Category

Work Productivity

5 Tech Tips To Supercharge Your Sales Performance

Becoming a high-achieving sales performer is a delicate act of fine-tuning which involves balancing a wide range of variables.

Your need the right leader, the right culture, the right product and market demand.

But your sales performance is also governed by the tools and resources that support your sales activity.

Investment and deployment of new technologies can radically impact goal attainment, while also serving to strengthen engagement and collaboration with your team.

Looking for the right tools to turbo-charge your sales output?

Here are 5 areas to focus on:

1. Make your CRM work harder

CRM platforms are at the heart of any sales activity, recording key information on current and potential customers.

But as well as being a vital repository for tracking data, your CRM can also be configured to actively shape your behaviour and help you to close more deals.

Unlocking the full potential of your CRM to embed best practices throughout the sales cycle takes some thinking, but it’s an investment which can pay huge returns when it comes to sales consistency. It can also be especially effective if you’re new to a sales role and looking to ramp up fast.

Key to the process is monitoring the processes and decision-making of top-performing sales reps and building those into your CRM interface.

From recording initial customer information on a discovery call to sending out proposals, most CRMs include functionality to create new fields, prompts, templates and workflow configurations to guide behaviour.

By creating an in-built blueprint that consolidates the way either you or the most effective salespeople in your team work, you pave the way to replicate that success over and over.

2. Upgrade your mobile solution

Whether inbound or outbound, office-based or in the field, the phone is your most vital tool for connecting with customers and closing deals.

While other areas of sales technology evolve at breakneck pace, most traditional mobile offerings haven’t been updated in over 20 years.

Most sales teams either carry around second ‘work phones’ or use their personal devices for business calls and texts.

Swytch is a cloud-based mobile solution for sales professionals that lets you purchase work mobile and landline numbers for your existing mobile handset, eliminating the need to carry a second phone or use your own number for business.

It lets you use a single device for all your lines, see at a glance whether incoming calls are on your work or personal line, and keeps communication simple and effective.

3. Leverage gamification

With the global gamification market expected to grow at a staggering 36% over the next 10 years, leading sales organisations everywhere are exploring new ways to use technology to bring sales competition and incentives to life.

Gamification is all about tapping into your natural competitive and goal-focused instincts and creating an engaging visualisation of success that helps you track your progress and attainment.

Practical implementations include leaderboards, goal tracking, badges & milestone achievements, team targets and a wealth of other use cases. Providers such as Hoopla, Ambition and Gameffective boast customers from fast-paced startups to established multinationals.

And gamification isn’t just limited to your sales goals – plenty of businesses also adopt the technology in order to incentivise progress towards learning goals, career progression and team collaboration objectives.

4. See who’s checking you out online

As inbound marketing and online content strategies continue to shape the way your company builds visibility with new prospects, it’s more important than ever to have the right software in place to monitor who is actually engaging with your marketing materials and scoping you out online.

Whereas established inbound marketing technology focuses on direct interactions with specific content assets (e.g. whitepaper downloads or video views), tools such as Lead Forensics, Albacross and Whoisvisiting offer a new angle.

By cross-referencing the IP addresses of visitors who view your site with a proprietary database, these and similar platforms give you key information on which businesses have been engaging with your company’s content, and then offer key decision-maker contact information and intel to facilitate follow-up outreach.

With all the hard work you do to get the right eyes on your brand, potentially having premium-tier customers on your site without being able to reach out and start the conversation can mean golden opportunities slip through your fingers unknown.

5. Automate your engagement

Stats abound underlining the importance of follow-up in sales, with data suggesting as little as 2% of sales are generated at an initial meeting.

While the need to keep in touch with customers and patiently move deals through the sales funnel is nothing new, the tools to help you keep multiple plates spinning are more numerous and effective than ever before.
Marketing automation technology helps ensure that the vital steps in keeping prospects engaged aren’t left down to chance, don’t get forgotten, don’t suck up your valuable time and aren’t open to inconsistencies and human error.

General-purpose marketing automation tools such as Adobe-owned Marketo and Oracle’s rival Eloqua have dominated the enterprise space for many years, helping sales teams develop multi-phase sequences that deliver specific content (via email, SMS or other channels) to prospects and active customers at different steps in the buying cycle as defined by ‘triggers’ usually configured within a CRM.

A number of providers, however, focus specifically on the SMB market (such as Drip and ActiveCampaign), while some established platforms such as HubSpot still offer impressive functionality in their lower-grade product versions for growing companies working to a tight budget.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

How flexible working can increase staff morale

Flexible working practices have become a key element in attracting and retaining talent. In a globalised economy, geographical boundaries are no longer an obstacle to bringing together professionals of all disciplines to form competitive and world-beating teams. In practical terms alone, giving workers greater freedom to manage their own timetables overcomes the hurdles formerly imposed on hiring remote staff by international time differences and datelines.

But beyond this, a degree of flexibility in the working environment has physical, operational, and emotional benefits which can go a long way in promoting loyalty to the organisation and increasing staff morale. We’ll look at some of those benefits, now.

Optimising Time Spent in Various Locations

Empowering your staff to perform to their strengths involves enabling them to nurture and inhabit an environment that’s most conducive to producing their best work.

For some, this might mean sitting in an office cubicle. But for others, peak performance and focus on the task at hand might be achieved in any number of alternate settings: on a train, at home, or seated on a bench in a public park.

Knowing that management is willing to allow flexible working and provide freedom from traditional office or workshop confines gives employees the confidence to structure their time in an optimal environment of their choice – and they’ll be much more likely to enjoy their work, and produce better output as a result.

Having access to corporate resources from any location is a must, for working arrangements like this. Mobile apps, virtual phone systems and access to a network like Swytch (which allows clients to assign UK-registered business numbers to personal phones and mobile devices) are the kinds of options that can make this possible.

Giving Autonomy to the Flexible

Just as different workers have unique preferences as to the kind of environment they feel most comfortable and productive in, so too do different personality types cope with a structured timetable and job roster in different ways.

An assessment and knowledge of the skills and personality traits of your employees will assist you in identifying which of your staff are best able to cope with a greater or lesser degree of autonomy, and which ones benefit from a more directed, “hands-on management” approach.

Wherever possible, it’s a good idea to give all of your workers some degree of freedom in determining how they structure their time and how they approach the jobs they’re assigned. A feeling of autonomy lends workers a sense of empowerment – secure in the knowledge that they’re trusted with some responsibility for their own career path, and able to take ownership of their work, rather than having the job ruling them.

Teams & Substitute Players

Flexible working need not be an individual affair. In fact, many businesses gain by introducing a group dynamic into their flexible working practices.

For example, in a development project that’s being conducted by a team, it makes sense to rotate duties and responsibilities among the team members, so that work on the project may continue if someone requires a break, has a commitment to honour, or simply has skills that can be duplicated or added to by someone else in the group.

And with the dominance of international business and the 24/7 consumer culture, allowing workers living in different time zones to take over job responsibilities at certain hours of the day is a great way of simultaneously ensuring business availability, and relieving the psychological and physical burden on staff members who would otherwise be required to put in extra hours.

Mentors & Protégés

Setting up two-person teams consisting of a senior or more experienced staff member and someone newer to the organisation can reap benefits both for the enterprise and the individuals concerned.

The younger staff member gains the mentorship and guidance of someone further along the career path – in addition to a sense of empowerment and responsibility, on those occasions when they’re called upon to stand in for the senior staff member.

Employees in the mentor’s role are able to create more time for themselves by delegating tasks and responsibilities to their junior. They’ll also be playing a part in the nurturing of new talent for the enterprise.

Technology as an Additional Resource

The management of human resources is just one part of a flexible working environment. Resources, infrastructure, and technology available to the enterprise may also be called upon to free up time for your workers, and to enable them to do their jobs more effectively. In workplaces where numerous repetitive tasks are the norm, using machinery and software for automation is one way of achieving this.

Information Technology and telecommunications resources are another. Tools for video conferencing, instant messaging, document sharing and collaboration – especially those with mobile app versions – can keep remote and home-based workers in touch with each other, and able to trade ideas, tasks and (if necessary) working hours.

Platforms like the Swytch network can give businesses and their workers a continuous presence in regional and international markets – while simultaneously empowering workers to devote more time to their lives away from the office.

Making Sound Economic Sense

Finally, there’s a solid economic foundation for the adoption of more flexible working practices. Reasons underlying this include:

  • By having fewer workers based on your business premises, you’ll reduce the need for expensive office space and equipment
  • With a staff including workers in various localities and time zones, you’ll actually increase the number of hours that you’re available each day – without having to impose long hours on your employees
  • Reduced working hours have been proven to have a beneficial effect on physical and emotional health – which reflects in a happier, more productive and loyal workforce
  • Being known as an organisation with flexibility written into its DNA makes your business an attractor for high-quality talent from across the globe

That’s why flexi-time, job sharing, condensed weeks and other flexible working practices are reaping dividends for enterprises which engage in them – both in monetary terms, and in their capacity to promote job satisfaction and increase staff morale.

To prepare your staff for flexible working, give them greater control and the ability to stay connected with a Swytch business account. Get in touch with Swytch today to find out more.

How decluttering your desk can increase work productivity

There have been many articles written about how technology and automation can help individuals or organisations to increase work productivity. But one of the most effective methods of doing so actually involves no machinery, at all. And it’s one of the easiest things that you can do: decluttering your desk, and rationalising your work space.

Here are some ideas and recommendations on doing just that.

Different Strokes For Different Folks

Of course, clutter and organisation mean different things to different people – and in terms of increasing productivity and focus at work, different personality types may thrive in different environments.

People in the so-called “creative” professions – artists, photographers, designers, architects, writers – may appreciate a certain amount of disorganisation in their work spaces. The objects we acquire and retain have associations for us – memories and emotional responses that may be triggered by the sight or absence of them.

For creatives, these kinds of stimuli can spark new ideas. So it’s often helpful to be surrounded by objects, images, and sounds that may contribute positively to the task at hand.

But for those in the more “rational-thinking” professions, a chaotic and over-populated workspace may have the opposite effect, and detract from rather than increase work productivity.

And even for those who benefit from a degree of messiness in their working environment, there’s a fine line to maintain between inspiring disorganisation and chaos.

How Others See It

As a professional, the condition of your working environment doesn’t only influence your productivity at work and increase job satisfaction – it creates an impression on the people you have to deal with on a day to day basis.

From fellow workers to visiting clients, the message you convey by having a cluttered and disorganised desk or office has an impact on how easy it is that they find you to work with – and how competent and professional they perceive you to be.

Time For A Clean Up?

As a simple test, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I find it easy to meet essential deadlines for my work?
  • Do I find it easy to complete my projects – or do I always seem to be juggling several tasks, without resolution on any of them?
  • Do distractions and mess in my working environment keep pulling my attention away from the task at hand?

If you’ve answered “Yes” to one or more of the above, it could be time to rationalise your working environment, and increase work productivity, as a result.

Keeping What Works

Knowing what’s essential to increase your work productivity and peace of mind is the first step.

Think about your successful endeavours of the past, and identify the objects and elements of your desk and office environment that helped you to achieve these successes. A certain set of pens, office supplies, documents, or software: these would be the ingredients contributing to your ideal working state – and the items you’ll need to keep, when re-organising your work space.

Slinging Out What Doesn’t

Anything that doesn’t contribute to your ideal mind-set and productive work, can go.

Removal of these items can be a gradual and reversible process. You might begin by moving non-essential or distracting items out of sight to your desk drawers, or consigning them to storage bins, remote shelves, or closets. Work without them for a while, and gauge your level of success. Anything crucial that you may have inadvertently shelved can always be rotated back into service.

Dealing With Technology

If you’re working in a traditional networked corporate environment, you’ll no doubt be familiar with the habitual nightmare array of cables connecting desktop systems, servers, UPS units, routers, printers, and other hardware. These may contribute as much as your personal mess, to the cluttering up of work space.

Even if you’re operating from a personal set-up with a laptop or tablet, you may still have the occasional need to use a printer, scanner, or other peripheral hardware – with the associated desk and office space requirements for cabling and the devices themselves. To eliminate clutter, you should do as their name suggests, and keep these peripheral devices on the periphery using shelves, side tables, and the like.

Corporate environments will benefit from structured cabling systems, which organise logical routes and centralised connectors for office hardware. For home or personal office systems, simple measures like clustering related sets of cables into cut-off sections of plastic piping or stapling them to a peg board can make a huge difference.

Telecommunications equipment like desktop phones and fax machines (who uses those, anyway?) can be rationalised too, in this age of the mobile. A virtual phone system such as that offered by the Swytch network can assign registered business telephone numbers to your personal mobile phone, eliminating the need to buy office telephony hardware. And the cell phone you can just stick in your pocket, out of sight.

Beyond The Physical Desk

The digital realm also enables us to extend our working environment beyond the physical office or desk, in the form of online file storage, email and communications accounts, or entire virtual desktops for software and data handling. It’s a good idea to declutter these virtual spaces, too.

The mobile apps associated with a virtual phone system like Swytch can help you automatically create a logical distinction between personal and business accounts and related files, including Inboxes and voicemail.

Do regular clean-ups of the files and folders on your personal hardware and in your various accounts (email, cloud storage, etc.). Create logical categories to organise your data for easy retrieval and use. And cut out the non-essential software – including all those nifty mobile apps you downloaded, but never use.

Optimising Your Time

Once you’ve got into the habit of organising your work spaces, decluttering your physical and virtual desks can be reduced to a matter of minutes per day. This will create valuable time, which may be spent on more important issues. And the resulting clarity and neatness of your work environment will promote peace of mind, and greatly increase work productivity.