Operational efficiency is the practice of making any process better. When we talk about having operational 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 was a survey and a statistic to prove it, the following statement would undoubtedly be correct: 10 out of 10 sales managers are looking for ways to make the sales process more and more efficient. And also customer-oriented.
That’s definitely your reality today, right? You analyze your process end-to-end. It reviews its strategies and actions and looks for ways to make it better.
The much sought after operational sales efficiency is the “pot of gold at the end of the rainbow”. However, with a difference. If you actually make it to the end of the rainbow, it is highly unlikely that you will find gold.
But, if you adopt strategies, actions, policies and tools in your business process, you are taking great steps towards greater efficiency.
How to do this?
That’s what we’ll talk about from now on in this article. Good reading!
What is sales operational efficiency?
As mentioned above, the concept of operational efficiency is the practice of making processes – whatever they are – always better.
So, if we think about the sales process, it is an action by everyone (not just managers) to improve the way the company sells today.
For example. Let’s think about a Saabs company. It’s a process that has several steps. And she works with complex sales, such as B2B. Prospect, relate, nurture, qualify, sell, and define project scope…
These are all 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 just talking about achieving business goals and objectives.
Companies can have this without, in fact, having a process that has efficiency and effectiveness in its stages. To be efficient in the operation is to produce more and better. Above all, it is the search for customer focus.
Efficient at all stages
However, it is not enough for salespeople to perform their tasks correctly. The entire sales force needs to be efficient.
For example, marketing needs to generate leads within the ideal customer profile (ICP). Otherwise, the sales team will waste a lot of time dealing with customers who don’t want to buy.
All because you didn’t do the job right there in the beginning. Why your team, in its marketing strategies, did not focus on the right audience.
Do you understand where we want to go? A process that is not oiled is reflected in the whole. It goes against the efficiency that your company needs to have.
That’s why it is a constant process within organizations.
Why is it so crucial to pursue operational sales efficiency?
At first, the answer is even obvious: to solve problems!
After all, inertia doesn’t lead anywhere. In other words, it’s no use realizing that the results don’t improve. Or that the actions taken have no effect on sales if you don’t correct them.
The decision-making in sales is crucial. Strategic. It must be done with all the care it deserves. They say that problems are opportunities to bring out the best in each other.
When we talk about the sales area of a company, this remains true. Above all, for companies that understand that operational efficiency:
- it’s not exactly about layoffs;
- they don’t rely on reshaping the entire sales team;
- They depend on a structure that is suitable for everyone.
Keeping an eye on the details
The truth is this. First, it is necessary to have the means to identify the bottlenecks.
It is crucial to understand about inventory control. After all, it is your money that is at stake. When it comes to sales, we need to understand the key points from the business side to customer satisfaction.
So for example. Let’s think of a company that cannot generate good leads.
Here, without a doubt there is a failure in prospecting. Okay. Yes. But where?
Can you tell what your acquisition channels are? And what are the marketing actions carried out in each of them? The solution cannot be just to change your team.
Just change parts because they aren’t yielding. Is there management on top of the team’s day-to-day activities? It is obvious that getting employees right is crucial.
It is not the intention of this article to oppose this. The issue here is mindset change. It’s about managing sales driven by numbers.
To have a culture to always improve business practices. After all, nobody wants a temporary solution, right?
Just changing people, without looking at the process, will do it. Want a change of culture, work philosophy.
That is why it is crucial to seek operational sales efficiency at all times. It is vital to have them every step of the way.
It’s this success mindset that will make your sales and processes better and better.
How to have operational efficiency in sales? Check out 4 strategies!
Okay, so what actions will help you achieve operational sales efficiency 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 all the time.
In other words, it is not enough to do it once or a few times. Remember what we said? It’s about a change in culture. From the search for constant improvement.
And that requires organization. Subject. Focus. Yes, it takes work – but it’s worth it. To help you, we have 4 strategies to make your company more efficient and effective in sales.
1 – Improve and retain talents
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Well-trained professionals are essential for operational sales efficiency in any company.
And here we are not just talking about sales training to improve strategies or use of some tool. It’s valuable to have a working methodology.
Oh, and adopting agile methods is a great alternative. When you qualify your team, you are investing. Invest 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 satisfying results is, without a doubt, something that everyone 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 sales head to delegate activities and trust people.
And, of course: monitor the results of actions. Start giving people autonomy and freedom. However, of course, within the parameters required in the process.
This is crucial to developing a sense of responsibility for the business. It’s something strategic.
Value your good employees
However, it will not help to develop your talents. Or offer all kinds of training and study if you don’t retain them.
As a matter of fact, it will only be preparing it for the market. Nor will you reap so much fruit from your work. Retaining talent is crucial. It’s strategic.
Even more so for those who have been with the company longer and have acquired great knowledge about operations. Losing staff is expensive.
It is time consuming for many people who will need to set aside their duties for several moments to train and qualify this new person.
Therefore, value who is with you. Faulty management and lack of financial recognition frustrate employees.
The professional who is not valued does not take root. In other words, they won’t think twice about seeing opportunities in the market.
So, well… that’s what we’re talking about. You will need to start the entire learning cycle over. What you aspired to be ideal for the sector will have to be postponed.
2 – Communicate processes clearly
When there is communication, expectations are aligned. Therefore, frustration within a company is difficult.
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 drop. Either because employees did not understand what and how it needed to be done.
Be it because of lack of motivation and dissatisfaction. Or even stress that the lack of information generated. Some questions need to be answered.
And the answers need to be inside your sales playbook, accessible to everyone.
- How many and what are the steps in the sales funnel?
- How much is the % of sales commission for each member ( SDR , salesperson, marketing);
- What are the most common sales objections and how do you 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 each one’s budget?
- When and how will open proposals be followed up?
And so on… Get the point? Everyone’s work needs to happen within the company’s expectations.
But, for that, they need to be always clear for who will carry out the tasks.
3 – Invest in technology
Technology. It is crucial for two reasons. Firstly, to make a business management based on numbers. Second, to, of course, achieve greater efficiency in the processes.
The digital transformation of the sector is urgent. Even more so if your team still manages sales via spreadsheets. So please answer.
How will you know which sales metrics are relevant to your business? Ah, answer too. Even if you do, how will you be able to follow them in real time?
And on top of making any decision based on numbers? Will not.
Technology serves not only to see numbers and sales performance. It acts decisively on productivity within the sales routine.
- Robotic activities, mechanical 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 crucial for the operational efficiency of sales in companies, provides:
- standardization of the business process;
- earnings forecast;
- greater productivity from all who use it;
- Cost savings. After all, it takes less time to do the same things;
- Increased closing rates. After all, you will see all your opportunities and know what actions to take to close sales.
4 – Automate processes
However, just investing in technology will not automatically reflect operational efficiency in sales.
This will only happen if you, within your CRM, manage to automate processes in the commercial sector. How to do this?
Well, first of all is to understand how your system’s automatic actions work.
You can, whenever you generate a lead on your website to request a quote, configure 3 actions:
- Register this contact in your customer base;
- Create an opportunity with customer data in some step of a funnel (you define which one);
- Distribute, via round-robin, the lead to a random seller. This helps no one get overwhelmed or idle;
Check it out. A generated lead saved your salesperson, or pre-salesperson, from performing 3 manual activities that would take a long time to be done. This is having operational efficiency in sales.
Having agile processes that are not susceptible to human error, such as a misspelled email, a misplaced number…
Quickly contact your leads
Another way to be effective is to be quick to contact your leads. You don’t want them to cool off in your pre-sales funnel waiting for your SDR contact, right?
Well then… how about automating this process?
Let’s say a potential customer has downloaded a funnel-bottom content. From that, the lead scoring of his marketing automation platform showed that he might be in the mood to listen to an offer.
In addition to running the 3 automatic actions above, do another one. Run one by creating an activity for SDR to contact a phone.
Ah! It’s even better. Take advantage of the fact that you have a CRM integrated with VoIP telephony providers. Call from within the opportunity for the call to be recorded.
So you can listen in on sales training. From there, see the points that you did well and the ones that didn’t. As a result, you have data to hone and have even greater persuasion power.
And I’m taking big steps to have operational efficiency in sales.
So, how can we help you?
Enjoy and read two articles that will help you to have better processes in your business.
The first talks about the benefits of 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.