How to boost sales productivity

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In today’s B2B sales environment, targets are high, competition is steep, and resources are limited. 

So when 72% percent of a seller’s time every week is still being spent on non-selling tasks, it’s no surprise that sales productivity continues to be a priority for organizations.

In this article, we break down the intricacies of sales productivity and provide you with practical strategies to build a productive sales team, allowing your team to spend less time planning to sell, and more time closing deals.

What is sales productivity?

Sales productivity is the output an organization can achieve with a specific number of resources. In essence, it measures the relationship between a sales team’s effectiveness—their output—and their efficiency—the input. 

Sales productivity = Output / Input x 100

B2B deals are often highly complex and there are many stages in a sales cycle before a deal is signed. This leaves a considerable number of inputs and outputs that can be assessed for productivity at any point in the sales process. For instance, you can measure productivity as a function of the number of sales calls booked or even the rate of outbound communication.

That being said, companies tend to evaluate overall sales productivity benchmarks on the number of deals closed or the total revenue generated in relation to the amount of time that’s invested by the organization. For example, a sales team that closes ten deals in a month is considered to be more productive than another team that closes five deals in the same amount of time.

You may also see sales productivity expressed as a function of effectiveness and sales efficiency. While these terms are often used interchangeably, they play a slightly different role in sales success.

Sales productivity = Sales efficiency x sales effectiveness

The power of a productive sales team

Great sellers are the backbone of every sales-based organization. But what happens when overall productivity is increased?

Organizations that have productive sales teams benefit from: 

  • Increased gross revenue: Productive sales teams not only close more deals, but they’re able to secure larger and more lucrative opportunities.  
  • Shorter sales cycles: Productive sellers make the most of their time, resources, and customer relationships to accelerate deal velocity.
  • Lower operational costs: Productive teams can often do more with less, reducing overhead and minimizing wasted resources.
  • Better sales efficiency: A 2023 McKinsey analysis of 500 B2B companies found that the top quartile of businesses generated approximately 2.5x higher gross margin per dollar than those in the bottom quartile.
  • Improved customer experience: A productive sales team often has more time to spend on customer relationships, resulting in better customer retention and more closed deals.
  • Higher employee morale: Sales reps who feel productive and are meeting their sales targets are more likely to be satisfied with their work, which improves morale and job satisfaction.

How to effectively measure sales productivity

It often feels like sales teams—and organizations in general—are in perpetual pursuit of productivity. Despite the common objective, the measurement of sales productivity lacks standardization. So how does one determine if a sales team is actually productive?

When it comes to understanding sales productivity, there are several metrics and KPIs you can look at—both at the individual and team level. They generally fall into one of three categories: sales efficiency, sales effectiveness, or sales performance.

When you improve all three, you inevitably see a rise in sales productivity.

Sales efficiency

Sales efficiency measures the amount of revenue generated by a sales team against their sales and marketing expenditure. The more revenue a company can drive per dollar, the more efficient and productive their sales process.

Sales efficiency is most commonly calculated using the sales efficiency ratio (or SER).

Sales efficiency ratio = New revenue / Sales and marketing cost

Other measures of sales efficiency might include the SaaS magic number, gross sales efficiency, and net sales efficiency.

Sales efficiency can also refer to the volume of tasks performed within a specific period of time. For example, a sales rep who books more sales calls in a month is considered to be more efficient.

Sales effectiveness

On the other hand, sales effectiveness measures how successfully sellers can move prospects and leads through the sales cycle.

There’s no one metric that determines sales effectiveness, rather it’s common for sales managers to look at several metrics to gauge sales effectiveness, including:

  • Time-to-close: The length of time it takes to turn a prospect or lead into a customer.
  • Win rates: The percentage of closed deals compared to the total number of deals pursued. 
  • Prospect engagement rates: How well prospects in the pipeline engage with sellers.
  • Lead response time: The time it takes for sellers to follow up with prospects.

It’s important to remember that salespeople can be efficient but ineffective and vice versa. Consider the previous example. A sales rep who books more sales calls may be more efficient. But another rep who secures more qualified opportunities from the same or fewer number of booked calls is more effective.

Sales performance

Finally, sales performance is a measure of pure output. Regardless of whether that output was achieved efficiently or effectively. 

B2B sales performance is often measured on metrics, such as:

  • Total revenue: The total dollar amount generated from new sales.
  • Deal size: The average value or revenue attributed to each closed deal.
  • Buyer outreach: Number of emails sent, phone calls made, and meetings scheduled.

Drawing on the earlier example, a salesperson who books more calls may be more efficient. Another who secures more qualified opportunities from the same calls may be more effective. But ultimately, the seller who closes the highest value in deals will outperform both the more efficient and more effective seller.

You can’t simply look at one metric in a silo. When you strike the right balance between efficiency and effectiveness, your sales process becomes more productive—boosting overall sales performance.

9 tips to boost sales productivity

Increasing sales productivity comes down to improving your efficiency and your effectiveness. By optimizing how you allocate your time and resources, you can improve your ability to find, manage, and win more deals.

Here are some tips and best practices to help improve your team’s sales productivity.

1. Adopt effective sales team onboarding

Adding new salespeople and resources to your team can be an effective solution for boosting overall sales performance. But even the most experienced sales professionals have a ramp-up period, during which they might be less productive than their peers.

Sellers need to have a firm grasp of your product, your ideal customer profiles (ICPs), and your sales processes to effectively source and close deals. A well-defined and strategic onboarding process ensures that new team members get access to this information accurately and as quickly as possible.

When salespeople are left to figure out new information on their own—whether it’s how to navigate the tech stack or which deals to prioritize—it’s almost impossible for them to be productive and reach their sales goals.

2. Invest in ongoing sales training

Training and development shouldn’t end with onboarding. Ongoing sales training and coaching can help sellers stay on top of best practices while sharpening their sales acumen.

The sales landscape is constantly changing. Without the resources to learn and evolve, sellers can quickly find themselves prospecting with stale or less-than-effective strategies. Investing in regular sales training empowers sellers to continuously grow and adapt to the current market conditions.

As the bottom line points out, investing in sales coaching and training will increase sales expenses in the short term. However, regular sales training helps sellers maintain productivity and drive more revenue, increasing sales efficiency—and hopefully profits—in the long run.

3. Use templates to streamline sales processes 

In B2B sales relationships are everything. A cookie-cutter approach is no longer enough to secure deals. While sellers should prioritize personalization while prospecting, many parts of the sales cycle can easily be replicated to make the overall sales process more efficient. 

Sales templates and methodologies like MEDDPICC provide sellers with a skeleton complete with core content that they can use to speed up their sales process. For example, instead of building a sales pitch from scratch, sales reps can take advantage of existing templates and customize it to their target prospect. 

Templates also take the guesswork out of the sales process. By using tried-and-true formulas, sellers can engage with confidence and improve the success of their sales efforts.

Examples of templates that you can implement across the sales process might include:

  • Email templates for prospecting.
  • Sales scripts for customer calls.
  • Slide decks for proposals and presentations.
  • Contract templates for custom quotes and final sign-offs.

It’s important to make sure that sellers have easy access to the relevant templates in a centralized location to maximize the productivity benefits.

4. Ensure sales and marketing teams are on the same page 

Sales and marketing should work closely together to move deals forward. Yet, siloed teams with misaligned goals are far too common in B2B organizations.

Marketing and sales leaders should come together to align on overall sales strategies and define common goals. This ensures transparency and clearly outlines each team’s responsibilities within the sales cycle, in order to reach overall sales and revenue targets.

When there’s a lack of clarity or teams fail to communicate effectively, it can quickly lead to redundancies in the sales process. This wastes time and resources, and ultimately hinders productivity.

5. Find sales tools that match your productivity goals

Achieving productivity is easier said than done. But the good news is that today’s sellers don’t need to go it alone. Sales teams can—and should—take advantage of the wide range of sales productivity tools and technology that can help them reach their revenue targets.

These tools can help automate tasks, streamline workflows, and surface the data sellers need to push deals through the pipeline.

Common sales productivity tools for B2B teams include:

  • Customer relationship management (CRM) software
  • Data enrichment
  • Scheduling and calendar management
  • Project management
  • Time tracking 
  • Collaboration and communication

Read more: Make productivity your competitive advantage and close more deals. Learn how to evaluate and select the right sales productivity tools for your team. 

6. Improve CRM adoption 

While our data shows that 41% of sales managers have seen increased CRM usage over the past 12 months, end-user adoption continues to be a challenge for many sales teams.*

When a CRM isn’t actively updated, or even looked at, sellers miss out on valuable deal data and insights that can improve their ability to close deals. Moreover, organizations waste limited sales and marketing spend on a tool that isn’t being used.

Here’s the thing: a CRM is one of the most valuable tools for a sales team. When it’s used properly, the productivity benefits are clear—which means axing the tool altogether simply isn’t an option.

Sales leadership is better off tackling the challenges that sellers face when it comes to CRM adoption. For example, 35% of sales managers cite lack of time as the top reason their sales team doesn’t use their CRM. Sellers need their CRM to be easy to use and they need to see tangible benefits on their sales performance. 

7. Build efficiencies with AI and automation 

One of the best ways to improve productivity is to offload repetitive and time-consuming tasks that pull sellers away from revenue-generating activities. But many of these tedious tasks are still critical to securing deals. 

Consider CRM record creation. According to sales managers, sellers spent upwards of four hours a week updating their CRM.* Having accurate and up-to-date data is critical to the B2B sales process. But that’s a significant percentage of time that could be better used engaging in selling activities.

CRM automation reduces the time sellers spend on these administrative tasks—without sacrificing the benefits that they bring to the sales process. Studies have found that automation and AI can free up about 20% of a sales team’s capacity.

At the same time, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology can enable sellers to make better and more effective decisions during the sales cycle. So much so that a Salesforce report found that high-performing sellers are 1.9x more likely to use AI in their workflows. For example, AI can summarize key insights from sales calls or surface relationship insights from sales activity, so sellers can prioritize the right opportunities. 

8. Make the most of data 

We know that data is critical to maximizing deal flow. However, its usefulness is limited to the access and availability of that data.

Complete and accurate datasets enable sellers to make confident deal decisions. It prevents them from wasting resources pursuing leads with a low probability to close or missing out on lucrative opportunities. 

Data also provides the necessary context for sellers to effectively engage prospects. When information is missed or wires get crossed, it impacts the customer relationship and can even put an entire deal at risk.

To make the most of the data available to them, sellers need to be able to access it when and where they need it. Dealmakers can’t spend hours sifting through information siloes or trying to surface data hidden in inboxes or calendars. At best, it slows down the deal process. At worst, it leads to lost and missed opportunities.

9. Use sales reports and KPIs to track progress

The right sales reports and KPIs help sales managers and sellers track productivity progress and effortlessly identify areas of opportunity. 

Before implementing any productivity improvements, sellers and leaders should define KPIs and align on success metrics. This ensures that you have benchmarks on which to measure your progress.

Where possible, sales teams should also take advantage of sales reporting within their CRM and other existing tools. This guarantees that you’re using the most accurate data to identify top performers, sales trends, and areas for development. 

Remember: measuring and tracking productivity should not be labor intensive, otherwise you can quickly stifle any productivity gains.

7 sales productivity tools to help improve selling

From automations to AI-driven insights, sales teams have access to more productivity tools than ever before.

We’ve rounded up some popular B2B sales productivity tools to elevate your tech stack and improve your team’s productivity.

1. Salesforce

Salesforce’s cloud-based CRM software helps B2B sales teams source and close more deals. Salesforce improves your sales productivity by enabling sellers to manage customer insights and engage buyers all in one place. 

Top productivity features:

  • Integrations with leading sales productivity tools, such as Affinity, Microsoft, and Google Workspace to enhance the Salesforce experience.
  • Custom sales processes and email templates to guide sales reps through proven customer engagement strategies right within Salesforce.
  • Native Salesforce automation tools, such as Flow and Apex, help sellers create custom workflows that speed up the sales process.

2. Affinity for Salesforce

Affinity for Salesforce brings AI together with relationship intelligence to improve sales productivity. With automated data capture, integrations, and extensions, Affinity for Salesforce improves data access and eliminates manual tasks so sellers can focus on what really matters—building relationships and closing deals. 

Top productivity features:

  • Automated record creation. Improve productivity and save each user up to 200 hours a year by taking manual data entry out of the sales process. Affinity for Salesforce uncovers real-time data and insights from inboxes and meetings, so sales activity is always up-to-date.
  • Convenient browser extensions. Affinity for Salesforce’s Chrome and Outlook extensions improve access to data while saving sellers time. Instead of toggling between Salesforce and other sales tools, sellers can access—and update—Salesforce data and other sales insights right from their inbox, browser, or even LinkedIn.
  • Enhanced Salesforce data. Unlock deeper insights by layering Affinity’s proprietary relationship insights on top of existing Salesforce data. Then use that data to make deal decisions faster with automated workflows, triggers, and custom reports available within Salesforce.
  • AI-driven relationship intelligence. Get visibility into every relationship within your organization. Instead of spending time getting the answer to questions like “Do we know someone at that company?” sellers can easily surface warm introductions that close deals 25% faster.


3. removes the burden of note-taking from sales calls. uses artificial intelligence and automations to record, transcribe, and summarize insights from sales calls, so sellers can focus on moving the conversation forward, instead of capturing information.

Top productivity features:

  • OtterPilot automates sales insights from sales calls and interactions without time-consuming note-taking.
  • Integrations with CRM platforms, like Salesforce, automatically push call notes to customer profiles for easy organization and access.

4. Vidyard

Improve the customer experience with Vidyard’s video communication and automation tools. Vidyard helps sellers build better relationships with video messaging to improve response rates and make closing deals easier.

Top productivity features:

  • Send video messages so buyers can learn on their own time, instead of stressing over meeting scheduling.
  • Build personal relationships faster with new customers through virtual face-to-face communication.
  • AI-generator creates sales scripts in just a few clicks to speed up buyer engagement.

5. PandaDoc

Skip the sales paperwork with PandaDoc’s e-signature and document management platform. Boost productivity by spending less time securing signatures and contract feedback and more time putting together quality deals. 

Top productivity features:

  • Send personalized proposals using PandaDoc’s templates and pull in data directly from your CRM in just a few clicks.
  • Seamlessly integrate contracts and paperwork into your sales workflow with CRM integrations.
  • Store and organize documents with storage integrations so you can quickly find contracts when you need them.

6. Chili Piper 

Chili Piper is a sales automation tool that helps companies turn leads into prospects faster. Streamline your lead generation process by qualifying and routing leads automatically, so you can book more meetings and sales calls in less time.

Top productivity features:

  • Seamlessly route and hand off quality leads to the right team member with Chili Piper’s automated Handoff algorithm.
  • Automatically assign records to the right team members in Salesforce to limit confusion and manual upkeep with Distro.
  • Instant Booker prevents scheduling chaos by helping buyers schedule meetings themselves in one click.

7. Gong

Gong’s revenue intelligence platform uses automations and AI to help sales teams quickly surface sales insights and boost revenue. 

Top productivity features:

  • Stay on top of high-quality deals with algorithms that forecast deal outcomes.
  • Get AI-backed insights from conversations and sales activity to help sellers engage more meaningfully.
  • Streamlined coaching and onboarding with data-driven recommendations for every sales rep.

Sales productivity FAQs 

Why is productivity important in sales?

Productivity is important in B2B sales because it directly impacts your organization’s ability to reach sales targets and improve your bottom line. Where sales teams are responsible for generating revenue and closing deals, productivity is a key measure of how well sellers are performing at their jobs.

Sales teams that are productive not only close deals faster but are able to secure larger and higher-quality opportunities.

How do you calculate sales productivity?

Sales productivity is calculated by measuring your total sales output (your efficiency) against your total sales input (your effectiveness).

Sales productivity = Sales efficiency x sales effectiveness

Some common examples of sales productivity calculations include:

  • Closed deals per month
  • Revenue per sales rep
  • Booked sales call per week

What is the most effective way to improve sales productivity?

The most effective way to improve sales productivity is to implement a productivity tool such as Affinity for Salesforce that can reduce repetitive tasks so sellers can focus on revenue-driving sales activities. 

Software such as Affinity for Salesforce also improves sales productivity and team performance by helping sellers utilize more of the information available to them. By automatically updating Salesforce records and unlocking relationship insights, sellers benefit from productivity gains that allow them to drive deals forward.


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