Sales Effectiveness 101: 8 ways to improve sales effectiveness

Published
January 31, 2024
Updated
January 31, 2024
TABLE OF CONTENTs
TABLE OF CONTENT

When your sales team is small, improving and measuring effectiveness is straightforward. You're in the thick of daily sales activities and closely monitoring every deal. 

But as a team grows, challenges multiply. The conversations and activities happening at scale mean you're a step removed from the day-to-day, which makes it harder to gauge the pulse of your team's performance.

In fact, 90% of B2B sellers suffer from seller drag due to a lack of input and a high burden of non-value-added administrative tasks. As teams grow, so does the administrative load.

That's exactly why understanding and implementing a structured approach to sales effectiveness becomes crucial as your team expands.

In this article, we’ll explore what sales effectiveness is, which metrics you should track, highlight eight strategies to improve it, and provide a list of tools to scale it. 

What is sales effectiveness?

Sales effectiveness is a subjective measurement of the quality of your sales team’s actions. 

It’s asking the questions:

  • Are we doing the right sales activities that drive results? 
  • Are we doing them effectively as a team?
  • Are we doing them effectively on an individual level?

While sales effectiveness is inherently subjective and varies from company to company, attaching it to benchmarks like average deal size, conversion rate, and sales cycle length provides a more objective framework to assess and improve your team's performance. 

Thinking about your sales effectiveness is part of an overall sales monitoring or forecasting strategy that gives you a clear picture of your sales health and where to aim your improvement efforts.

Sales effectiveness vs. efficiency vs. productivity

These terms are used so interchangeably that it’s hard to keep track of the difference. But if we’re talking strict definitions:

  • Sales effectiveness is the quality of sales actions and their outcomes (e.g., are reps taking the right actions?).
  • Sales efficiency is about the use of time and resources in the sales process (e.g., how quickly are actions carried out?).
  • Sales productivity combines both effectiveness and efficiency to measure the overall output of the sales team in terms of revenue generated versus the effort and resources invested. 

In summary: effectiveness is about doing the right things, efficiency is about doing things right, and productivity is the sweet spot where both meet.

How to measure sales effectiveness

Sales effectiveness metrics allow sales leaders and teams to quantify the health of their sales funnel and pinpoint areas to refine strategies and processes. 

Tracking KPIs allows you to improve sales forecasting at every level, drive product insights, track individual and collective sales team performances, and identify recurring themes.

Track these types of metrics:

  • Activity metrics: Activity metrics measure the actions your sales force takes daily. Examples include outreach messages, calls and conversations, meetings, proposals, and leads created.
  • Core sales metrics: Core metrics focus on the results of your sales activities. Look at total value of sales, number of contracts or closed deals, customer acquisition rates, and average contract value.
  • Conversion metrics: Conversion metrics assess sales efficiency. Conversion rate by funnel stage, market penetration, sales cycle length, quota attainment, and profit margin are key figures to track.

8 strategies for improving sales effectiveness

Sales is a team sport. Just as every runner in a relay race passes the baton smoothly to the next, every part of the revenue team needs to work in lockstep.

This team-based approach is less about individual heroics and more about creating a rhythm where marketing, sales, and customer service play off each other's strengths. 

The right strategies amplify sales effectiveness by enhancing collaboration, streamlining processes, and optimizing the use of resources. When marketing, sales, and customer service work in harmony, it leads to a more cohesive buyer's journey that ensures each interaction moves the prospect closer to a sale.

Here are eight strategies that contribute to this:

1. Focus on buyer enablement

Buyer enablement means giving prospects the tools and knowledge needed to make informed purchases. 

These resources help your prospects understand their own problems and guide them toward a solution (ideally your product).

Buyer enablement also means helping your buyer champion advocate for your product internally while outlining a clear path to purchase.

The B2B buying journey is notoriously complex—long sales cycles, countless decision-makers, and high-stakes investments make it challenging for buyers to make confident decisions. 

Buyer enablement hands the reigns over to the buyer and empowers them to navigate the process with confidence.

Here’s a list of content assets B2B buyers love, according to a survey by DemandGen:

Source

Here’s a short checklist from Gartner with questions to ensure you're on the right track with buyer enablement.

Source

Then, identify the different tasks your buyer will perform and create content based on those jobs. The buying group typically rotates between the following jobs:

  • Problem identification: Buyers at this stage understand they have a problem and need to do something, but they're still trying to figure out what the problem is. Thought leadership content, diagnostics tools, and industry benchmarks help you point your buyers to their problems.
  • Solution exploration: Buyers are exploring different solutions at this stage. Valuable website content, case studies, and calculators guide buyers to the right solutions, 
  • Requirements building: Buyers have narrowed down the kind of solution they need and are trying to internally work out what they need. Discovery calls, customized sales demos, and buying guides are powerful at this stage.
  • Supplier selection: The buyer is now evaluating different options. Product comparisons, ROI reports, referral programs, and customer testimonials boost confidence.
  • Validation: Buyers have settled on a solution, but still want to do their due diligence. Technical documentation, mutual action plans, and sales pilots help at this stage.
  • Consensus creation: Buyers often have to get other stakeholders on board. Internal pitch decks and digital sales rooms bridge the gap.

Prioritizing buyer enablement simplifies decision-making and gives your champion the ammunition they need to advocate for your solution.

2. Build relationships with multiple stakeholders

B2B sales processes, especially those for high-ticket sales, don’t involve selling to just one individual—instead, you’re engaging with an entire buying group of multiple stakeholders.

Building relationships with different stakeholders creates a broader base of support and ensures you have multiple people advocating for you. This creates stronger buy-in and makes it easier to close deals.

Two ways to make sure you cover each stakeholder: multithreading and account mapping. 

Account mapping is a strategic approach to identifying all the key stakeholders within a customer's organization. It involves researching and charting the roles, influence, and relationships of different members involved in the purchase decision. 

Think of it as creating a blueprint for the buying group. You strategize whom to approach, when, and with what message.

Multithreading involves engaging with multiple contacts within the same organization. It reduces the risk of a single point of failure. 

If one thread snaps—say a key contact leaves the company—you have others to hold on to. You build a resilient relationship network to ensure your deal doesn't hinge on a single individual.

Together, multithreading and account mapping form a powerful duo. The result? Increasing the likelihood of consensus and deal closure.

3. Create a digital sales room for better client alignment 

A digital sales room (DSR) is a centralized hub where sales teams share presentations, proposals, contracts, and all other sales materials with potential clients. You might also have heard them referred to as deal rooms or sales portals.

A DSR provides an interactive, collaborative environment that aligns your sales process with the buyer's journey and reduces friction points to increase sales effectiveness.

In short, a DSR gives buyers access to everything they need in one place and provide real-time updates. There's no more back-and-forth emails or lost documents.

Prospects review materials, provide feedback, and even sign contracts—all within the DSR. Reps can also quickly adjust content based on ongoing discussions or new insights about the client's needs. 

But here’s where DSRs really stand out: they create a repeatable process. 

Starting from a DSR template (like Dock’s) means every member of the sales team follows the same process, ensuring consistency and quality in every client interaction. 

Get started with Dock's free digital sales room template

This standardization saves time and reinforces your value proposition across all deals. 

Instead of reinventing the wheel with each new prospect, your team focuses on personalizing and refining the approach, knowing the foundation is already solid. 

4. Create mutual action plans for your buyer

Mutual Action Plans (MAPs) are collaborative outlines created by salespeople and their prospects that detail the step-by-step process needed to reach a purchasing decision.

When your prospects have a recipe that breaks down how they can start working with you, it's much easier for them to follow through and close the deal.

Here’s what a MAP looks like in Dock: 

See how it includes who’s responsible for what and when something is due (or overdue)?

This way, MAPs show proactiveness from the beginning of the client management lifecycle and create transparency between all stakeholders. It also gives a sneak peek into how organized and diligent your team is to set a tone of commitment and professionalism. 

The key to creating a MAP is to detail it from the client’s perspective. Create milestones relative to their goals and set a close date that fits into the buyer’s schedule. 

Also, tailor your MAP to your business models. Shorter sales cycles demand a checklist-type MAP whereas longer ones need stages and detailed timelines. At the same time, make the MAP straightforward enough for any stakeholder not directly involved, but still looking for updates, to understand what's going on. 

Pro tip: Supplement your mutual action plans with contextual materials like demo videos and sales decks and present it all in a collaborative workspace in Dock to make it easily accessible for all stakeholders. 

5. Close complex sales with sales engineering

Sales engineers connect technical solutions to customer challenges, leading to increased close rates and customer satisfaction. Providing in-depth product knowledge and showing how the product works improves credibility and trust.

Sales engineers step in once there’s a qualified lead. Here’s what they typically do:

  • Create proposals: Sales engineers draft detailed, custom proposals that outline how the product or service solves the specific problems of the client. These documents ensure the buyer understands the value and specifics of the offer.
  • Conduct product demos: They conduct dynamic, interactive demonstrations tailored to highlight the features most relevant to the customer's needs. A hands-on approach allows prospects to see the product in action and ask questions in real time.
  • Develop proof of concepts and sales pilots: Sales engineers develop these to show how buyers can implement the product in their environment. It turns theory into tangible results, often leading to more confident purchasing decisions.
  • Provide prospect support: Sales engineers answer technical questions and address all customer concerns. This ongoing support builds trust and demonstrates a commitment to customer satisfaction throughout the sales process.

When sales engineers take charge of technical objections and show the practical application of the product, they shorten the sales cycle, increase the deal size, and build a strong foundation for customer trust and long-term relationships.

6. Improve the discoverability of your assets with a sales content management system

Sales content management involves arming both your sales team and buyer champion with the right tools and content to progress a deal forward.

Content management systems (CMSs) make it easier for internal teams like Customer Success, Marketing, and Sales to share, manage, and track content. 

This also makes content more accessible to B2B buyers, 39% of whom find it difficult to locate relevant content that meets their needs.

A good sales CMS should be all about easy discoverability of content, to ensure everyone spends less time hunting for the right documents and more time making sales.

Dock’s Content Management System makes it easy to find, share, organize, and track content.

Revenue teams can upload, categorize, and update assets, ensuring that everything from sales decks to pricing sheets are readily accessible and up to date.

Sharing these assets with prospects is just a click away to enable a smoother, more engaging buyer journey.

Plus, with analytics for each asset like most-viewed content and time spent on each asset, sales understands what content drives engagement and ultimately contributes to closing deals.

Streamline sales content management to give champions and revenue teams access to the right materials. A reduced focus on administrative tasks results in more productive conversations and quicker sales cycles. 

7. Use a CPQ system to automate the pricing process

CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote) is a software solution that streamlines the quoting and pricing process for RevOps teams. 

An efficient CPQ process cuts down on the administrative overhead of creating complex sales quotes, freeing your sales team to focus on what they do best—selling. It eliminates the need for extensive back-and-forth between sales, finance, and development teams to speed up your sales cycle and avoid inaccurate quotes.

Reps can create quotes, get approval from sales managers, and get client signatures from one convenient platform. 

CPQ software is especially useful for complex products when it applies all product configurations, pricing rules, and discounts consistently across all deals. 

The challenge with most CPQ software is that it’s bloated, expensive, and cumbersome to manage.

Dock’s Order Forms are a CPQ solution built for small to mid-sized teams to create complex price quotes in a few clicks.

Reps can build quotes from a pre-built library of products

Your admins can set up a product library complete with deal terms, approval rules, and legal documents. Then, within a few clicks, sales reps can create price quotes, turn them into order forms, get them approved by management, and then get them signed by buyers in the same place. 

Once the deal closes, the deal syncs back to your CRM.

Start-to-finish automation with a CPQ reduces administrative overhead, minimizes quote errors, and speeds up approval and closure times.

8. Train sales reps to track hard and soft buying signals 

Buying signals are the cues from prospects that indicate their interest or readiness to buy. 

Training your team to recognize and respond appropriately to both hard and soft buying signals increases the odds of engaging prospects at the right time with the right message. 

Hard buying signals are direct expressions of interest, such as:

  • Requesting a price quote
  • Asking for a demo or trial
  • Inquiring about product availability

Soft buying signals are more subtle, but equally telling, like:

  • Visiting your website repeatedly
  • Engaging with your content
  • Asking detailed questions about product functionality

Picking up on these signals can mean the difference between a won and lost sale. 

For example, a prospect asking for a sales demo might be ready for a deeper engagement, while frequent website visits could indicate a growing interest ripe for a targeted follow-up.

Reps can personalize their sales pitches to address specific interests or concerns and strategically allocate their time and resources.

The result? A stronger sales pipeline.

But how do you track buying signals?

Your CRM can monitor website visits and email responses to get a clear picture of prospect behavior. 

Dock’s sales workspaces can also give you an extra set of buying signals for what’s normally considered the dark funnel. 

Collaborating with prospects on Dock gives you an eye on:

  • Which prospects view your space
  • What content they interact with
  • How much of your mutual action plan is complete
  • When prospects view your space
  • How much time they’re spending on each piece of content

For example, Dock’s People Analytics let you track the exact buyers who have engaged with your workspace.

Track which buyers have viewed your Dock workspace

Simple, right? A centralized view of buying signals eliminates the need to chase breadcrumbs and creates a more strategic, targeted approach to sales engagements. 

By having all the information in one place, your team can quickly identify sales opportunities, gauge interest levels, and prioritize follow-ups with the most engaged prospects. 

Best sales effectiveness software for revenue growth

Sales effectiveness tools can reshift your effort toward strategic customer engagement. But it’s also important to use the right tools to support your sellers and not overwhelm them with technology. Here are some essentials:

Sales enablement platforms

Sales enablement platforms are powerful tools that equip sales teams with the resources, content, and insights they need to improve sales efficiency. 

Think of them as a one-stop shop for everything a salesperson needs—from sales training playbooks to content management, and performance analytics. They streamline the sales process, making it easier for reps to access the right information at the right time.

Three examples of sales enablement tools:

  • Dock: Our revenue enablement tool lets you create digital sales rooms and organize everything shared with customers in one place.
  • Seismic: This platform offers personalized content management, ensuring that sales professionals have access to the most relevant and up-to-date materials. It also provides insights into content usage and engagement.
  • Highspot: Highspot uses AI to recommend the best content for each sales scenario. It also tracks how content influences sales outcomes, offering valuable insights into what's working.

Revenue enablement platforms

Revenue enablement is more all-encompassing than sales enablement software—it also provides buyers with the tools they need to get buy-in from other stakeholders, and does a better job at enabling Success teams too.

Here’s a fun fact: Gartner predicts that organizations prioritizing revenue enablement are 80% more likely to exceed revenue growth targets. 

That’s where Dock shines. Dock delivers buyer and sales enablement simultaneously, ensuring internal and external advocates have what they need at any time. 

Dock has classic sales enablement features like content management, but we also include other features like proposal and sales quote management, digital sales rooms, mutual action plans, and collaborative workspaces.

Integrating a revenue enablement platform into your sales tech stack leads to more efficient sales cycles, higher win rates, and ultimately, increased revenue 

Sales engagement software

Sales engagement software optimizes the interaction between sales reps and prospects by streamlining communication and automating tasks. These platforms provide a range of tools for email tracking, call recording, scheduling, and follow-up automation to guide the sales rep through the entire sales process.

  • Outbound email software, like Salesloft and Outreach, enables sales reps to create and send targeted, personalized emails at scale. It also allows tracking open rates, link clicks, and other metrics to gauge prospect engagement.
  • Lead generation platforms, like Clearbit and ZoomInfo provide large databases of prospect information, allowing sales reps to quickly find and target their ideal buyers.
  • Social prospecting tools, like LinkedIn Sales Navigator, help sales reps identify and connect with potential buyers on social media platforms.

Sales intelligence software

Sales intelligence platforms provide data and insights on prospects, customers, and sales performance. They aggregate and analyze data from various sources to give a comprehensive view of the market and individual prospects and even your sales funnel for more actionable decision-making. 

Five examples:

  • Clari
  • Gong
  • Pocus
  • Klue
  • ZoomInfo Chorus

Boost your sales effectiveness with Dock

Dock equips teams with the tools to improve sales productivity and ensure consistent sales performance. A collaborative approach ensures you’re always one step ahead, understanding how your team interacts with prospects and what actions contribute to overall sales goals. 

If you’re ready to get started with Dock, you can request a demo now.