Sales can be a tough job in the best of times. But today, extraordinary changes in the macroeconomic environment, buyer behavior, and budget cuts are forcing companies to operate with smaller teams and fewer resources.
This puts tremendous pressure on salespeople to perform well — and on sales leaders to maximize their team’s productivity and improve sales outcomes. As a result, many leaders are looking for ways to tighten up their processes, increase team efficacy, and improve their company’s sales velocity.
More often than not, though, they don’t have the visibility and insights they need to address some of the most common sales performance gaps.
How Sales Teams Perform Throughout the Sales Funnel
Most sales processes today look like a funnel, with the majority of activities being at the top and some activities at the bottom. If a sales team is underperforming, many sales leaders have their sales team do more top-of-the-funnel activities such as calls, emails, and scheduling more meetings. While it’s true that top-of-the-funnel efficacy can improve bottom-of-funnel outcomes, beyond a certain volume, sales activities will generally reach a point of diminishing returns if there is too much emphasis on lead quantity over quality. So, it’s crucial for sales leaders to consider other areas, too.
To gain a better understanding of how sales teams perform against their process and pipeline metrics throughout the sales funnel, Outreach conducted a survey of more than 250 organizations of all sizes in the spring of 2020.
Here's what we discovered in our first Outreach Sales Productivity Index:
- A sales team’s performance typically varies at different stages throughout the sales funnel.
- Sales leaders’ expectations are most out of alignment with their team’s actual performance at the top of the funnel.
- Even though there is a large gap between sales leader expectations and actual meeting bookings, meeting hold rates are still high.
- Converting meetings into opportunities remains a challenge.
- Close rates usually meet sales leader expectations, even when sales reps don’t meet their numbers earlier in the sales cycle.
Consequently, our biggest takeaway from all of this is that it may make more sense for sales leaders to turn their funnels into pipes and focus on improving their team efficacy and sales velocity instead.
How to Turn Your Sales Funnel into a Pipe to Improve Your Sales Performance and Sales Velocity
A few examples of some places where your company can close some of these performance gaps include:
- Ensuring your buyers find early interactions valuable enough to learn more about your organization’s solution. (Good discovery and problem identification can increase customer engagement and result in excellent meeting hold rates.)
- Converting more sales meetings into opportunities.
- Providing more guidance to your sellers on time management and prioritization.
You can also:
- Set up standardized, repeatable, and scalable processes throughout the sales cycle.
- Establish a more consistent workflow between your company’s team members.
- Leverage sales engagement technology to gain the visibility and insights you need into your sales operations to continually improve your sales team’s performance, scale best practices, and ensure all of your sellers have access to the most effective sales techniques.
Not only will taking these steps help you improve your customer engagement, and your sales team’s performance and sales velocity, but they will also enable your company to become a more modern sales organization.
For more information on this topic, read our “How Top Sales Organizations Improve Sales Velocity” report.