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Part I: Experts on Sales Efficiency

What's the number one way to improve the efficiency of your sales team?

Ask a group of salespeople about the best way to improve sales force efficiency, and you'll likely get as many answers as there are respondents. After all, everyone is entitled to an opinion, right?

Not all opinions are created equal, however. An intern has a thought about what makes an efficient sales force. So does the newbie, fresh from his first client engagement. Then there's the advice from the wizened sales vet. Which one is likely to get the most attention in a group discussion?

Clearly, there are many factors that make one opinion more valuable (think applicable) and more believable than others. Experience, accumulated knowledge, judgment, confidence and other considerations all play a part in deciding which of several opinions should be accepted and valued.

What if the same sales efficiency question is put to another group, all of whose members are experienced sales veterans? At this point, results—the successful application of an opinion in real selling—becomes important. We usually recognize those who out-perform their peers as experts. This is typically how we distinguish the most successful within a group of successful salespersons.

What happens when we put the same question to a third group of salesmen and women regarded by their peers as leaders or experts? What's the number one way to improve the efficiency of your sales team? How would the experts answer? What insights could they offer about tweaking the nuts-and-bolts of the sales process?

In this blog series, we'll share and compare how a variety of experts—all leaders in vastly different fields— answer the question that all sales pros ponder: What's the number one way to improve the efficiency of my sales team?

The experts answer

1. Jeff Goldberg, founder of Jeff Goldberg & Associates, an acclaimed sales professional with 40 years of experience spanning sales, sales management, training and consulting.

"Train them properly, reinforce the training and observe them in the field putting it to use. . . . and you must make the reps practice, rehearse and then make sure they're actually doing it out in the real world."

2. George Cuchural is Vice President of Client Relations at The Expert Institute where he leads a growing sales team and has steadily increased revenue since the Institute's inception in 2010.

"Motivation. " He makes use of ". . . a software package that integrates competitive elements directly into our Salesforce platform."

3. Stu Schlackman is an author and chairman of the Sales Professional Experts Group for National Speakers Association.

"By knowing and working with the personality style of each team member. . . . Great teams know who has what strengths and know how to leverage those strengths in order to achieve maximum team efficiency."

4. Colleen Stanley is President and Founder of Sales Leadership, Inc. Previously, Colleen led a national sales force for an organization highlighted by Forbes as of the 200 fastest-growing companies in the nation.

"Teaching and having them apply the basic principles of time management and emotional intelligence. It is amazing how many sales people do not calendar block. . . . they show up to work with no plan, get distracted with low priority activities and confuse pay-time activity with no-pay activities."

5. Vladimir Gendelman, Founder and CEO of Company Folders.

"I have found that in order to make your sales team more efficient, you have to run your sales department as strictly as possible. Set working hours and a dress code for them and hold them accountable for everything they do."

6. Jenny Vance is President of LeadJen, a business-to-business lead-generation company. Jenny has spent more than a decade helping companies market products and services. From that experience, she has created a set of best practices. LeadJen works with firms in North America, Europe and Australia.

". . . . Invest in a quality data source. . . . Structure data into groups of similar leads. . . . Implement a call cadence, a structured campaign approach that includes a pattern of emails, calls and voicemail messages."

Next time: In Part II, we'll continue our survey of sales leaders in a variety of sales settings.

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