5 ways to drive sales productivity through learning

June 28, 2021
June 26, 2023
Knowledge Sharing

You might be sick of the sight of productivity! For a while, there seemed to be an avalanche of content about how to do more in shorter periods, while using your time and energy smarter and not working yourself into the ground. Especially around the start of 2020 when most of our lives were flipped on their heads!

Right now, we’re in a bit of a ‘productivity lull’, and we’re using that as a moment to focus on an often-neglected topic of productivity content – sales.

Why sales reps need a helping hand on the productivity front

Well, firstly, not actually that much of their time is spent selling! 65% of a rep’s time is spent on “non revenue-generating activities”. That leaves roughly a third of their week for the actual selling part of a sales role. That window has to encompass lining up meetings with prospects, nurturing leads and closing deals – which is a lot!

Now imagine that a chunk of that time is taken up by searching for information, trying to find the sales playbook or details a lead might need and working out what’s new in the product. That’s where learning and a learning platform can be a crucial tool in a sales reps’ productivity arsenal. Here’s a few how’s and why’s.

Drive a culture of continuous learning

It seems like a fairly obvious thing to say, but the landscape for a sales rep changes all the time. The product they’re selling evolves, the target audience gets tweaked over time, pricing increases, targets move, and the salespeople themselves grow too.

So it’s not really enough to send them on a training course every year to explain how all these things have shifted. That could be a productivity and progress blocker for months and months. Creating a culture where resources are updated and available as they change, where people are kept in the loop about those while being encouraged to keep up, and in which people feel empowered to get out there and learn independently – that’s how you help the sales team keep pace with change.

The big question is where you store all of that information so that it’s easy to find…

Create one front door for sales resources

It’s pretty hard to be productive when all your resources are scattered across different platforms and systems. The sales playbook might live in a shared drive, while the prospect FAQs are stored somewhere else, and you can’t access either in the platforms where you’re actually engaging with leads. That’s not only discouraging or demoralising for a rep with limited time, it really eats into their day and ability to be productive.

That’s why we created HowNow, to become one front door for all of your learning! Somewhere you can not only bring scattered sales resources together but integrate with the tools your sales team already uses as they’re hunting down prospects and closing deals. Imagine your playbook living in the same place that internal experts can share knowledge and that integrates with your CRM or sales tools – suddenly you’re giving people back time by cutting down the route to the information they need.

Share knowledge and learn socially within sales teams

Experts exist at every level in your teams, it’s why we’ve seen a decline in top-down learning’s popularity and a growing affection for sharing knowledge. A rep who’s closed considerably more deals for a particular product or service would have a wealth of insights to share with their colleagues. If somebody figured out a new method for pitching to prospects and drove a huge uplift in meetings, you’d want them to impart that wisdom with others.

Why? It’s contextual! It’s far more relevant to your business and customers than any generic training course could be. Which isn’t to say that those methods of learning don’t have a place, it’s more an argument that it allows us to create content that can be applied in the moments that reps find problems to overcome.

In HowNow, we created the Nugget to allow everyone to share knowledge! If I’m one of those savvy sales reps from our examples, in a matter of clicks I can create a resource that outlines my expertise. Whether I chose to write it out, upload a video or record a short audio resource – the power is in my hands.

Onboard new sales reps more effectively

How quickly your sales reps are firing on all cylinders comes down to the onboarding experience you’ve got in place! For most companies, the onboarding process looks fairly similar regardless of which team you’re in. In forward-thinking companies, it’s tailored to that department and individual – that’s how you ramp up faster.

A good rule of thumb is to sit down and work out what that new starter needs to know now and what can wait for a later date. It’s about structuring the process to provide the information they need to settle into the sales role sooner – whether it’s the playbook, advice from an internal expert or a tour through the product.

Use data to drive your sales strategy

Without the numbers, it’s hard to know what is and isn’t working! Which makes it even harder to deliver effective learning and development strategies. For example, which stage of the funnel are your team losing leads? At what moments are individual reps failing to move that prospect along? These are not only questions you can answer through analysis but they’re ways to shape learning initiatives that have impact!

Once you work out where the pain points are, you can create resources and courses that enable people to overcome those hurdles and close skill gaps that might be slowing you down. That’s the power of a data-driven learning strategy!