand, describes the capability of a specific effort or application to produce a certain desired outcome, utilizing the minimum amount of waste, resources, or unnecessary effort.

In other words, productivity measures how much value was produced over a certain period of time while efficiency measures the ratio between input and output.

So, why is efficiency (often) more important than productivity?

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