The gap between top-performers and “the rest” is on the rise, according to recent research. This puts even more pressure on sellers to have an evolved and effective sales approach in order to be successful. But many sellers don’t know what to focus on or how to adapt.
According to McKinsey, “Sales organizations know they have to be more calibrated in how they work and more exacting in squeezing out value. But with dozens of initiatives clamoring for attention and heightened investment scrutiny, some have struggled to know where to place their focus.”
2 ways to adapt your sales approach
McKinsey found specific areas in which top performers were surpassing the rest, thanks to increased productivity.
One way they drive productivity is how they handle non-sales activities. Despite the many tools and programs available, these non-selling tasks can account for up to two-thirds of sales teams’ time. Top performers have found ways to offload these activities to free up more time for actual selling.
According to McKinsey, automation and AI can free up as much as 20% of a sales team’s capacity. Layering digital tools is proving to be an effective strategy, but McKinsey notes that sellers don’t need to rush into using multiple tools. A slow, steady adoption can be best, especially for teams that haven’t yet embraced automation and AI.
SalesFuel discusses this topic, and points out that sellers can tiptoe into this space by considering tools that:
- Prioritize task management
- Re-route prospects based on call outcomes
- Send communications out based on chosen factors
- Track email
Adding one or two tools into your sales approach can make a big difference in productivity. As Mary Clare Novak writes for G2.com, “So much time and energy go into your selling process, and it’s important that a majority of it be spent working with customers to find solutions to their pain points through your product or service. Sales automation makes that possible.”
Keep your focus on the most valuable opportunities
In their research, McKinsey uncovered a surprising stat: “Underperforming B2B sales teams spend a disproportionate amount of their time—more than 50 percent in some cases—serving customers that contribute 20 percent or less to the company’s revenues.”
How do you think you compare? It can be easy to get caught up in pursuing a lead or catering to a specific customer. But smart sellers understand where their time and efforts are best spent.
Third-party data can be key here, and integrating it into your sales approach can help you get a clear picture of spend and growth potential. Once again, adding digital tools is beneficial, as they can show you which accounts deserve the most engagement.
McKinsey also found that sales teams used these tools to get a snapshot of their own activities. “Those insights can help with alignment, flagging areas where reps may be spending too much or too little time relative to the size of the opportunity,” they note.
Small steps can lead to big outcomes
While it may seem overwhelming (if not impossible) to replicate everything these top-performers do, McKinsey advises sellers that it can be done. They just need to start small. “The good news is that the practices that catapulted these businesses to the top can be replicated—and many of their formulas don’t require a year’s long transformation.”
Take these findings into account and then consider how you can adjust your own sales approach. Beginning with a smaller focus, you can widen that scope as you become comfortable with the changes. And for more tips on boosting productivity, check out these other professional suggestions.
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