When the economy suffers, many businesses have to scale back or completely close their doors. But what if there were a way you could be ready for an emergency before it happened? Finding ways to operate your business efficiently can mean the difference between growing and floundering during a crisis. And one of the most critical parts of your business to optimize is your sales team.
Optimizing Sales Costs
Optimizing sales costs does not necessarily mean getting rid of your sales staff. It’s about making them more effective by helping them focus on what truly drives results.
Some businesses only consider reducing headcount as an option in times of crisis because reducing staff could mean losing expertise, market intelligence, and sales capability. It’s a better option to have an already optimized team in place to maintain market coverage and penetration when the economy shifts. That way, you’re already optimizing sales cost.
Fortunately, with the support of today's technology, sales staff can be widely adaptable as you optimize sales management and overhead costs. Your team can work from home on a more flexible schedule — saving you money on office space and giving your staff more freedom.
6 Ways to Reduce Costs and Still Grow
To maximize the productivity of your sales staff, consider taking some targeted steps to make them both more cost-effective and more efficient.
1. Focus Your Current Sales Team and Automate What Makes Sense
Helping your sales team boost their productivity will go a long way toward keeping costs down and growing your business. A straightforward way of doing that is by increasing sales automation.
According to analytic firm McKinsey and Company, it’s possible to automate roughly one-third of all sales tasks. About 30% of sales tasks were deemed “highly automatable with today’s technology” in a study they conducted, making it “one of the most promising functions in terms of automation potential.”
Among the tasks measured for automation capability were:
Sales strategy and planning
Lead identification and qualification
Structural support tasks like reporting, analytics, and training
Conduct a review of your entire sales chain and see where automation can help your business the most. Examples include using:
Chatbots to free up time for customer support reps and generate leads. McKinsey’s study states this can increase sales rep’s selling time by 20 to 30%
Analytics tools to score customers who are more likely to churn so you can take measures like preemptive discounts to prevent it
Bots to generate the license certificate keys needed for new customers to activate their product, especially helpful in the software industry. Bots can generate the code, send it to the customer, and then update other departments (like legal and finance) when the product is activated
A centralized IT stack and staff trained in digital methods will equip you to better take advantage of automated processes.
Investing in more training for your staff — not only in automation but in sales tactics and even language learning — will pay dividends in the long run. You’ll end up with a highly skilled sales force that closes more sales and brings in more revenue without hiring additional staff.
2. Shift from Field-Based to Inside Sales
Shifting your sales team to an inside sales model will help consolidate your resources. You’ll also save money on trip costs incurred by going into the field to meet prospects. You can run this strategy with a small, elite team that reports to a single manager.
With businesses continuing to move their staff to a remote model as technology improves, more and more people will be working at home. But even when each person is working from their house, your sales team can use software like Slack and Zoom to stay in sync the way they would at the office.
Shifting to virtual sales can provide a variety of benefits, like:
No wasted travel time: This equals increased productivity and efficiency. Sellers can connect with more people in a single day than they could in the field.
Increased scale and reach: Going virtual lets you grow your sales operations without increasing the number of sales staff.
Better collaboration: Sales can work with other departments and share information more efficiently when everyone is working virtually.
More efficient processes: Virtual sales allows you to develop effective processes with much faster feedback and more opportunities for mentorship. Best practices can be diagnosed and developed in real-time, and operational cadence becomes smoother.
More quality talent: Building a virtual sales team gives you the opportunity to attract quality talent who are already digital natives, bringing strong technical skills to your team.
Today, many clients even prefer to engage digitally, giving a virtual sales team the advantage.
With regard to your clientele, you may also want to change the way you evaluate what clients you take on. Instead of just looking at how much money the client is spending, take a more holistic approach that includes variables like how much it costs to serve each client.
It could be more profitable in the long run to serve a few clients that can’t pay quite as much over one high-dollar client that requires a lot of resources. Running a virtual sales team makes it easier to take on more of these smaller clients without necessarily increasing staff numbers.
3. Optimize Your Go-to-Market Model
If you’re already cutting costs, the last thing you want to do is waste time and money bringing a product to market at the wrong time. Making your strategy as efficient as possible will help keep costs down. So how can you do that?
Combining processes and workflows is a great place to start. Your sales staff might be able to take on multiple roles that are similar to one another, meaning each person controls more of the process and leaves less room for error.
Utilizing an inside sales team generally nurtures a more nuanced relationship than field sales. Sales representatives are available "on demand," when the customer needs them. This works out perfectly in the world of B2B software, where the sales cycle can take months and typically requires multiple engagements.
Automation is key here. If your software is analyzing data and bringing leads to your sales team, for example, they’ll spend less time finding people and more time converting them into customers.
Look for other processes you regularly use within your sales funnel that could be automated to save time and effort. Those could be:
Review your specific process and find where the snags are instead of trying to apply generic fixes. Once you know your pain points, you can mitigate or eliminate them.
4. Take Advantage of Economies of Scale
Small companies that don’t have as much to spend might be just as profitable as high-dollar businesses simply because they’re consuming fewer resources during transactions. Running a remote sales team will lower your sales costs and raise profitability across the board because it doesn’t cost your reps as much time or money to meet each prospective client.
The concept of economies of scale is defined as “a proportionate saving in costs generated by an increase in production.” When it comes to your sales team, that means selling more with the same number of people.
Having a remote sales staff focusing on inside sales will already cut costs and increase efficiency. Good data and analytics can allow those people to focus on the clients more likely to convert, and that can mean your team gets through even more leads in a day than they normally would.
5. Consolidate Your Resources
Yet another way to make your sales team more efficient is to make sure you’re bringing as much talent and experience to it as possible. Bring on more multilingual people to handle a broader range of clients. Add people to the team who are well-versed in a wide variety of valuable skills. These people merit a higher salary, but the return on investment they provide is well worth the cost.
Each virtual sales hub you develop can be tailored to provide the best balance between cost, language availability, scalability, and talent in its respective region. Achieving that balance depends in part on location strategy. Choosing the right area for a talent hub will bring maximum access to well educated, highly-skilled native language speakers.
At Salescode, we’ve developed criteria for identifying the perfect location fit for a sales hub, and it’s a service we often deploy for our customers. In order to meet our best-fit criteria, a hub location must:
Deliver best-in-class services
Offer optimized cost of sales/ROI
Offer sufficient availability of well-educated and native speaking candidates
Offer state-of-the-art IT infrastructure
Be attractive to international sales candidates
Ideally provide access to government and European funding
Be in a politically stable region
Resource hubs consolidated intentionally and spread out around the globe, running efficiently, can drastically optimize your sales efforts.
6. Identify Sources of Incremental Revenue
Having a cutting-edge, highly effective sales team will make it easy to calculate both incremental revenue and incremental profits. Since everyone will know what you’re spending for marketing and what the monthly numbers are, it’ll be easy to measure the efficacy of any new technique you might try — and trying something new might yield a new source of revenue.
Say, for example, you decide to implement a content marketing campaign when you never have before. When your team is trying to choose what type of content to produce, they see that video explainers do very well for your product, so they film a series of tutorials. Since these videos provide value and establish your brand as an authority, they’ll continue to generate leads and revenue for a long time to come.
Look for areas like this you may not have considered before that can generate maximum benefit for the effort your team puts in. Creativity, automation, and good timing can do a lot to market your business.
Why Outsource Sales for Software?
If you’re having difficulty scaling up your business efficiently, you might want to outsource and bring in a specialist in software sales. That's where experts like Salescode can help. We specifically work with software companies looking to grow their sales while keeping costs down. It’s what we do best, and we do it faster than anyone else.
Whether you’re bringing a product to market, putting together a team, or hiring new employees, Salescode has a module that can help guide you through it. We can even help you increase sales performance and skill up your team in a way that benefits everyone involved.
No matter where you’re located, chances are Salescode can help. We’ve got over 4,000 employees globally in over 190 countries. And with two decades of experience in performance-based sales outsourcing, we’ve got the know-how to help you reach your sales goals.
Take some time to learn more about us, and when you’re ready to work together, drop us a line. We’re happy to tailor a sales process to help you knock your next campaign or long-term market expansion out of the park.