Eventually in your sales career, you’re going to hit a maximum effectiveness at winning business. “You can’t squeeze blood from a stone,” as the old saying goes. But that doesn’t mean you’re stuck where you’re at.
If you want to drive more deals now, you’ve got to increase your throughput of sales leads. And that takes boosting your sales productivity using these 7 techniques.
1. Reverse Engineering
Reverse engineering your goals, mainly your financial goals.
What are you shooting for? Is it your dream house? Sending your kids to college? A ridiculously fancy new watch? What is it that you want?
Take your goals, jot them down, and then it’s time to work backward.
Start with how much extra income you need to afford those goals in a specific amount of time. So say you want to bring in enough to put a 20% down payment on a $500,000 house in 3 years.
What you’ll do is break down the extra amount you’ll need to earn $100k each year, or $33,000. Then break that down into quarterly, monthly, and weekly commission goals.
But the work isn’t done yet. Now you have to take your sales success rate and work backward to determine how much outreach you need to do every week. So if you have a close rate of 5% and each deal nets you an extra $1000, you’ll have to find 660 prospects a year to achieve your financial goals. And that boils down to 13 prospects a week, totally manageable.
And best of all, you’ll always know when you’re on track to that brand new house and when you need to make up for lost time.
2. Measuring Progress
Now number two is measuring progress.
If you aren’t keeping track of everything, you’ll have no idea if you’re 1) being productive and 2) becoming more productive. You’ll be going on feel alone and have no real data to show for it.
So what should you do?
Measure your stats relentlessly.
At a bare minimum, and I’m emphasizing the minimum here, you need to be keeping track of the following on a weekly basis.
- Prospects added to your list
- Emails and sales cadences started
- Meetings booked
- Demos completed
- Sales closed
- Your average deal length
With these numbers at your fingertips, you can keep track of larger trends, see how you’re improving, and even spot shifts in the industry before they become a problem.
It’s simple to do. And it’s a game-changer.
3. Time Blocking
Number three, time blocking religiously.
This one takes some practice. But the productivity payoff is substantial.
For every one of your important tasks, you need to assign them a time block on your calendar. Prospecting, two hours a day, 8 to 10. Lead follow-up, one hour a day, 1 to 2. Demos, 3:30 to 5. Whatever it is, make a specific start and end time. And focus on it and it alone during that time window.
Now the tricky part is not wavering. Answering emails during the prospecting window, making calls during follow-ups, any sort of multitasking or shifting that time window will make the entire system fall apart.
Instead, be single-minded. Be focused. And only work on that task and that task alone. It’ll take some adjustment. But you’re going to be 10X more productive once you do.
4. Leveraging Parkinson’s Law
Number four is leveraging Parkinson’s Law.
Have you ever heard the saying that a goldfish grows as big as its tank allows it to? Well the same is true for the time you spend on tasks.
If you give yourself three hours to finish something, say a new email sequence, it’s going to take you three hours to do, even if it only should have taken two. Humans are great at following the path of least resistance. And if you’re spending more time than you should on something, it’s probably because the deadline is off.
That’s Parkinson’s Law – “the time required to perform a task tends to extend to all the time available to perform it.”
So to fight that, you need to reduce the time you give to projects. Ask for forgiveness rather than permission and cut back the task to make it simpler. Usually this’ll be for the better and you’ll be thanked for the greater efficiency.
You may even want to consider not doing the task at all and seeing if anyone complains. You’d be surprised at how much of what we spend time on is just plain busy work.
5. Saying “No”
Number five is a powerful one—learn how to say no.
No gives clear boundaries and stops clients, colleagues, and unreasonable bosses from walking all over you. And I guarantee saying it just a few times a day will free up literally hours and hours of time each week.
Your time is valuable. And you need to treat it as such.
6. Prioritizing Revenue Generators
Six, prioritize the real revenue generators in your business.
Your business won’t die if your accounts are a little late. It won’t die if you check your emails in an hour rather than immediately. And it won’t die if you spend a little less time polishing the website.
But you know what will cause it to die? Neglecting to create a sustainable pipeline. Never moving prospects through it. Not closing on a time-sensitive deal and losing a sure thing.
There are tasks that are essential to bringing in the dough. And there are others that can wait until later.
Make sure a good amount of your time blocked time each day is spent on the former. And focus less on the latter.
7. Qualifying Harder
And last but not least is qualifying leads harder.
One of the best lessons you’ll learn in your sales career is that not every lead is right for your product. And the sooner you recognize those leads in your pipeline, the sooner you can spend more time on the ones that are likely to buy.
That means you need to qualify clients more. When you find the right lead, you spend less time on explaining the value, less time on handling objections, and less time on closing. And that means you can spend your day bringing more great leads into your pipeline.
If you need a quick qualification method, use BANT:
- Budget – What is the lead’s budget? Does it match up with your price?
- Authority – Does the lead have the power to make decisions, or do they influence policy-making?
- Need – What are the lead’s business needs?
- Timeframe – In what timeframe will the lead be fulfilling the solution?
The more time you spend qualifying, the less time you’ll spend on bad leads that will never be a fit.
There’s only so much you can do about close rates. But at some point, you’re going to hit your max. And that’s when you’ve got to put your productivity efforts into generating more leads by…