Operational efficiency is the practice of making any process better. When we talk about operating efficiency in sales, we need to address strategies, actions, policies, practices and tools that aim to improve the way your company sells today.
If there were research and statistics to prove it, the following statement would undoubtedly be correct:
10 out of 10 sales managers are looking for ways to make the business process increasingly efficient and customer-oriented.
This is definitely your reality today, right? You analyze your process from end to end, review your strategies and actions and look for ways to make it better.
The sought after operational efficiency of sales is the “pot of gold at the end of the rainbow”.
However, with one difference: if you do reach the end of the rainbow, it is very unlikely that you will find gold.
But, if you adopt strategies, actions, policies and tools in your business process, you are making great strides to be more and more efficient.
How to do this? That’s what we’ll talk about in this article from now on.
What is operational sales efficiency?
As we said earlier, the concept of operational efficiency is the practice of making processes – whatever they may be – constantly better.
So, if we think about the sales process, it is a movement for everyone (not just managers) to improve the way the company today sells.
So, for example.
Think of a SaaS company that has several steps and that works with complex sales, such as B2B.
Prospect, relate, nurture, qualify, sell, define project scope …
All of these are common activities within the sales industry, however, they are not always carried out in the best possible way.
But when we talk about operational sales efficiency, we are not talking about simply achieving business goals and objectives.
Companies can achieve this without, in fact, having a process that has efficiency and effectiveness in its stages.
Being operationally efficient is the search for productivity and, above all, being able to focus on the customer.
Efficient at all stages
But, it’s more than just salespeople doing their jobs correctly: the entire sales force needs to be efficient.
If the marketing team does not prospect people within the company’s ideal customer profile (ICP), the sales team will waste a lot of time dealing with customers who don’t want to buy.
Or even if they buy, the sales cycle will certainly be much longer. Which fatally raises your CAC.
All because you didn’t do the right job in the beginning, there in your marketing strategies to attract the right people.
Do you understand where we want to go?
A process that is not oiled is reflected in the whole. It compromises the efficiency that your company needs to have.
That is why it is a constant process within organizations.
Why is operating sales efficiency so important?
Well, the answer at first is, to some extent, obvious: to solve problems!
Especially because it does not help you to realize that your actions in sales are not having an effect and do not make any decision to correct them.
They say that problems are opportunities to show the best of each one. When we talk about the sales area of a company, that remains true.
Mainly so that companies understand that operational efficiency in sales does not necessarily have to do with layoffs.
Or major reformulations in the commercial team or the entire structure that surrounds it.
The truth is that, first, you need to have the means to identify bottlenecks.
So, for example, if we are talking about a company that cannot generate good leads – there is certainly a flaw in prospecting.
But where exactly? Do you know what your acquisition channels are and what marketing actions are carried out in each one?
Or do you prefer to simply change your professionals because they are not bringing the right person into the company?
Obviously, getting employees right is essential – and nobody wants to oppose it.
The issue here is the change of mindset: to do sales management guided by numbers and to have a culture of constant improvement in your business.
You do not want a temporary solution that will happen with the simple exchange of people, right?
He wants a change in culture, in work philosophy. That is why it is important to seek operational sales efficiency at all times, at all stages of the process.
It is this successful mindset that will make your sales and processes better and better.
How to have operational efficiency in sales? Check out 4 strategies!
Okay, but then what actions will help you to have operational efficiency in sales in your business?
As a matter of fact, there are several strategies that you need to put into practice.
Some you will need to repeat constantly. That is, it is not enough to do it once or a few times.
Remember what we talked about? It is a change of culture. The search for constant improvement.
And that requires organization. Discipline. Focus. Yes, it takes work – but it’s worth it.
To help you, we have selected 4 strategies to make your company more efficient and effective in sales.
1 – Improve and retain talent
This should come as no surprise to anyone: well-trained professionals are essential to the operational efficiency of sales in any company.
And here we are not just talking about sales training to improve strategies or use any tools.
It is important to have a working methodology – adopting agile methods is a great alternative.
When you qualify your team, you are investing in productivity and strategic intelligence in your business.
More than that: it invests in everyone’s professional engagement. Doing your activities better and bringing more satisfactory results is undoubtedly something that anyone wants.
Autonomy is another factor to consider. When you qualify your employees, there is no need to micro-manage any action.
It is up to the sales manager or the commercial head to delegate activities and trust people. And, of course: monitor the results of the actions.
Starting to give people autonomy and freedom, within the parameters required in the process, is important to develop a sense of responsibility with the business.
Value your good employees
However, there is no point in developing your talents, offering all types of training and knowledge, if you do not retain them.
As a matter of fact, he will simply be preparing him for the market and will not reap as much fruit in relation to his work.
Retaining professionals, especially those who have been with the company for a longer period of time and have acquired great knowledge about operations, is essential within the much desired operational efficiency.
Losing staff is expensive. It is time consuming for many people who will need to put aside their duties for several moments to train and qualify this new person.
So, value who is with you.
Inefficient management and financial recognition frustrate employees.
This is because, once they are not valued and their efforts and results are recognized, they will not think twice to look at other opportunities in the market.
And then, well … that’s what we said: you will need to start the whole learning cycle over again and what you wanted as the ideal for a certain sector, for example, will need to be postponed.
2 – Communicate processes clearly
When there is communication, alignment of expectations, there will hardly be frustration within a company.
But for that, managers need to be clear at all times about the business context and where they want to go.
The example comes from above, right?
Good sales management is done through dialogue – and it doesn’t have to be just during a sales meeting.
If communication fails, operational efficiency will inevitably drop.
Whether because the employees did not understand what and how it needed to be done, or because of the lack of motivation, dissatisfaction or stress that the lack of information generated.
Some questions need to be answered – and the answers need to be within your sales playbook, accessible to everyone.
- How many and what are the sales funnel steps?
- How much is the sales commission% of each member (SDR, salesperson, marketing);
- What are the most common sales objections and how to get around them?
- What is the lead qualification script during a call?
- What sales methodology is used to qualify? And to sell?
- What are the customer acquisition channels? How much is the budget for each?
- When and how will the open proposals follow up?
And so on …
Do you understand the point? Everyone’s work needs to happen within the company’s expectations. But, for that, they must always be clear to who will perform the tasks.
3 – Invest in technology
To be really efficient and, more than that, to do business management based on numbers, it is extremely important – and decisive – to have technology within the processes.
This means that if your company still manages sales through spreadsheets, the digital transformation of the sector is urgent.
Why, first of all: how will you know which sales metrics are relevant to your business?
Second: even if you know, how will you be able to follow them in real time and make a decision on the numbers?
The technology serves not only to track numbers and sales performance but also contributes fundamentally to productivity within the sales routine.
Robotic, mechanical activities of copying and pasting emails; customize a business proposal; write a contract; send dozens of messages …
All of this can be done through a sales system like a CRM.
Software, so important for the operational efficiency of sales in companies, provides:
- standardization of the commercial process;
- earnings predictability;
- greater productivity for everyone who uses it;
- cost reduction (after all, it takes less time to do the same things);
- increases in closing rates (you’ll see all your opportunities and know what actions to take to close sales).
4 – Automate processes
However, simply investing in technology will not necessarily be reflected in operational sales efficiency.
This will only happen if, within your CRM, you manage to automate processes in the commercial sector.
How to do this? Well, first of all is to understand how the automatic actions of your system work.
You can, whenever you generate a lead on your website to request a quote, configure 3 actions:
- Register this contact in your client portfolio;
- Create an opportunity with customer data at some stage of a funnel (you define which one);
- Distribute, via round-robin, the lead to a random seller (this helps nobody to be overwhelmed or idle);
See: a lead generated saved your salesperson, or pre-salesperson, from performing 3 manual activities that would take a long time to complete.
That is to have operational efficiency in sales: agile processes that are not susceptible to human error, like an incorrectly written email, a number out of place …
Agile contact your leads
Another way to be efficient is to be agile in contacting your leads. You don’t want them to cool down in your pre-sales funnel waiting for your SDR contact, right?
Well, then … how about automating this process?
Let’s say a potential customer downloaded funnel content and the lead scoring from your marketing automation platform showed that he might be interested in hearing an offer.
Well, in addition to running the 3 automatic actions above, run another one creating an activity for the SDR to contact a phone.
Ah! And even better: take advantage of the fact that you have an integrated CRM with VoIP phone providers, call on the inside of the opportunity for the call to be recorded.
In this way, with technology within your processes and step automation, you can take long strides to really have operational efficiency in your sales area.
So, how can we help you?
If you were in doubt about the article or want to share some pain in your company’s sales management, speak to a consultant.
Enjoy and read two articles that will help you to have better and better processes in your business.
The first talks about the importance of implementing the PDCA cycle to improve all actions in your company.
The second addresses the need to have a sales dashboard configured with the relevant metrics.
A hug from CWT, your CRM. #RunCWT