During interactions with our early customers, we came across many tactics used by them to increase the productivity of inside sales reps. We have compiled the list for public reference.
Here are some ways (in no particular order) to enhance the productivity of inside sales reps.
Train reps to be confident and comfortable in their own skin.
Encourage reps to focus on business outcomes, not the tools they use.
Demand that inside sales leaders create a culture of honesty and trust within their teams. This means management must set the example by being honest with each other about results, as well as candid about challenges and opportunities for improvement.
Hire experienced outside sales reps who can mentor inexperienced inside sales reps at your company (and vice-versa). These veterans should be encouraged to share best practices with one another as well — no matter what part of the organization they are from!
Make every effort possible to qualify leads before assigning them to an account executive or inside sales rep; you’ll be surprised how many deals you will win if you do this correctly!
Have the right tools at their disposal and use them liberally.
Create a system that allows for the capture of metrics, data and insights to measure performance against goals and benchmarks
Use of weekly and monthly contests as incentives to improve productivity — For example, an inside sales rep is required to make at least 15 calls a day over the course of a week or month in order to win some sort of prize like an iPad.
Building teams for special projects — Team-based incentive compensation can help motivate reps that are not used to performing well when working by themselves.
Give high performers more flexibility with their time off — Salespeople will be more motivated if they know that they have earned the right to take days off whenever they want rather than having their schedules dictated by management all the time (this could also be done through a points system).
Create an incentive compensation system that incentivizes the desired behaviour and aligns with company goals.
Align incentives so they are easy to comprehend
Measure progress month over month, not just at the end of a sales cycle.
Use short-term metrics to drive your long term goals.
Ensure that managers are held accountable for coaching reps toward success
Hold them accountable for sales cycle time: There are two ways to do this — one is the traditional way of focusing on activities and a second, more effective approach is by holding an inside salesperson responsible for a total cost of customer acquisition (TCCA).
Focus on driving maximum revenue per hour worked: The most successful SaaS companies have learned that it’s not about how many hours you put in, but rather what you get done within those hours; they’ve also found that the best way to drive efficiency is through incentive compensation (aka commissions).
Use commission rates as benchmarks: Every company should use commission rates as a benchmarking tool against their peers when considering salary increases or recruiting new talent. In other words, if your rate stinks then adjust it accordingly. In addition, consider raising them every year based on industry norms so that you stay competitive and because its “the right thing to do.”
Use commission rate tiers: When you are in the early stages of building a team or when your company is not yet profitable its best to use lower rates because it will make up for it later once the business scales and/or begins to generate profit; however as mentioned above, as long as you do so based on industry norms (not just what competitors pay) then there’s nothing wrong with this approach.
Don’t forget about commissions if trying to retain salespeople: You should also consider using incentive compensation for inside salespeople on teams that have a high turnover; give them something extra for staying put or working harder than everyone else.
Consider giving commissions even if reps don’t sell anything: This may seem crazy but some companies actually reward their inside reps even if they don’t close deals — these organizations tend to be ones that believe that dealing with prospects is an important part of every rep’s job function and therefore deserves recognition — I’m not saying this makes sense but I’ve seen a lot crazier things happen in corporate America!
Understand how much money each sale costs: It’s difficult enough to figure out which incentives work well within your organization without having an accurate understanding of how much revenue each sale actually generates; one way around this problem is by comparing TCCA across different industries and adding other factors like average deal size, customer lifetime value etc before making any adjustments. Another approach involves creating multiple financial models based upon varying assumptions such as where the product falls along the SaaS adoption curve, growth stage etc — then taking averages from all scenarios into account when setting commission levels; ultimately though both approaches require time and effort…and are better left up to those who enjoy crunching numbers ;)
Pay for performance. Base the payment of inside sales reps on their performance and the business they bring in. If an inside sales rep does not produce at a certain level, then do not pay them above the market average.
Set goals based on results. Inside sales teams that are incentivized to reach specific revenue targets or work towards other measurable objectives deliver better long-term growth than those left to their own devices. For example, when working with one client, our team helped them achieve 3X more revenue from each member of their inside sales team vs. before we started working with them through incentive compensation plans tied to objective achievement and team success metrics such as customer retention rates or overall pipeline quality (i..e., qualifying ratios).
Reward multiples & “touches”. Incentivize your reps for achieving multiple new customers per month vs just one; this allows for faster scaling of revenue and is especially true if you have got some great products in your arsenal! The same goes for rewarding productivity over time; reward reps who engage numerous times with individual prospects/customers by paying them higher commissions than those who only make contact once (or several times without generating any forward momentum). You may even want to consider paying extra incentives based upon how many touches it takes to close a deal — i..e., $100 commission paid every time you get back into touch with someone after first making initial contact etc…
Provide strong guidance. It’s important that all members of your inside sales teams know what constitutes a saleable lead so that they can build relationships accordingly; i..e., before reaching out for follow-up calls, check whether or not there is funding available internally for purchase decisions etc…. This way you will be able to avoid spending large amounts on leads which ultimately fall through the cracks and never materialize as deals
Build pipelines around existing accounts instead of chasing down new ones. Doing so will increase profitability since there are high margins associated with serving existing clients compared against acquiring new customers — all else being equal
Market indirectly via partners wherever possible; try partnering up exclusively whenever possible across different industries — again this helps scale quickly while also increasing profitability due to low overhead costs
Be careful about hiring too many junior people into positions requiring extensive industry knowledge
Implement quarterly profit-sharing incentives among top performers
Offer free training programs focused on helping employees grow within their roles
Create corporate recognition programs designed around increasing personal income
With Elevate, you can plan, design & manage both commission plans as well as quota-based plans with the utmost ease.
Elevate aspires to bring transparency in sales compensation. Sales reps can view all details regarding their commissions’ payout, quota attainment & revenue goals. Leaders can track the performance of every team member, manage product-based & territory-based revenue targets.