Are You Responsible For Your Sales Team’s Lack Of Productivity?

Could you be responsible for your sales team’s lack of productivity? Have you ever asked yourself these questions?

  • How effective are your sales teams? 
  • How impactful are your marketing campaigns?
  • Are you throwing good money after bad?
  • How do you really know?

I’ve asked myself these questions many times.

Studies show the average worker is productive for 2 hours in an average 8 hour work day. I totally disagree, because it is much harder work trying to not get caught doing nothing by your boss, than actually doing work.

Jokes aside, I once worked for a high growth tech startup, and someone had the idea of hiring a team of millennials with a limited sales background. Their only role was to make cold calls 12 hours a day to sell a rather complex software solution. I really struggled to know whether the anecdotal evidence of 200 calls a day was really an effective means of reaching key prospects? Is the mass-market reach for everyone? How could I tell if these most targeted efforts were working? It’s not always obvious.

Do you sometimes feel like you’re looking at the wrong data but can’t be sure? Much like those in charge of making the Allies’ airplanes more secure during WWII. The Allies mapped the bullet holes in planes that were hit by Nazi fire. They reinforced areas of the plane that had more bullet holes, thinking to strengthen the planes. Theoretically it was a logical deduction. But it turns out that the holes in the warplanes were actually not where the planes were most vulnerable, as Abraham Wald pointed out at the time.

They had mapped returning planes that had actually been able to survive the firepower. Instead, areas that really should be reinforced were the places on the plane where there were no bullet holes, because these are the places where the plane had not survived being hit.  Many of you may know the phenomenon known today as survival deviation.

The logic behind the story

It turns out that we have a tendency to use the same logic in our daily business tasks. We look for the obvious signs of a marketing campaign working or a sales effort that will lead to closure, when so often it is easy to make the error of seeing the result not for what it truly is. The sale, without question, is not truly your best sale when it comes to figuring out what works. And the chances of having that same lightning strike over and over in the same way are limited.

A sales battle, with bake-offs, and comparisons and demos, and POC’s, and responding RFQ’s and RFP’s and answering awkward regulatory compliance questions are the ones where most vendors learn the most.

So how about your marketing campaigns? Do you really know where your customers have learned the most? Where you’ve learned the most about what works vs what was spectacular timing?

Sometime we secure a sale because we walked in at a moment when the IT Operations department was in the midst of a meltdown. They would do almost anything to upgrade and modernize their current systems to showcase the rest of the business that they were making changes and modifying things. But if that weren’t the case would that sale really have happened? One-off opportunism is wonderful, but its not what marketing campaigns are built around. 

But why would you throw so much good money after bad if you knew it was bad?

Perhaps the answer lies in not being sure what was bad effort? The best way in which to minimize the uncertainty is through data – good data. And pulling in data from multiple sources, and correlation of that data to paint a more holistic picture of what actually happened.

One step better: How about doing it in real time?

Make smarter decisions that are most cost effective and lead to a far greater chance of having exactly the right messaging, campaigns, prospects, region, sales people, tasks productivity gains and greater efficiency. All of this can be done through Integrating your data from multiple 3rd party Applications into HubSpot, accessing meaningful Reporting or nowadays, using more real time custom built Dashboards.

Gone are the days of month end reporting on sales numbers – make real time adjustments to your tactical go to market plans before the results are in, and give your business every opportunity to be agile and allow you to focus on your perfect market segment.

Use data to your advantage in making sure your team’s lack of productivity is a thing of the past.

team's lack of productivity

You definitely could be responsible for your sales team’s lack of productivity.