Five Productivity Obstacles Sales Organizations Need To Overcome

Many of the sales leaders we work with say they need to find ways to make their sales team more productive. It’s no wonder, given the constant pressure to deliver results. Sales leaders also recognize that meeting sales goals consistently requires a broad-based contribution from everyone on the team — not just a few star players.

Fostering Productivity

How do you foster that contribution and help sales teams be truly productive? A starting point is to understand some of the key productivity challenges that today’s sales teams face:

  • The complexity of today’s buyer. Today’s B2B buyers are more self-directed than ever before, and they’re likely to base much of their decision-making on information they find online. When buyers do interact with sales reps, they expect a continuous experience — which means that to prospect productively, reps need to know where buyers are in the journey and provide the information they need to progress.
  • Lack of comfort with virtual selling. Fifty-four percent of sales reps in Forrester’s latest sales activity study said that losing the ability to meet with clie

    Author: Phil Harrell, VP and group director, Forrester Research

    nts face-to-face has hurt their ability to meet quota. Though sales teams continue to hone their virtual selling skills, achieving the same level of proficiency as in an in-person environment takes practice. Virtual selling will be the norm in many selling scenarios even after the pandemic, so reps need to build these capabilities to be productive and effective.

  • Not using technology to its full potential. The proliferation of sales technology in recent years can leave sales leaders feeling unsure of where to begin. It’s imperative to work with sales operations to choose the tools that will yield the greatest productivity gains for your organization. Whether it’s automating capture of buyer interactions or leveraging revenue operations platforms that centralize data and analytics, truly understanding what’s available and zeroing in on what will best serve your team can be a game changer.
  • Time-draining administrative tasks. Our latest sales activity study data shows that sales reps spend, on average, more than one-quarter of their working hours on administrative tasks such as internal meetings, order booking, and expense reporting. That’s slightly more than the time they spend in the most productive manner: directly selling to prospects. Finding opportunities to minimize unproductive work is a key to improving team performance.
  • Not having the right content. Our sales activity studies have consistently shown that finding content and information is a significant productivity obstacle for sales teams. Without easy access, reps will miss opportunities to provide information that could help move prospects closer to a sale. Steps such as consolidating content into a centralized repository and categorizing it by buyer journey phase can contribute to greater sales success.

Productivity Challenges

Working through these sales productivity challenges is essential to enabling reps to perform as effectively as possible. Soon, we’ll be introducing a new sales productivity content series that dives deeper into these challenges and how to resolve them — watch for that over the next few weeks. In the meantime, reach out to us to learn more about how we can help. Forrester sales services analysts have been in your shoes and will work with you to dismantle your specific sales productivity roadblocks.

Author Phil Harrell is VP and group director at Forrester Research. Read more from Forrester here.

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