10 Practical Sales Productivity Tips

Brian Williams, PhD

10-Tips-Sales-ProductivityThe following list of sales tips can help you better manage your selling time, write more effective emails, improve your sales conversations, and much more.

Successful salespeople are always looking to optimize their productivity and improve their selling efforts. Here are 10 practical sales tips that can help you and your sales team boost productivity and have a successful selling year. Scroll to the bottom of the post to see the sales stats SlideShare. Enjoy and share!


1. Write shorter emails

Business professionals receive an average of 85 emails per day (that’s almost 600 emails each week!) and they spend more than 1/3 of work time reading, organizing, and replying to emails.

Business professionals get almost 600 emails per week.

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We are all fighting to clean up our inboxes, so chances are a busy decision maker – especially one you don’t have a standing relationship with – will skip over the short novella you emailed. If you want to improve engagement from your emails (and save your time for more productive activities), cut the fluff and get in the habit of writing short, smartphone-sized messages.

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Author and social media guru, Guy Kawasaki – a person that likely receives thousands and sends hundreds of emails every day – sticks to a 5 sentence email format. “Whether UR young or old, the point is that the optimal length of an email message is five sentences. All you should do is explain who you are, what you want, why you should get it, and when you need it by.”

"The optimal length of an email message is five sentences." - Guy Kawasaki"

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If you are feeling bold, you could aim for even shorter. Hootsuite CEO, Ryan Holmes subscribes to a 3 sentence philosophy. Just take a look at the last part of his email signature below. 

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“I’ve trained myself to leave out the fluff and keep only the most essential points in an email,” says Ryan. “If I absolutely have to say more, I just pick up a phone or talk in person.”

For those interested in mastering the art of short-form writing, we recommend Roy Peter Clark’s How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times.

2. Get smarter about managing email

Neil Patel, cofounder of KISSmetrics, recommends you ensure you have time to respond to an email before you open it and spend time reading it. "If you decided to respond later on, it will cause you to have to re-read the email, which is an inefficient use of your time.”

Sometimes the most powerful response is no response at all.

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Zendesk CEO and founder, Mikkel Svane, says that most emails are not urgent and do not need an immediate response. "Take a breath and wait a minute before jumping into the fray on group emails and non-urgent issues. You’ll find that sometimes the most powerful response is no response at all.” 

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3. Shorten your meetings with prospects

Try scheduling short, 15 minute meetings with prospects. This will help you have more productive and effective meetings. Read this post to learn more about how you can improve your sales results with 15 minute meetings. 

Ralph Grimse, partner at The Brevet Group, is an advocate of short “connect” meetings. “I have found that sending messages with the word ‘connect’ in the headline and a quick request for such a meeting incredibly successful,” says Ralph. “Between the headline and the timing, this approach is incredibly non-aggressive, non-confrontational and difficult to say no. Can you really not spare 15 minutes on the phone or in person?” 

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4. Improve your follow-through

80% of sales require 5 follow-up calls after the meeting. 44% of sales reps give up after 1 follow-up.

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See more mind-blowing sales stats here. 

Just because you’ve got a foot in the door, doesn’t mean you’ve closed the sale. Keep up your persistence and do everything you can to stay connected with the prospect post your initial meeting.

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5. Invest more time in research

Set aside ample time to research your buyer before you reach out to them. The most frequent reason sales reps are outsold is that they didn’t talk to the right people, so use the research phase to learn whether your lead is a decision maker. 

"The most frequent reason sales reps are outsold is that they didn't talk to the right people." - Geoffrey James

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Avoid sending generic, mass-mail messages. Instead, use the many research tools available (check out this Hubspot list of places to research a prospect) to find valuable information about your lead and craft more personal and relevant messages – they are much more likely to capture the attention of the recipient. 

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6. Better qualify leads by learning about your competitors

A well-qualified lead will be ready to buy and will ultimately make a purchase – either from you or from one of your competitors.

Ask the prospect who else is calling on them. If the answer is “no one,” you may not have done a good enough job of qualifying – they are probably not ready to buy.

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7. Be more productive when working from home

Kyle Porter, Founder and CEO of Salesloft, has three great tips that can help you stay focused and productive while working from home:

  1. Separate the area designated for working from where you relax.
  2. Stick to a work schedule as if you were in the office.
  3. Make it easy for your team to reach you while you are at home.

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8. Update and use your marketing collateral

Many companies have great marketing collateral, but their sales reps never learned to use it. Marketing materials are there to help you sell, so get in the habit of sharing them with your prospects. 

If you don’t have or don’t like your marketing collateral, work with your sales manager and your marketing team to create or update it. Aim to produce materials that are short, simple and easy to share over email. 

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9. Become a disciplined time manager

One of the most simple and powerful concept around time management is Covey’s four quadrants. Watch the following 3 minute video to see how the four quadrant model can help you make the most of your selling time.

This video is one of 120+ lectures featured in our $499 Udemy course. Get FREE access.

10. Clean up your CRM

Your CRM system is a valuable asset that can serve you well in your selling efforts. That is unless the data that lives there is outdated and inaccurate. Spend an hour or so every month to make sure your CRM data is up to date – it will save you time in the long run. 

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Sales Productivity Tips SlideShare

Brian Williams, PhD

Brian Williams, PhD

Researcher, consultant, and sales leader, Brian uses a data-driven approach to drive sales effectiveness. His clients include leading sales organizations in financial services, technology, healthcare, and professional services. Using insight from academics and change management, Brian helps senior leaders and sales enablement teams understand and succeed in today’s more demanding market. His research has been published in Harvard Business Review and other outlets.