Sales Optimization: 11 best practical tips for selling faster

The Dock Team
March 13, 2024
July 3, 2024

Have you ever watched a Formula 1 pitstop? 

Twenty-two people lift a car, change four tires, and get it back on the track in less than three seconds. 

It’s a great example of a well-practiced team working in perfect harmony to perform consistently under pressure. 

But, if you’re growing a sales team, you may feel less like an F1 driver and more like Michael Caine in The Italian Job, looking at the wreckage of the white van. 

Your sales processes were pretty slick as a team of five. But now you’re dealing with 10 or 20 reps with different levels of experience, different backgrounds, and different processes for outreach, pitching, and closing. 

You’re left feeling like you need to clone yourself to coach everyone and be everywhere — but you’re too busy picking up the balls they’ve dropped to do much else. 

You must scale yourself as a leader and create a repeatable, optimized sales pipeline

In this article, we’ll give you our top sales optimization tactics to help your growing sales team become more efficient, shorten the sales cycle, and improve your close rates. 

What is sales optimization? 

Sales optimization is the process of refining and streamlining your sales processes so that you can sell more and sell faster than ever before. 

Optimizing your sales cycle involves looking at each stage of your buyer journey and identifying ways to make it quicker, smoother or easier for your team and prospects.

Most articles about sales optimization tend to give generic, broad-strokes advice, like “Have a clear ICP.” But if you’re in the growth stage, you’ve presumably already got your overall sales strategy nailed. 

Optimizing a growing sales team usually means minor tweaks to your processes, training and tools, quickly adding to significant efficiency gains. 

Sales data and KPIs To optimize

Before optimizing your sales process, you have to establish benchmarks to monitor your progress. We’d recommend you track the following key sales performance indicators

Activity metrics 

These are metrics to track your reps' sales activities. Of course, more activity doesn’t necessarily equal more sales—the quality of the activities matters more than the quantity. But they can help you spot opportunities to optimize your team's time use. 

At a minimum, you should probably know the following metrics: 

  1. Number of outreach messages sent
  2. Leads created
  3. Calls and conversations per week 
  4. Social media connections 
  5. Emails sent
  6. Discovery calls made
  7. Meetings held
  8. Demos held
  9. Proposals sent
  10. Referral requests sent 

Core sales metrics 

These top-level sales numbers will tell you if your optimization efforts are working. Common sales metrics include:

  1. Total value of sales - i.e., monthly/annual recurring revenue
  2. Number of closed deals or contracts
  3. Number of logos - i.e., new companies closed
  4. Average contract value (ACV)
  5. Quota attainment

Conversion metrics

Conversion metrics tell you how efficiently you’re moving your buyers through the sales funnel — and can often flag improvement opportunities at each buying process stage. 

At a minimum, set benchmarks and track your progress on the following sales goals: 

  1. Conversion rate by funnel stage (e.g., MQL to opportunity conversions)
  2. Win/close rate 
  3. Sales cycle length
  4. Activity-to-close metrics - e.g., the average number of conversations for won vs. lost opportunities)
  5. Profit margin
  6. Market penetration - i.e., how many customers you have compared to the total size of the market

📘 Related reading: Sales Efficiency Guide: How to calculate, measure & improve it

11 Sales optimization strategies for growing teams

Here are our top ten non-obvious tweaks that can boost the sales performance of your growing sales team: 

1. Collaborate with product marketing to refine your targeting

Prospecting comes down to precision targeting and strong messaging. Don’t let your salesforce go it alone. Instead, work closely with the marketing team to: 

  • Narrow your ICP and segmentation, then create specific messaging for each buyer persona within those segments. 
  • Invest time in research to personalize your outreach for each lead — reference specific details from their company, recent news, or shared connections. 

📘 Related reading: Sales Collaboration Guide: How to create cross-team alignment

2. Develop a referral strategy 

Customer referrals are among the most popular lead gen methods — but 70% of North American B2B companies have no formalized referral program. If you’re looking to optimize your sales cycle at the prospecting stage, building a plan to increase referrals could be an easy win: 

  • It sounds obvious, but simply remembering to ask happy customers for referrals is a good start. 
  • To sweeten the deal, you can also offer an incentive for customer referrals, such as a gift card or a free month of your service. 

📘 Related reading: The No-BS Guide to Sales & Revenue Acceleration

3. Use a standardized sales qualification methodology

One of the most effective ways to optimize your sales process is to ensure your salespeople are talking to the right leads. If you’re growing a sales function, it’s a good idea to introduce a standard qualification method to ensure all your reps conduct a thorough discovery.

We recommend that these two: 

  • The Sandler Selling System: 50 years old and still relevant, this consultative selling approach aims to establish an open dialogue with prospects to build trust and understand their pain points, budget and decision-making process. 
  • The MEDDIC Sales Methodology: This B2B sales framework guides sales team members toward the right questions to ask to effectively qualify leads by uncovering how they measure success and make decisions. 

📘 Related reading: The No-BS Guide to Sales & Revenue Acceleration

4. Take a multithreaded approach

Increase your chances of booking meetings by using sales multithreading. Instead of approaching and building customer relationships with a single contact, aim to create a network of contacts within each account. 

That way, you get a better sense of each stakeholder's needs, making your proposal stronger and more likely to close. Plus, it reduces the risk of losing the deal if your main point of contact leaves and improves long-term retention. 

To introduce multithreading into your sales process, try to: 

  • Ask questions about the buying decision during discovery, like “Who would feel left out if they weren’t involved in this decision?” or “When you’ve purchased in the past, who was involved?” 
  • Ask your buyer champion to put you in contact with any relevant decision-makers. 
  • Approach leads via multiple mediums (email, LinkedIn, phone) to determine the best for them. 
  • Take a many-to-many approach—connect your CFO with their CFO or your marketing lead with theirs.

📘 Related reading: Multithreading Sales: How to build a network of champions

5. Empower your buyer champion with the right content 

According to Gartner, buyers spend only 17% of their total buying time interacting directly with sales teams. They make the rest of the buying decision on their own.

That means your buyer champion — the person advocating for your solution internally — is your most important sales rep. So, you need to do everything you can to make it easier for them to make your case for you. 

Specifically, make sure you’re getting the right content into their hands: 

  • Make your sales materials relevant to the buyer’s challenges. For instance, give them counterarguments to common objections, like cost, integrations and security. 
  • Provide ROI calculators, case studies and benefits sheets that speak to their industry and use case. 
  • Make content easy to find. Don’t send buyers digging through their inboxes for your sales collateral or meeting notes. Use a tool like Dock to house all your content in the same workspace, with a single link for everything. 

📘 Related reading: How to turn eager buyers into sales champions

6. Elevate your demo follow-up 

Before each demo, quickly prepare a customized digital sales room for the prospect. Then, introduce it during the call. All your demo follow-ups can occur in that workspace instead of in messy email threads.

Andrew Hollis, Director of Sales at Nectar, optimized their sales process using Dock to build a better demo follow-up. In his words: 

“Dock has become this vehicle where we’re sending cohesive, curated documents that have our G2 reviews in it, really nice headshots we had done up for everybody and all these additional tools. The follow-up is just streamlined.”

📘 Related reading: How Nectar’s Director of Sales increased win rates by 31% with Dock

7. Give your proposal context

Another great advantage of using a digital sales room for demo follow-up is that your sales proposal becomes more than just another PDF. 

Instead of sending over a quote, your proposal can be housed alongside compelling sales collateral, meeting recordings, a recording of the demo, and so on. 

You can also give your clients pricing options and a pricing calculator so they can work out for themselves quickly which option makes the most sense for their needs. 

That way, you not only keep all the client stakeholders on the same page and give them all the information they need to make a quick decision, but you also remind them every time they look at your quote of all the reasons why they should buy from you. 

If you use Dock, you can not only pick up a free, customizable sales proposal template for your reps to use — you can even track what your buyers are looking at and how often, so you’ll know exactly how the deal’s going. 

👉 Get the free sales proposal template here

8. Use a mutual action plan to eliminate bottlenecks

Mutual action plans (MAP) are an excellent sales optimization tool, and we recommend that you always include one in your sales proposal. MAPs help set clear expectations and next steps for you and your prospective buyer, thus avoiding delays or miscommunication. 

To get the most efficiency gains from your MAP: 

  • Don’t use a cluttered spreadsheet. Instead, use Dock’s mutual action plan software to create a collaborative MAP focusing on the prospect’s goals. 
  • Add deadlines that tie into the buyer’s timelines and priorities to create a sense of urgency. 
  • Don’t include too many tasks — just stick to the top-level milestones to avoid overwhelming the buyer. 

📘 Related reading: Mutual Action Plans: Ditch the spreadsheet to win more sales

9. Track additional buying signals

Monitor your buyers as they interact with your sales collateral. By pulling in extra buying signals, You’ll be able to forecast deals more accurately and enable your team to intervene proactively if a deal is stalling.

For instance, with Dock, you can track whenever someone accesses your digital sales room. You’ll see who accessed the workspace, what they did when they got there, and when. 

So you can see, for instance, that the economic buyer checked your quote twice last week, and then your buyer champion jumped in to look at it, too, and then watched your demo again. 

Andrew at Nectar told us that this helped make forecasting far easier: 

“As a personal Dock user, if I had a prospect go over 12 views on my Dock, they had like a 97% chance of closing. It was ridiculous.” 

Or, if nobody’s looking, you can flag it up to a rep so they can re-engage with the account and find out what’s going on. 

📘 Related reading: Buying Signals Guide: 15 ways to track buying intent

10. Make onboarding seamless 

The smoother the customer journey from pre- to post-sales, the better for your close rate. To make the sales-success transition more accessible for your customers, try: 

  • Including post-sales next steps in your MAP. That way, the client feels like they’re already in the onboarding journey before they’ve even purchased, making the final stages of the deal stickier. 
  • Bringing in customer success before the customer has purchased. That way, Success has all the information they need about why the customer buys from you and how to help them reach their goals quickly. 
  • Using a digital sales room in Dock that you can convert into an onboarding workspace when the deal closes, quickly adding learning resources or updating your MAP with onboarding tasks as soon as the customer needs them. 

📘 Related reading: Customer Onboarding Guide: High-touch vs. low-touch

11. Be easy to buy from 

If you take just one idea from this article, it’s this: if you want to sell more, make buying easier. 

According to Gartner research, 77% of B2B buyers describe their most recent purchase as “very complex or difficult.” You can dramatically optimize your sales funnel by making your company the easiest company to buy from. 

Here are just a few ways you can do that: 

  • Don’t make them dig through their inbox to find the information they need to make a purchase decision. Give them a digital workspace that contains all the details and resources they need in a single link. 
  • Work with the buyer champion to create an internal pitch deck that addresses likely objections.
  • Create a mutual action plan that makes it easy for them to keep track of the steps they need to do to complete the purchase. 
  • Give them all the legal and technical information they need in that digital workspace so they don’t have to ask for it.
  • Instead of sending multiple quotes for different purchase scenarios, give them a pricing calculator so they can figure out the best purchase option for themselves. 
  • Then, use Dock to transform that quote into a purchase form when they’re ready to buy. 

📘 Related reading: 7 biggest sales challenges of 2024 (and how to solve them)

Tools for sales process optimization

Sales optimization is often a question of using the right sales tools. That might look like leveling up your CRM from a do-it-yourself solution built in Airtable to an industry standard like HubSpot or Salesforce. Or it might be a question of adding in a new email automation software so you can be more efficient about your outreach. 

Here are a few tools to consider when you’re looking to increase sales performance: 

Sales enablement software 

To standardize your sales processes, you must ensure your sales team has great learning resources and easy access to sales content. Some tools in this space include: 

Our product, Dock, also belongs in this space, although we focus on where other sales enablement tools are weaker — buyer enablement.

Most sales enablement tools are built for sales professionals. But in B2B buying, the buyer champion carries much of the sales burden. They have to sell their preferred solution internally and then navigate the complex process of buying B2B software.

Dock means that your sales reps can simplify this process for the buyer with a single shared workspace for sales content, resources, collaboration, and communication.

Sales intelligence software

If you’re looking for ways to optimize your sales pipeline, you may want to take a deeper look at your data. You can break sales intelligence tools into two categories: conversation intelligence and revenue intelligence.

Conversation intelligence solutions record your sales calls, break them into snippets and use AI to provide annotated notes about the conversations. E.g., “Goals were mentioned four times, product A was mentioned three times,” etc.

This data can help you coach sales reps on what to say during calls and can also be a great way to refine and tighten your positioning. Examples of tools in this space include: 

Revenue intelligence software helps you be more accurate with your forecasting. These tools take your CRM data as input and provide insights on individual accounts (e.g., how many emails were received), separate sales teams, team performance and overall pipeline health.

Examples here include: 

Prospecting and outreach software 

If you need to tweak your outreach results, you may want to add new prospecting or outreach automation tools to improve the productivity of your outbound efforts.

Outbound email software helps you scale cold outreach with automated outreach workflows and follow-up sequences. 

The most popular examples in this space are Outreach and SalesLoft

Lead generation tools come with massive databases of B2B contacts to help you identify potential new customers. ZoomInfo and Clearbit are the two most significant data vendors in this space.

Social prospecting software helps you be more efficient with your social outreach strategy. The main options here are LinkedIn Sales Navigator (for LinkedIn) or ZoomInfo Reachout (to scrape social contact information from websites directly into your CRM). 

And if you really need to scale up quickly, you can also outsource your sales team.

📘 Related reading: Sales Enablement Software: How to build your sales tech stack

Optimize your sales processes with Dock

If you’re ready to amp up your team’s sales velocity, Dock can help. If you use Dock in your B2B sales process, you can: 

  • Create a templated digital sales room that your reps can customize with compelling sales collateral for each prospect
  • Share a collaborative mutual action plan to keep deals moving forward smoothly 
  • Find and share content easily with clients and sales reps so you’re all on the same page 
  • Provide dynamic quotes that turn into order forms once you’ve negotiated a final price

Curious? You can try Dock free here

The Dock Team