The Secret Sauce to Sales Efficiency

Many factors go into sales efficiency, including lead generation, qualification, market dynamics, sales cycle length, personas, and processes—among others.

The right mix can be tough to pinpoint and many orgs spend a lot of time and resources finding the exact recipe for what makes their sellers most efficient. 

In this blog post, we’ll walk you through finding the sales efficiency approach that will work best for your selling team. 

Key takeaways

  • Define the difference between efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity for your organization to build the best roadmap for achieving true sales efficiency. 
  • Dig into the technologies supporting your team. Automate repetitive tasks and integrate data analytics so sellers can focus on high-value activities. 
  • Put continuous improvement frameworks in place. Set realistic goals and then measure your team against them regularly. 

What is sales efficiency?

Sales efficiency metrics are one way to compare how much money the sales department brings into your business vs. how much it sends out the door. They can also reveal important information about your investments and how your teams utilize available resources.

Sales efficiency helps you visualize three things:

  • Revenue
  • Costs
  • The relationship between these two

To calculate your own ratio, you’ll use the sales efficiency formula. Take all your sales costs — from salaries and benefits to tech investments and sales collateral — and divide them by your revenue. The result helps describe how your spending and income interact.

For example, say you made $10 in Q1 and spent $5. Your sales efficiency ratio is 2 — or, perhaps more accurately, 1:2, which means you make $2 for every $1 you spend. On the other hand, if you made $20 and spent $40, your ratio is 0.5. For every $1 you spend, you only make $0.50.

Here’s a simplified breakdown of what these ratios mean:

  • Less than 1: You’re losing money.
  • Exactly 1: You’re roughly breaking even.
  • More than 1: You’re making money.

Simply put, higher sales efficiency means that more of your revenue becomes profit.

Why is it important to track sales efficiency?

There are plenty of good reasons to keep the sales efficiency formula in your back pocket. Here are just a few examples:

When you track sales efficiency, you can use the ratio to evaluate sales team performance. This helps identify areas where the team is performing well and where improvements may be necessary. It can also point to reasons why your quota attainment might be slipping.

Sales efficiency metrics tell you where you are and where you should be going. You can use this information to set achievable goals for the sales team, helping them improve their overall efficiency and better define success.

A good ratio means you’re using your resources wisely. When you improve sales efficiency, you maximize your return on investment (ROI) by putting those resources in the right place depending on your needs and challenges. For example, if your sales team feels underprepared and resultantly loses sales, you might see improved ROI by investing in training and development programs.

Sales efficiency isn’t just a snapshot of your current sales landscape; it’s a way to help forecast future sales and revenue. By analyzing past data and comparing current metrics, you can make informed decisions and adjust your strategies accordingly.

While sales efficiency is a useful measurement, it’s not the only thing you need to keep track of. Fortunately, sales efficiency metrics help create context for other data, which can create a more complete picture of your profitability, revenue growth, sales team structure and more.

Sales efficiency vs. sales effectiveness vs. sales productivity

You may see sales efficiency, sales effectiveness, and sales productivity used interchangeably — but that’s not really correct. Here’s a better way to think about these three concepts:


Sales efficiency Sales effectiveness Sales productivity
This focuses on what you're doing This is more about how your sales team is performing. In many ways, productivity is the outcome of efficiency plus effectiveness.
Example: You spend a certain amount on sales team training. This is part of your sales efficiency ratio. Example: The amount you spend on training stays the same, but effectiveness measures how much your sales reps are getting out of that training and whether they’re utilizing the new tools and processes. Example: You use efficiency and effectiveness metrics to identify the ideal amount to spend on training. This is the point at which your sales reps are getting maximum value, but your investment is still reasonable.

6 ways to improve sales efficiency

Once you know all the differences in sales efficiency vs. sales effectiveness vs. sales productivity, you can put it all together to make significant improvements for your reps and revenue.

First, though, you need to know how to bring that sales efficiency ratio up:

#1. Provide sales training

Training helps sales reps develop the skills and knowledge necessary to be as efficient as possible. This education can cover everything from product knowledge and customer relationship management to sales techniques and sales platform utilization.

#2. Set realistic goals

The keyword here is “realistic.” Make sure your goals are within reach so sales teams feel motivated to make progress.

#3. Automate tasks

When you automate lead generation, data entry and other manual tasks, you can save time for reps and help them focus on higher-value opportunities.

#4. Use sales tools

 Solutions such as customer relationship management (CRM) software or sales enablement platforms can help streamline the sales process.

#5. Measure and analyze sales data

Data tells the story of your sales department. Measure this information to identify areas for improvement and extract valuable insights on sales optimization.

#6. Make coaching a habit

Coaching can support every stage of the sales process and is a valuable tool for increasing efficiency. Identify areas where your reps struggle most often and use these as learning opportunities — and don’t forget to fill in the gaps with training and support materials, too.

How Mindtickle helps to improve sales efficiency

To truly cook up the secret sauce to sales efficiency, you need to put all these pieces together. That means keeping your sales efficiency metrics, sales performance data, enablement materials, and tech tools all in one place.

Mindtickle is a platform that does all this and more. By providing a single home for training and content materials, performance tracking, visibility into your forecast, deals, and calls, and more, Mindtickle creates the foundation you need to improve sales efficiency in the right ways. The result is a unified sales ecosystem that provides insight into your strengths and weaknesses — all through data-driven, scalable insights. You can oversee every moving part, from individual sales reps to entire departments.

For example, say you’re focused on Software as a Service (SaaS). SaaS sales efficiency has unique benchmarks depending on what your sales process looks like, who your customers are and how your reps handle processes such as demos and platform onboarding. With Mindtickle, you can personalize your approach by rolling out templated sales plays that include content, training modules, best practice call recordings, and Mutual Action Plans so best work and win deals.

Put Mindtickle to work for your sales efficiency

If it’s time to improve sales efficiency, it’s time to try Mindtickle. With all your data, materials, processes, and training in one place, you’ll have the insight you need to make targeted improvements. 

Sales Efficiency with Mindtickle

Talk with an expert about your current approach to making your sellers efficient and how Mindtickle can amplify those efforts. 

Request a Demo

This post was originally published in May 2023 and was updated in April 2024. 

6 Ways to Have More Productive Sales Calls

When it comes to prospect interactions, quantity certainly matters. If a seller isn’t interacting with prospects, they’re not going to close enough business. But simply increasing the number of meetings and calls isn’t enough to guarantee more deals.

Instead, sellers must also master the skills needed to improve the quality of their interactions. Only then will more of their calls lead to closed deals.

Yet, most sellers are familiar with that sinking feeling that comes after a sales call has gone wrong. Maybe they ran out of time and didn’t have the chance to cover everything they’d hoped to. Perhaps the prospect barely spoke. Or, maybe the buyer raised objections the seller just wasn’t ready to handle — which left them fumbling.

Usually, these calls leave reps (and their managers) wondering what they can do to improve the outcome next time. While no two sales calls are the same, there are commonalities across all great calls. The first step to success is to take a closer look at what the best sales orgs are doing differently on their sales calls. This is exactly what we did.

Recently, we analyzed nearly half a million sales calls recorded in 2023 using Call AI, Mindtickle’s conversation intelligence solution. We also compared this analysis to previous years to understand how things have changed over time. Based on these new insights, we’ve compiled our top six tips for getting the most out of sales calls.

Key takeaways

  • More calls doesn’t mean more closed deals. Focus on improving the quality of rep calls to increase their effectiveness. 
  • Balance participation between reps and customers. Make sure there’s time to ask and answer questions on both sides.
  • Make sure your reps aren’t hogging the stage. Train your reps to listen to customer pain points rather than deliver long monologues. 

1. Optimize sales call length – and make the most of your time

Have you ever scheduled a 30-minute sales call, only to run out of time before you’ve covered everything you wanted to? Maybe the customer had a lot of questions, or perhaps they took things in a different direction than you anticipated. As the end of your time approached, you likely felt a sense of panic kick in, and you may have come across as rushed or disorganized.

So if you’ve scheduled 30 minutes, you have a few options. You can ask the prospect if it’s possible to run over (which it often isn’t, as prospects have busy schedules, too). Or, you can end the call without covering everything — and hope the prospect agrees to another call. Neither situation is ideal.

In order to avoid this situation, it’s important to optimize the length of your sales calls. But what’s the right amount of time to book on your prospect’s calendar?

Our analysis found that the average length of a sales call recorded, transcribed, and analyzed with Mindtickle in 2023 was 30 minutes, which is down from 36-37 minutes the prior year. However, the average length of a discovery call is 36 minutes.

In 2022, the average sales call was
In 2023, the average sales call was

Take a look at your own sales calls to evaluate length. Use those insights to determine how long you should schedule calls for. When in doubt, schedule more time. For example, rather than scheduling a half hour call, schedule it for 40 minutes. If you don’t need the entire time, you can always give the prospect or customer some time back, which is preferable to going over your time.

In addition, be sure your reps show up ultra-prepared. That way, they can make the most of their time with buyers – no matter how much time that may be.

2. Share the mic – especially on discovery calls

A sales call, like any conversation, should be a give and take. Both parties should have an equal opportunity to share what’s on their mind — and ask and answer questions.

But often, that’s not the case. Instead, sales reps do the lion’s share of the talking — while prospects sit quietly and (hopefully) take it all in. On average, customers talk just 37% of the time on sales calls, which is down significantly from 44% in 2021.

In 2021, customers talked
In 2023, customers talked
of the time on sales calls
0 %
of the time on sales calls
0 %

Customers speak up a bit more during discovery calls. During discovery stages, they speak 43% of the time, which is down from 41% in 2021.

If you’re looking to get more out of your sales calls, coach your sellers to give prospects plenty of airtime on calls — especially in the discovery stages. If your team is struggling to get the prospect to talk more, this may be an opportunity to look at the discovery questions asked. Are they thought-provoking? Do they warrant more than a one-word answer? Curating a list of deep-dive discovery questions will get your prospects sharing more, so you can better prepare for the next conversation.

3. Keep monologues in check

Have you ever been in a situation where someone’s telling you a long, drawn-out story? Your eyes might glaze over, while your attention drifts to other things.

The same can happen on sales calls with the rep delivering a long, droning response to a prospect’s questions. As a general rule, the longer the monologue, the more disengaged a prospect gets.

We found that, on average, the longest monologue response delivered by reps in 2023 2 was minutes and 15 seconds. In comparison, the average longest monologue delivered by reps in 2022 was 2 minutes and 43 seconds.

In 2022, the longest rep monologue was
In 2023, the longest rep monologue was

Though monologues are decreasing in length, it’s critical for reps to be mindful. If a seller finds themself speaking for more than a minute and a half, it’s important to check in and see if the prospect has any questions. Doing so helps ensure a balance of rep and prospect participation and engagement.

4. Equip sellers to handle objections

Ideally, every sales call will end on a positive note. The prospect will feel excited about the seller’s solution — and eager to move on to the next step of the sales process.

But that’s not reality.

Negative sentiment, such as uncertainty, hesitancy, competitive mentions, and objections, are extremely common on sales calls. In fact, over half (54%, to be exact) of sales calls contain more negative sentiment than positive.

In 2023

of calls contained more negative sentiment than positive
0 %

But negative sentiment doesn’t mean the call is a lost cause — especially if the seller has been adequately trained and coached to expect resistance and overcome it. When a prospect brings up competitors and challenges statements made during the call, it often means they have done their research, indicating that they have prioritized the search for a solution like yours.
Of course, it’s important to provide enablement that ensures reps know your messaging inside and out and can properly differentiate you from your competitors. Be sure you’re also spending time on enablement topics that help reps build their confidence and overcome common objections.

5. Ask and invite questions

When a rep asks questions, it shows they’re clarifying deal information and deepening their discovery. On average, reps ask 20 questions during sales discovery, which is down from 25 questions the prior year.

In 2022, reps asked
In 2023, reps asked
questions during discovery
questions during discovery

On the other hand, when a rep receives a question from a prospect, it can be indicative of the potential customer’s needs and priorities. On average, sellers receive 12 questions from prospects during sales discovery. Of course, this will vary based on factors including prospect preparedness, confidence levels, decision-making stage, and time constraints. In 2022, the average number of questions a seller received during a discovery call was 18.

During the best sales calls, questions are asked by both parties. Yet, we’re seeing a decline in questions posed by both buyers and sellers.

Be sure to provide your reps with the coaching and resources they need to improve their questioning techniques. Boosting these skills can help foster more engaging and insightful customer interactions. y In addition, be sure to review your top discovery calls. That way, you can create a list of the questions that best uncover additional deal information and get the prospect thinking.

6. Leverage conversation intelligence software

Let’s be real: sales calls don’t always go well. And when they go south, reps often struggle to articulate what exactly went wrong. That makes it difficult (or even impossible) for the sales manager to provide coaching that’ll improve future outcomes.

Furthermore, front-line managers are busy and don’t have the bandwidth to sit in on every single call for every single rep. That’s why the best sales orgs use conversation intelligence software to bridge the gap.

Conversation intelligence software records sales calls and leverages AI to help managers identify where reps are excelling — and where there are skill gaps. Managers can use these insights to deliver personalized enablement, content, and coaching to close those gaps, improve key skills, and boost sales outcomes.

With all of your calls recorded, reps can better prepare for meetings. Conversation intelligence products like Call AI send digest emails with summaries and key action items from the last call with a prospect. In addition to call prep, sellers can collaborate and coach each other on key selling moments, soliciting feedback and viewing top call moments from their team members.

Ready to get more out of your sales calls?

Want to learn more about what winning revenue organizations are doing to ensure each member of the team is always ready to close deals?

Get a Demo

This post was originally published in June 2022 and was updated in April 2024. 

The Magic of Bringing Your Tech Stack Under One Roof

While CROs and sales leaders can’t name every single tool in their tech stack, they do know one thing.

They have too many. 

Research shows that 41% of organizations have 10-15 tools in their tech stacks– and another 18% with 16-20 tools – but it’s not leading to better quota attainment. Bloated tech stacks are leading to organizational (and data) silos and an urgency to consolidate. 

of orgs have 10-15 tools in their tech stacks
0 %

In this blog, we’re here to help you understand:

  • Benefits of consolidating your sales tech stack
  • What types of technologies to consolidate
  • Top use cases for consolidation
  • Questions to ask yourself before consolidating
  • DOs and DON’Ts of consolidating successfully

Benefits of consolidating your sales tech stack

There are many benefits of consolidating your sales tech stack.

Reps are trained faster

Reps often feel the biggest benefits. Our customers who have consolidated with Mindtickle say their reps are trained 40-50% faster and improve their overall sales efficiency.

While reps in organizations with siloed tech stacks spend just 30% of their time actually selling, with consolidation, reps know what tools to use each day, and spend less time looking for content. They are also better able to work each stage of the sales cycle and match content and next steps to what that particular buyer needs.

Managers can coach more people at scale

Prior to consolidating its sales tech stack, one Mindtickle customer could count on a manager to oversee 4-5 people. After consolidating and improving the scalability of coaching and deal reviews, this same manager can successfully coach 8-9.

Reduced time and administration

Anyone who has ever participated in getting a sales technology off of the ground knows how time-consuming it is to:

  • Get to know the new tool
  • Implement it
  • Customize and support it
  • Drive usage and adoption
  • Continue justifying the investment and proving its ROI

Working with too many sales tech vendors spreads teams thin, and makes it difficult for those organizations to partner together to truly help you drive a sales transformation. Rather than focusing on streamlining workflows, reducing clicks, and driving revenue goals, your time gets sucked up being courted by dozens of vendors who are often primarily thinking about how to keep their seat at the table in this precarious economy. That is not productive for you.

Reduced compliance and security risks

A goal of any good cybersecurity and compliance strategy is to reduce the sales tech stack. Why? Because every new vendor you add opens up risk. Not only do you need to onboard and offboard employees constantly, but there is another team of people with access to critical documents about your strategy and products. As much as possible, it is best practice to focus on fewer trustworthy partners who follow best-in-class compliance protocols.

Create a culture of collaboration

When teams start to use too many different sales technologies, they inevitably adopt different sources of truth and workflows. This can lead to big discrepancies between how people think about business performance, people performance, and what to do each day. In the world of revenue tech, RevOps might work in one platform and see issues with the forecast or pipeline that don’t properly get communicated to enablement.

Enablement might be looking at sales engagement and program statistics that show their efforts are paying off, but have little to no idea that a specific person, team, or sales stage is suffering so they can target and personalize their efforts.

Managers and reps might be completely misaligned on what deal risks even exist, how responsive prospects actually are, and the activity volumes that take place each day.

And CROs, who are responsible for reporting to the board, often get stuck finding problems, but not actually providing the team with strategic guidance on how to go beyond and fix those problems.

As much as possible, building a single data model for the sales org gets the whole revenue team aligned.

Positively impact cash flow and spend

Here at Mindtickle, we know that the average 40-person selling team consolidating its tech stack saves $150,000 annually. For enterprise organizations, the potential financial benefits are much, much steeper.

Annual savings with consolidated tech stack
$ 0

While cost does not mean you have to sacrifice quality and results, it should not go unmentioned that organizations that do streamline their sales tech stack and eliminate redundant sales technologies reap big savings.

Tech consolidation is key to revenue productivity

Now that we know why organizations are consolidating their sales tech stacks, and why so many are urgently doing it now, what use cases exist? What types of technologies are they even consolidating?

There are many, but the biggest trend in consolidation right now is in connecting sales enablement and sales operations solutions with the goal of helping reps work and win more deals consistently and at scale. Another good way of putting this is that revenue orgs today are focused on helping reps know what to say, show, and do to win every sales stage.

At Mindtickle and other organizations, these new consolidated platforms are often referred to as revenue productivity platforms. The big idea behind revenue productivity platforms is that they not only help you identify people, deals, and teams that need your attention but actually drive change management at scale.

In a nutshell, revenue productivity platforms help you uncover insights on what deals, teams, and people need your attention but also go beyond to fix them with built-in enablement.

Here are some of the top use cases to consider when consolidating.

With a unified user experience, it’s much easier for reps to find the content that best wins deals without much thinking.

By connecting your content and sales training programs to revenue operations Platforms that do things like help you uncover issues with your forecast, pipeline, and quota attainment, organizations are also able to create more relevant, ROI-driven content and training programs.

At the same time, by empowering revenue teams to work in a platform where they can not only launch programs but deep-dive specific deals and calls, they are able to better root their programs in real field evidence.

Dead are the days when enablement teams would launch a program and cross their fingers that reps actually adopted it in the field. With a consolidated tech stack, the whole team works as one. It’s much easier to hold reps accountable for using the messaging and doing the activities you’ve prescribed as part of your new sales process or sales methodology. In fact, most organizations that consolidate their tech stacks are able to significantly scale deals and call reviews.

With a unified tech stack, not only can you decode what top reps do differently to win more, but you can also drive scalability and repeatability by rolling out things like templates and sales plays.

One of the top use cases is to encourage reps to build Digital Sales Rooms for customers and work deals diligently using Mutual Action Plans.


Better performance benchmarking and analysis of key sales outcomes

With a consolidated sales tech stack, organizations can start to get really clear about what their Ideal Rep Profiles and competencies look like. This means that instead of relying on manually input CRM data to predict who will hit quota or not, organizations can start to define the skills, activities, and in-field behaviors that make reps successful or not.

Ideal rep profile competencies

Once those Ideal Rep profiles and competencies are defined, organizations can better benchmark who is ready or not to hit quota. At Mindtickle, we call this the Sales Readiness Index. Dozens of our customers use it to know which teams and people need their attention.

This level of benchmarking is only possible when you unify your sales tech stack and begin to create a single data model around all of your buyer and seller interactions, as well as your sales competencies.

A culture of practice, reinforcement, and coaching

Sales coaching is essential, and it’s proven to drive bottom-line results. In fact, companies that provide quality coaching can reach 7% greater annual revenue growth. But why do so many fail to go beyond the one-way training provided through a typical Learning Management System?

A siloed sales tech stack is often the culprit.

By unifying your sales tech stack, you can enlist sales managers to participate a whole lot more. Finally, you can deliver insights like these to sales managers:

  • Deal health score
  • Deal risk insights
  • Visibility into calls, emails, and meetings
  • Visibility into buyer engagement
  • Adoption of sales processes and methodologies, such as MEDDPIC

Once sales managers can access this data in one place, they can prescribe training programs that content reps should check out.

At the same time, features like AI video role-plays and reinforcements help reps overcome the forgetting curve by helping them practice and retain knowledge.

Questions to ask yourself before consolidating

Now that you know why businesses are consolidating redundant sales technologies and the use cases they are pursuing, here are some questions to ask yourself.

  • When it comes to my current tech stack, what needs and pain points does my team have?
  • Where are we paying for redundant features?
  • What tools are driving the most/least usage for us?
  • What tools are creating silos and misalignment between different departments?
  • Which of our vendor relationships are the most efficient and successful? Which ones are lacking or taking up too much of our time?
  • Are our sales tech costs where they need to be?
  • Do the sales technologies we use integrate nicely?

Ready to see the magic of consolidating your revenue tech stack into a single platform?

Now that the benefits of consolidating your tech stack are clear and you’ve asked yourself if it makes sense for your organization, you might be ready to evaluate a single-platform solution. If that’s the case, here are some dos and dont’s that will serve as a valuable guide when choosing a technology partner:

Take inventory of your existing sales tools and evaluate their effectiveness, usage, and integration capabilities.

Clearly outline your goals and desired outcomes for consolidating your sales tech stack. Identify the specific functionalities and features you need to support your sales process.

Look for tools that seamlessly integrate with your existing systems, such as CRM, marketing automation, or customer support software. Smooth data flow and automation are crucial for a consolidated tech stack.

Seek input from your sales team throughout the consolidation process. Consider their needs, pain points, and preferences to ensure the new stack aligns with their workflows and enhances their productivity.

Select tools that can accommodate your business’s growth and evolving needs. Scalability is essential to avoid the need for frequent changes and migrations in the future.

Opt for intuitive tools that require minimal training and onboarding. User adoption plays a significant role in the success of your consolidated tech stack.

Prioritize the security of your sales data when selecting tools. Verify that the vendors have robust security measures in place, including data encryption, access controls, and compliance with relevant regulations like GDPR.

Plan for proper training and ongoing support to ensure a smooth transition and user adoption. Neglecting training can hamper your team’s ability to effectively utilize the consolidated tech stack.

While consolidating your tech stack can bring efficiency and cost savings, carefully evaluate the total cost of ownership, including licensing fees, implementation costs, and any potential hidden expenses.

Anticipate your future requirements and select tools that can adapt and grow with your business. Avoid short-term solutions that may become obsolete or inadequate as your sales operations expand.

Ready to learn more about how to consolidate your sales tech stack? Get in touch with our team so we can talk through your challenges and understand how a consolidated tech stack will help your sellers be more productive. 

Consolidate your sales tech stack with Mindtickle

Talk with an expert about your current tech stack and how Mindtickle combines all your revenue productivity solutions and data into one tool. 

Get a Demo

This post was originally published in January 2022, updated in May 2023, and again in March 2024. 

How To Build a Sales Pipeline: The Step-By-Step Guide

There’s an old saying in sales that “pipeline saves lives.” 

So it’s not surprising that everyone at an organization’s go-to-market team is responsible for building a strong sales pipeline

It can be a struggle though. 

Finding the right prospects and nurturing those relationships can be broken down into a step-by-step process. 

Key takeaways

  • There’s a difference between your sales pipeline, sales process, and sales funnel. We break them all down. 
  • From prospecting to post-purchase, we explain each stage of the sales pipeline as well as key challenges + technologies for each one. 
  • A step-by-step guide to putting together your own sales pipeline. 

Here’s how to build a sales pipeline and why it matters.

What is a sales pipeline?

A sales pipeline is a series of stages, often represented visually. It’s built around a prospect’s experiences as they get closer to becoming a customer. This helps sales reps better understand what a potential buyer needs and when.

Let’s say the sales pipeline really is like a road. That would mean you need two perspectives:

What processes are required to build the road? Where does it begin and end? Does it need ongoing maintenance and repairs?

How does it feel to use this road? Are there bumps, potholes or other frustrations that might make a driver turn around? Why did the customer turn onto the road in the first place and what do they hope to find at the end?

Simply put, a sales pipeline empowers your sales team with the information they need to engage more empathetically based on what stage a prospect is in.

Sales pipeline vs. sales process

You might think the sales process is a similar concept, and you’d be partially right. The difference is that a sales process is focused on your internal team and the steps, decisions and procedures involved in closing deals. A sales pipeline, on the other hand, encompasses the sales team and prospect perspectives in one ecosystem. You can think of it as the quality and conversion rates of the important touch points along the way that roles like marketing, BDRs, and sales reps use to drive customers forward, It may be helpful to think of a sales process as part of a sales pipeline.

Sales pipeline vs. sales funnel

Another similar concept is the sales funnel — but once again, this term isn’t synonymous with “sales pipeline.” The former is more about numbers, while the latter is about experiences and interactions.

Imagine the shape of a funnel: It’s wide at the top and narrow at the bottom. This describes the dwindling number of prospects as they make their way toward sales and deals. Meanwhile, a pipeline is straight and horizontal. It keeps track of experiences leading to a sale, not necessarily the number of prospects taking part.

For best results, it helps to put these two together. Here’s how they help inform one another and your sales activity:

Here are the steps a prospect takes to become a customer and which interactions happen at which stage. 

Here’s where some prospects abandon the pipeline and who goes on to become a customer.

Stages of a sales pipeline

A sales pipeline generally has seven stages:

  1. Prospecting
  2. Lead qualification
  3. Demo/meeting
  4. Proposal
  5. Negotiation/Commitment
  6. Win
  7. Post-purchase

Each stage involves different experiences, needs, and goals for both the prospect and your sales team. While you could combine or eliminate some of these stages — for example, a particularly qualified lead might want a proposal as part of your initial meeting — it’s wise to keep this standard pattern in mind. Why?

  • It helps space out interactions to keep your sales activity from feeling pushy or spammy.
  • It gives your sales reps a more organized structure for what to say and when to say it.
  • It enables granular visibility into successful messaging, revenue forecasting, churn rate predictability, the effectiveness of sales enablement content, and more.

The seven stages of a sales pipeline

Building a sales pipeline means taking disparate experiences and uniting them based on how they progress through the customer journey. If you want to learn how to build a sales pipeline, look no further than these seven stages and the tech, roles, and processes that make them possible:

Stage 1: Prospecting

Much like lead generation, this first stage is about building familiarity and creating interest. Your goal is to reach people who may be interested in your brand, product or service.

Top challenges

For many companies, prospecting feels like starting at zero. Common struggles include:

  • Getting a prospect’s attention.
  • Receiving substantial responses.
  • Lack of appropriate skills or training for the prospecting phase.
  • Managing the number of prospects.

Key tech

The best technology for this stage depends on your approach. Common examples include social media and email platforms, but you might also want:

  • Sales prospecting tools
  • Live chats
    Self-service options that automatically capture and flag noteworthy interactions

Important roles

Depending on the nature of your prospecting activity, your sales reps might not be involved yet. Instead, your social media team, email marketers, content writers, and other experts may be doing the heavy lifting. Other approaches, such as cold calls and events, may require sales team input.

Vital processes

At the prospecting stage, the most important thing a sales rep can do is communicate — whether with other teams (such as marketing) or directly with potential customers. It’s equally important to keep track of key data, flag skill or information gaps, and create tentative plans for promising prospects.

Stage 2: Lead qualification

Much like lead generation, this first stage is about building familiarity and creating interest. Your goal is to reach people who may be interested in your brand, product or service.

Top challenges

At this point, you might notice stumbling blocks such as:

  • Too many low-quality or disinterested leads — a problem that drains resources and indicates flaws in the prospecting phase.
  • The wrong skills or approaches may indicate that your team is too sales-driven this early in the pipeline.
  • Lack of integration makes it difficult to qualify leads from various channels.
  • Disjointed processes result in delays, which can let a potentially high-quality lead go cold.

Key tech

At this stage, you’ll want to start relying on your customer relationship management (CRM) software. You’ll also need lead enrichment tools, call tracking and analytics, various chatting options, and more.

Important roles

Just as lead generation can be a team effort, lead qualification might require work from both marketing and sales teams. This all depends on your processes — and for best results, it should depend on the lead, too. Respond to prospects based on the approach that first sparked their interest; that way, you build relationships and leverage personalization early on.

Vital processes

Lead management is key during this phase. Your sales reps need to know which leads have been qualified and which haven’t. There also needs to be a clear, cross-departmental understanding of what “qualified” means so reps can take appropriate next steps.

Stage 3: Demo/meeting

Prospecting and lead qualification set the stage; the demo or meeting phase is your sales team’s opportunity to start the show. This is where you’ll have your first formal interaction with a prospect, and the stakes are a little higher on both sides because there’s proven interest. In many ways, it’s like a first date.

Top challenges

At this point, your sales team might note challenges including:

  • Difficulty getting a prospect to agree to a meeting.
  • Trouble scheduling or sudden silence from prospects after indicating they want to meet.
  • Lack of skills and tools necessary to properly manage a demo, ask the right questions, and get the right information.
  • Inability to address certain problems, requests, or customer concerns due to gaps in training.

Key tech

Video conferencing, screen sharing and transcription tools are among the most important solutions for the demo/meeting stage. You’ll also want call tracking and analytics software to help you learn more about how your sales team handles these opportunities and where your training or enablement content can be improved. Sales enablement platforms come in handy, too.

Important roles

Your sales team is front and center. They should stay in contact with anyone involved in prospecting and lead qualification, however — because if someone made a promise during those phases, your sales reps need to follow through. This is also a great time for sales leaders and coaches to take an active role in addressing skills gaps, training new hires, recording best practices, and gathering key data for sales forecasting.

Vital processes

The most important tasks in the demo/meeting phase include:

  • Preparing questions and talking points.
  • Sharpening time management skills.
  • Ensuring sales enablement and demo content are readily accessible.
  • Sending agendas ahead of time.
  • Researching the individual/s who will be present at the meeting.

Stage 4: Proposal

If everything else goes well, this is the stage where a sales rep gets to put your offerings on full display. A proposal should always be customized to meet the potential customer’s needs as discussed in all the previous phases. It’s not just proof of what you can do; it’s proof that you listen as well.

Top challenges

During the proposal, sales reps may struggle with:

  • Poorly managing the tone, coming across as either too modest or too overconfident.
  • Providing too much information or not enough.
  • Failing to refer to pain points or topics mentioned in previous interactions.
  • Not getting the right information from cross-departmental teams.

Key tech

Sales proposal software is particularly effective at this point, as is sales enablement software and any communication or conferencing platform you’ve already been using. Sales reps need to keep track of the promises they’re making so other team members know how to follow through.

Important roles

While your sales team is still taking the lead in this part of the process, they might need input from legal, product, or service experts. If there are any special offerings or discounts, a sales manager or other leader might need to give the green light, too.

Vital processes

Drafting and checking the proposal is perhaps the most important step your teams will take at this point. Verbiage needs to be clear and concise without making any guarantees you can’t deliver upon; there also generally needs to be some acknowledgment of:

  • Price points
  • Delivery or due dates
  • Contract terms if relevant
  • Expectations on both sides

Stage 5: Negotiation

This stage is highly variable and depends on your prospect, sales team, relationship management and plenty of other factors. If negotiation is necessary, remember that it’s a built-in part of the sales process and is a stepping-stone to commitment.

Top challenges

At this point, challenges may include:

  • A prospect continually changing their request.
  • Seemingly endless negotiations due to a lack of sales rep comfort or skills.
  • Unclear next steps.

Key tech

Most of the tech required for negotiation and commitment is related to strong communication. That means email platforms, CRM tools, and video conferencing solutions should all be top priorities.

Important roles

If your sales rep needs an extra push to get a prospect over the line, they might call in help from a leader or manager to help with negotiations. You may also need particular people in a meeting depending on the nature of the commitment or contract.

Vital processes

Consistent communication should be at the heart of this sales pipeline stage. However, capturing sales rep habits and data is equally important, as this is an opportunity to record best practices, make targeted improvements and keep track of any offers or promises.

Stage 6: Win!

When your sales reps close deals, there’s plenty to do — such as informing other departments about upcoming work. It’s also key to reflect on the processes, decisions and sales activity that made this possible.

Stage 7: Post-purchase

Winning deals doesn’t mean your reps can sit back and relax. They still need to build relationships in the post-purchase phase, which can involve everything from answering questions to up- and cross-selling.

Top challenges

After a purchase, sales teams might struggle with:

  • Staying in contact with customers.
  • Responding effectively to questions or requests that may fall outside the sales team’s expertise.
  • Navigating negative feedback or reviews.

Key tech

CRM software is perhaps most important during this stage, as it helps keep track of a customer’s purchase history and what that means for the ongoing relationship. Sales enablement material should become product or service support material at this point, but sales reps should still know how to access and share it with customers.

Important roles

Now that the deal is complete, some sales reps might take a back seat while others — such as the product and shipping teams — take over. However, customers may still see the sales team as their main point of contact, so this is far from the end of the story.

Vital processes

The key to succeeding in post-purchase relationships is to provide what the customer needs, whether that’s answers, support, exchanges or refunds, additional products, or just an opportunity to offer feedback.

Putting it all together: Building a strong sales pipeline

Once you have all the individual pieces figured out, you’ll need to unite them in a cohesive sales pipeline. Follow these steps to get started:

Outline each step

Think of your sales pipeline as a roadmap and outline every “stop” a prospect will make before they reach their destination, which is a purchase or deal with your company. Think about what a potential buyer needs at each stop and how your sales team can deliver without pushing the prospect too quickly (or letting them lose interest).

Prepare your technology

Every stage of a sales pipeline relies on intuitive, integrated technology. Get rid of single-function tools where possible and use platforms that unite:

  • Sales enablement
  • Conversation intelligence
  • Sales content
  • Sales onboarding and training
  • Sales coaching
  • Performance measurements
  • Revenue forecasting

Create your sales enablement strategy

Sales enablement strategy planning helps you make use of all the moving parts in a sales pipeline. When you can analyze key data, better understand sales reps’ needs and make targeted improvements, your prospects and your pipeline will benefit. You’ll also have the information you need to define different stages of the sales process and how this impacts your reps.

Prepare for the future

Ensure that your sales team approaches each stage of the sales pipeline as a springboard to the next level. If they get too caught up in one area or task, they might lose out on their next big sales opportunity. Often, this means providing the training, enablement material, and ongoing support they need to adapt to changing market conditions and anticipate customer demand.

Update as necessary

Part of building a sales pipeline is reviewing your current stages, habits, and processes to find more effective paths forward. Use call recording and analytics, CRM tools, deal health insights, and other key data to establish best practices, then get to work on sharing those changes with your teams.

Get the sales pipeline support you need

If you’re still wondering how to build a sales pipeline and what to do once it’s completed, you aren’t alone. Sales pipeline management requires skills, technology, and insight that don’t just appear out of thin air.

That’s why many businesses turn to a platform like Mindtickle’s revenue productivity platform that’s so much more. From sales enablement and training to analytics, dashboards, conversation intelligence, and more, this is your single home for all things sales.

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This post was originally published in May 2023 and was updated in March 2024. 

Conversation Intelligence Software: 7 Reasons Why Your Sales Team Needs Call Recording to Hit Revenue Targets 

Embracing a formal sales enablement function just isn’t advantageous – it’s transformative.

Orgs with a formal sales enablement function experience a 350% higher win rate and 50% higher quota attainment than those without. 

Orgs with a formal sales enablement function experience a

higher win rate
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Sales enablement is now an essential part of the sales ecosystem, influencing selling skills before, during and after buyer interactions to accelerate win rates and optimize the sales cycle as a whole.

Effective coaching is probably the single most powerful contribution sales leaders can make to their team’s success. And yet most managers have not been formally trained to coach, don’t dedicate enough time to it, or don’t have the necessary supporting tools to do it well.

Investing in conversation intelligence and call recording solutions is critical with the volume of calls and interactions during a typical sales cycle. These tools provide unparalleled access to what’s being discussed during deals and accelerate the manager’s ability to diagnose potential issues and coach through them effectively.

Key takeaways

  • Call recordings and conversation intelligence provide insights into why deals are won or lost, helping managers understand how to coach reps and improve seller productivity. 
  • Conversation intelligence identifies skill gaps, top performers’ winning behaviors, and onboards new reps more efficiently. 
  • Managers can use data-driven insights for coaching conversations with sales reps, and enablement teams can build personalized training programs at scale with the insights from conversation intelligence. 

7 reasons why investing in conversation intelligence software should be a priority

Conversation intelligence has become an invaluable component of sales productivity, giving visibility into a deal’s entire lifecycle. With insights from every sales call, sales leaders can identify trends, evaluate sellers’ performance, pinpoint strengths and weaknesses, and develop targeted coaching techniques to improve outcomes.

Understand the “why” behind lost deals

It’s critical to know why a buyer chose another solution or a deal went dark. Was the rep inadequately prepared? Did they use outdated messaging? Do they demonstrate subpar presentation or negotiation skills? Were they unable to sufficiently answer buyer questions or objections because they lacked product knowledge or competitive intelligence?

The possibilities behind the “why” are endless. Sales managers need these answers to understand what went wrong and how they can help sellers avoid making the same mistakes in future deals.

Mindtickle Call AI with conversation intelligence insights

Identify gaps and weaknesses in each seller’s skillset

From the get-go, conversation intelligence can help sales managers highlight skill gaps for both individual team members and the group in general. Analyzing snippets of crucial conversations can help managers provide their team members and the organization proof of what works, what areas need remediation, and where enablement can have a great impact.

Mindtickle Call AI product image of call snippet

Replicate the success of top-performing reps across your team

Sales reps love a winning, repeatable formula for success. Using conversation intelligence, you can easily understand what separates the best from the rest, getting detailed analytics about your team’s calls that help you identify and encourage winning sales behaviors. Providing sellers with real snippets of how successful reps handled similar situations can become great teaching opportunities.

Onboard new sellers faster

Instead of making new hires shadow an experienced rep, managers can save and share the best examples of real-world cold calls, objection handling and other best practices in easily accessible call libraries. New sales hires can listen to the recordings to pick up on best practices, learn from the mistakes of others, and see firsthand how prospects interact with salespeople.

“Coach the coach” based on data that shows the greatest areas of need

While a conversation intelligence platform helps managers pinpoint coaching opportunities to improve individual outcomes productivity, and sales leadership can also pair conversation intelligence data with readiness programs to provide individualized guidance about the greatest areas of need for each rep – giving managers a blueprint to coach more effectively.

Develop a personalized enablement program using data-driven insights

Sales enablement teams can use trends and gaps identified from conversation recordings to create a sales training and readiness calendar. As an example, analyzing call recordings can show reps foundering on competitive talk tracks or confusing prospects with their explanation of the pricing model. These can be two topics for the enablement and readiness team to add to an upcoming training calendar.

Improve your go-to-market strategy

Analyzing call recordings can reveal actionable insights that extend across the organization. Sales managers can share snippets of recordings and statistics with marketing, giving the team direct insight into the voice of the buyer to help inform priorities, campaigns, messaging and future investments. Listening to calls can show sales enablement and product marketing how prospects respond to talk tracks and sales collateral, giving them visibility into how they could improve messaging or training to better align with the prospect’s needs.

Using conversation intelligence to close the loop

Conversation intelligence gives managers the tools and information they need to optimize sellers’ short-term and future performance.

Managers can analyze key interactions to gauge the progress of deals, uncover buyer sentiments, and determine appropriate next steps to build or maintain momentum within individual sales cycles.

Using AI-based call scoring, managers can compare individualized strengths and weaknesses against best practices. Managers can use conversation snippets to highlight demonstrated skills vs. areas for improvement and then automatically prescribe coaching, training and practice–focused on areas of need.

Conversation intelligence gives managers direct insight into the buyer experience and point of view so they can analyze responses to sales and marketing programs, informing new iterations with data-backed evidence.

A truly successful enablement program will close the loop, powering a continuous cycle of analysis, skill development, coaching and assessment to drive ongoing sales excellence. Conversation intelligence solutions power this continuous loop, delivering benefits across the organization:

  • Salespeople can correct mistakes, increasing productivity and positive business outcomes
  • Managers have significant visibility into how salespeople perform during live interactions
  • Deals are won against more poorly prepared competitors
  • Deal sizes increase as salespeople can more effectively capitalize on every opportunity
  • Best practices are easy to identify, share and replicate
  • More people make or exceed quota, decreasing churn and improving performance against revenue targets
  • Up-to-date messaging helps sales teams improve deal outcomes
  • Key business initiatives succeed because they’re informed by critical field-based evidence

Using a conversation intelligence solution like Call AI empowers your sales team with actionable insights into why deals are won or lost and how to prepare sellers and teams better to succeed. 

Conversation intelligence in Mindtickle

Learn more about how Mindtickle's Call AI conversation intelligence solution helps sellers become more productive and close more deals.

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This blog was originally published in May 2021 and was updated in February 2024. 

The Ultimate Guide to Sales Forecasting

Sales forecasting is foundational for any revenue organization. With accurate forecasting, sales teams can make smarter decisions about revenue generation factors, including goal-setting, budgeting, hiring, and prospecting.

But all too often, sales forecasts aren’t accurate. In fact, Gartner found that less than half (45%) of sales leaders have high confidence in their forecast accuracy.

According to Gartner Research

of sales leaders have high confidence in their forecast accuracy
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Furthermore, per the Chief Revenue Officer + Sales Leader Outlook Report, over a third (34%) of sales organizations cite inaccurate forecasts and limited predictability in the business as one of their top challenges.

Inaccurate forecasting can negatively impact your entire organization – both in the short- and long-term. As such, revenue teams must have the right forecasting processes and tools in place to ensure more accurate forecasts.

In this post, we’ll look at what sales forecasting involves and why it’s often a struggle for revenue organizations. We’ll also share top tips and best practices to increase the accuracy of your sales forecasts. We’ll cover:

What is sales forecasting?

Sales forecasting is the process of predicting revenue for a certain period of time. It drives helps you understand where you’re off base. It also helps you find risks in your pipeline so you can correct them and close more deals.

Effective forecasting requires certain elements such as:

Consistency brings predictability. If your sales process and practices change every quarter, you’ll struggle to get correct data to create an accurate forecast. Consistent processes can even help make up for CRM data hygiene issues (though keeping your data clean is far better!).

If you’re transparent with your numbers and calls throughout your organization, everybody will have a better idea of where your business stands. Transparency works as a great behavior change mechanism for sales reps, as it gives them visibility into your numbers, how you got to them, and the next steps to follow to hit them.

Different segments in your business require different forecasting methods to reflect specific sales motions. If you use a one-size fits all approach to your forecasting, you’ll lose valuable insights and data from specific processes, and your forecasting will be limited.

Using multiple forecasting models brings you further insights and better results while helping you map out your numbers more effectively.

Following the idea of using multiple models to get accurate forecasts, here are some of the most common forecasting methods:

Pipeline forecasting method

This is a highly data-reliant method, which makes it one of the most accurate forecasting tools. It assesses the likelihood that a deal will close after analyzing company information like opportunity value and your rep’s win rate.

It can be quite straightforward if you’re using a program that automatically provides you with correct real-time data relevant to your forecasting, boosting its accuracy and helping you understand where everything is in your business. However, if the data you’re providing isn’t accurate or updated, this method will provide zero value to your organization, as it will only give you inaccurate and incomplete forecasting.

Intuitive forecasting

This method is based on your reps’ opinion of their ability to close a deal in a specific time, excluding objective data. The thinking behind this is that your reps are the ones working directly with your prospects, and, as such, they should be able to give you an accurate assessment of their chances of closing the deal.

However, this method is very risky and inconsistent. It’s an approach you can’t scale or unify, and the calculations you get will be different depending on how each of your sales reps is forecasting. Another downfall is that your reps’ forecasts can be quite optimistic — especially if they feel pressure to hit their quotas — and you may end up with forecast numbers far higher than you’re likely to reach.

Historical forecasting

This method is quick and easy, relying on past data to help you forecast. You look at the revenue generated at a specific time and assume that the revenue you’ll make for that matching period will be equal or greater.

This method doesn’t consider seasonality or changes in your buyers’ demand. In an economy where markets change constantly, this can be a questionable method to base your forecasting on. Still, it’s great to help you understand how your business is doing compared to previous quarters or years.

Opportunity stage forecasting

This method also relies heavily on historical data and it works by analyzing how far your prospects are along your pipeline and calculating the chances of the deal closing. This also helps you estimate the rates of success for the different stages of your pipeline.

Despite this method being quite data-driven, it doesn’t account for specific features of every deal, such as the size of the deal or how long the prospect has been in your pipeline. This means this calculation can bring you the same chances of closing a deal with a lead in your pipeline for two weeks or with one who’s been there for three months. If you don’t get high-quality, updated data, your forecast can be highly inaccurate.

Multivariable analysis forecasting

This is considered one of the most accurate forecasting methods. It analyzes different variables such as rep performance, the average length of a sales cycle, and the probability of closing a deal based on the specific opportunity.

This method is tailored to your organization’s systems and processes but requires detailed, accurate data. Your reps should ensure they’re keeping their data up-to-date, and better still, you should employ an advanced revenue intelligence solution.

Salesforce - Revenue Intelligence

Length of sales cycle forecasting

This method looks at how long a lead takes to convert into a paying customer. It encompasses data from different sales cycles, depending on their age and size, so you can group each deal type by average sales cycle duration.

This works well if your prospects are being tracked through your pipeline and your records are accurate. Conversation intelligence tools can help you record and analyze prospect interactions while ensuring your reps aren’t spending too much time inputting data.

Mindtickle Call AI with conversation intelligence insights

Challenges to accurate forecasting

Whatever method you use, producing highly accurate forecasts can be tough, and there are lots of challenges that can make it even more difficult:

Any company changes to systems, processes, or policies will affect sales. For example, if you implement new policies dealing with commissions or discounts, your revenue will likely fluctuate until things settle down. You must account for these details to get a highly accurate forecast.

When employees leave or are fired, revenue decreases until your new hires are ready to start closing deals. This too affects your forecasting.

Markets are always changing and it’s important to keep up to date with market and industry changes to get an accurate forecast. Seasonality also enters the game when it comes to market changes, as some services or products are in high demand at a certain time of the year.

When things are looking bright and the economy is strong, buyers are more likely to increase their budgets and spend more. When the economy isn’t looking its best, the sales cycle takes longer, and buyers are likely to need more reassurance before committing. They may also push harder for lower prices.

Whatever your competitors do affects you and your sales. If they lower their prices, your team will have to find a way to compete. If they go out of business, you may see an influx of new customers. Watch your competitors closely when you’re compiling your forecasting data.

Salespeople tend to be overly optimistic about closing a deal and with only 43% of reps hitting their targets, it’s easy to see how this can negatively impact your forecasting.

If you’re introducing new features, products, or pricing plans, your reps may be able to close more deals or close them faster.

7 steps to get started with sales forecasting

Let’s look at how to get started on the right foot with sales forecasting:

  1. Lay out a sales process your team can follow. When you have a detailed and consistent system in place, and everybody knows about it, it’s far easier for your reps to hit their quota, improving your forecasting accuracy.
  2. Set individual and team quotas. Working alongside sales leaders and reps to establish your ideal quotas is very important for your business’s long-term success and it substantially informs your sales forecasting.
  3. Budget for good softwareCustomer Relationship Management (CRM) tools can help your reps track opportunities and close deals better by giving them an accurate database. Revenue operations & intelligence software analyzes your team’s activities and deals, making your forecasting more accurate and efficient.
  4. Pick a sales forecasting method that works for you. Review the different forecasting methods. You need to make sure you pick one that works for the specifics of your business needs, capabilities, and goals.
  5. Use comprehensive data. When you include data from marketing, product, and finance, you get a better insight into your business situation, which helps you get more accurate forecasting. This can include automatically pulling data from every call and email transcript, as well as calendar invite data, to ensure the right title and number of contacts on an account have accepted invitations recently.
  6. Review previous sales forecasts. Compare current data with past data helps you notice any trends or discrepancies, which in turn helps you adjust your business plans effectively and get accurate data for your forecasting.
  7. Inform your sales teams and keep them accountable. Any changes you make to your system need to be communicated to your teams so they can be on the same page as you and understand how the changes affect them. Gather feedback from your team regularly also helps you see what works and what needs to be improved to make sure everybody is working to the best of their ability.

Sales forecasting best practices

Once you’ve looked at the steps above, you might want to consider the best practices within the industry. These are easy to follow, and implementing them from the get-go will save you some headaches in the future. Some of these best practices include making sure you’re prioritizing the processes and deals that need it most, standardizing all your processes, getting access to high-quality data, inspecting your deals regularly, and involving stakeholders from all departments within your team.

Some useful tips to hit the ground running when it comes to forecasting are:

End manual data entry

Revenue intelligence and forecasting tools complete data entry tasks faster and more accurately than your reps, freeing their time to do more beneficial things for your business.

Consolidate your tech stack

If you consolidate all your software into a unified platform, you’ll be saving your reps time by giving them easy access to all the information they need — and you’ll be saving yourself money by getting all the services you need in one place.

Create better buyer experiences

The right software gives you the right information about your prospects at the right time, helping you deliver a truly personalized experience and enhancing the likelihood of getting repeat orders from your customers over and over again. Consider solutions that allow you to see whether sales methodologies like BANT or CHAMP are being followed, whether or not sales reps are creating Digital Sales Rooms personalized to customers to share content, and what’s actually happening in emails and on calls.

Sales forecasting mistakes to avoid

Accurate sales forecasting helps you drive revenue and business growth, but there are some things to avoid if you want to make sure you’re getting the most out of your data, such as:

  • Relying on input from sellers. Some forecasting methods rely too heavily on sales reps to give you predictions about current deals, which is entirely subjective and often inaccurate.
  • Thinking of your forecast as an isolated process. Forecasting must be executed with an all-encompassing approach that includes all departments and key players in your organization.
  • Relying on intuition. Intuition isn’t data-driven and, as such, it doesn’t have a lot of value for your forecasting.

Improve your revenue operations with artificial intelligence

Sales forecasting is much easier and more accurate when you have the right data, and the easiest, quickest way to get that is by using artificial intelligence (AI). But it’s not just about better forecasting — the benefits extend across your sales organization:

Optimized revenue at every level

AI can bring all your revenue data together and turn it into complete visibility into the sales process so you can discover pipeline risks, improve operational efficiency, boost win rates, and drive predictable growth.

Increased sales team productivity

Data-driven AI software helps your sales reps get tailored coaching opportunities from their line managers. It gives your managers insights into every call, email, or meeting, helping them identify deal blockers for their sales team. This improves the productivity and efficiency of your salespeople and empowers them to close more deals faster.

Pipeline visibility and operational efficiency

Another perk of AI forecasting software is that it automatically analyzes your data to tell you where your pipeline is growing or decreasing, helping you take the right next steps. It also reduces the need for manual input, allowing your rev ops team to focus on maximizing your revenue and impact.

Unification of your tech stack

Having everything you need automatically and accurately collected in one platform makes everyone’s job easier. Good AI forecasting software brings everything you need into one single dashboard, helping your team access relevant information without having to log into different platforms. (We found out that 51% of sales leadership professionals indicated they were using 10 or more tools.)

Bottom line: Data-driven AI software is a great tool to get highly accurate forecasting, drive your business’s growth, and keep your teams efficient and motivated.

Mindtickle helps you boost your revenue by offering you full visibility into your business’s health while giving you and your teams all the information you need in one single platform.

Sales Forecasting with Mindtickle

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This post originally published in February 2023 and was updated in February 2024. 

5 Essential Sales Productivity Tools to Boost Sales Team Performance 

In 2022, only 26% of sales reps reached 90% or more of their quota. That’s not a very successful win rate, especially when you consider the immense amount of money many sales organizations invest in tools that are meant to improve sales productivity. In fact, 28% of sales organizations use 10 or more sales tools to help reps get the job done. So the question is, what types of sales productivity tools actually drive a return and successfully help sales teams reach their quotas?

What is sales productivity?

Simply put, sales productivity is how efficient and effective your sales executives are at hitting various revenue milestones and goals. Of course, just because reps make more calls and send more emails does not necessarily mean they are progressing sales or generating revenue.

At Mindtickle, we define a sales productivity tool as anything that improves and measures the skills, will, and in-field behaviors demonstrated by reps.

That might include tools that hold reps accountable, such as email and call activity tracking; those that empower reps to better prepare for meetings and follow-up, such as Content Management Systems (CMS); and solutions that arm reps with insights that help them drive specific deals and accounts forward more effectively.

After reading this post, you’ll be able to understand:

  • The advantages the right sales productivity tools can provide to your company
  • The essential solutions and features to look out for when improving sales productivity at your company
  • The top five sales productivity tool “must haves”
  • Our recommendations and best practices

Why are sales productivity tools important for your business?

The most powerful benefit of sales productivity tools is that they help reps win more business by holding reps accountable, saving them time, and helping them deliver a better, faster customer experience.

This has a butterfly effect that improves revenue metrics like quota attainment, pipeline coverage, number of at bats, average contract value, average cycle time, and even the lifetime value of your customers.

At the same time, these tools align cross-functional members of revenue teams by providing a high degree of transparency and visibility while centralizing access to things like content, training, and insights.

With sales productivity tools, your team can do things like:

  • Search for potential buyers to set meetings with them
  • Grow, develop, and convert sales opportunities throughout the sales cycle
  • Understand areas of opportunity to improve their performance
  • Do more with less time and facilitate better hand-offs or deal collaboration
  • Access content and insights that can help move deals forward faster and personalize the customer experience
  • Learn from the winning attitudes and skills of top peers
  • Keep up-to-date on new strategies, product launches, competitors, and market approaches
  • Keep track of activity, pipeline, and progress toward goals

Modern sales productivity tools make your entire sales process more simple, measurable, and effective. This can result in benefits like:

  • Faster onboarding and revenue contribution
  • More opportunities in the pipeline
  • Higher conversion and win rates
  • Improved performance against competitors
  • Better understanding of winning playbook
  • Increased renewal rates
  • Improved rep performance and retention
  • Improved forecasting
  • Tighter alignment around customer needs

And now, here are the top five sales productivity tool benefits:

1. Manual data entry & note-taking is eliminated

In 2023, the days of manually inputting deal data into Salesforce and trusting it’s correct are dead. This not only wastes a lot of time and often results in a complete, inaccurate view of your sales pipeline, but it also gravely reduces your organization’s ability to compete by limiting access to voice of customer insights.

It’s critical to invest in tools like revenue and conversation intelligence that automatically transcribe every call, email, and meeting while scoring deal health. In fact, a report from the Sales Enablement Society showed that teams that use conversation intelligence drive a 9% improvement in churn rates and close 4% more net new deals.

These tools also help reps self-coach by proactively flagging any deal risks, issues with buyer sentiment, or competitor mentions that need to be addressed to move deals forward faster. As reps move into new roles or leave the company, it’s much easier to ensure no deal or account falls through the cracks by facilitating best-in-class hand-offs.

2. Personalized customer experience

To improve sales productivity, it’s critical that reps can quickly find relevant content to nurture leads, follow up with prospects in a timely manner, and convince important decision-makers of the value your products provide.

Today, half of all customer engagement only comes from only 10% of content created. That’s why investing in a sales content management system, or CMS, that helps reps know what content is new, suggested, and preferred by peers is key to boosting customer engagement and wins. The ideal content management system to improve sales productivity helps reps know what content they can use to drive a deal forward without even thinking.

Ideally, it will be integrated with your conversation and revenue intelligence solutions so that the system can suggest valuable assets to reps based on what was said in previous emails and calls, such as a competitor mention.

At the same time, your CMS should include a feature like Digital Sales Rooms to help reps personalize the buyer experience and understand which assets buyers viewed or shared. Since improving pipeline is critical to sales productivity, DSRs automatically identify new potential leads who visit and automatically upload them to your CRM so they can be nurtured through marketing programs.

Girl in a jacket

3. Valuable voice of the market and financial insights

Since it’s a given that today’s inside sales teams must use a tool to email and call prospects en masse, such as Outreach.IO, we’re not going to put that on our list of must-haves. But sending emails and making calls is not enough in 2023. Every interaction must provide value and be highly personalized.

There are lots of ways to do this at scale. The first is to use a tool like Databook to uncover market and financial insights that will truly help your reps know which accounts to prioritize and what business challenges your solution will need to solve for them. These insights can help you write emails that inspire urgency, build better proposals, and make ROI-driven business cases.

When paired with tools like conversation and revenue intelligence that summarize key themes discussed in calls and emails that you can reference in follow-ups, as well as suggest next steps or action items, reps can quickly ensure they’re doing the right things to drive deals home.
Insights on buyer engagement, such as whether reps have the right volume and title of prospects accepting their meetings and responding to emails, are also crucial to ensuring reps focus on truly winnable deals and don’t waste time.

4. Opportunities to practice and self-coach

In today’s highly dynamic and competitive markets, a traditional approach to enablement does not drive sales productivity on its own. Reps need to be able to quickly learn best practices from peers, practice, and improve on their own.

Another way conversation intelligence solutions can improve sales productivity is by providing reps with access to call snippets and playlists of best practice calls. Organizations can build playlists around key competencies such as discovery calls, objection handling, how to lead the perfect demo, competitor smackdowns, pricing/negotiation, and more. They also share examples of what top reps do and say on calls about new products and services.

Girl in a jacket
At the same time, these tools provide immediate feedback to reps on how they compare to peers. Some of the best conversation intelligence insights reps can use to self-coach include understanding if they’re driving a customer monologue of a minute or more, measuring if they’re getting customers to ask or answer 12-14 questions, and trying to maintain a balanced talk time where reps speak 60% of the time or less.

5. Scale and measure coaching

Last but certainly not least, it’s critical that you not only provide sales productivity tools for reps, but also for your front-line managers. One of the biggest challenges they face is they cannot find the time to coach and get pulled into too many different directions. When they do have time to show up for 1-to-1s and offer coaching, they do not often have valuable, highly relevant data on how to help each rep and simply resort to doing deal reviews on the fly.

This is not productive, and it does not scale.

Instead, managers need sales productivity tools to run an end-to-end coaching workflow and measure performance improvement over time.

At Mindtickle, our coaching workflow starts with conversation and revenue intelligence. Every day, our managers can see exactly which deals are healthy or not, as well as a detailed snapshot of all of the calls, emails, and meetings associated with that deal. They can then show up to 1-to-1s more prepared to have a conversation about how healthy a rep’s pipeline really is, and where they might be able to offer deal-specific support.

At the same time, our enablement team provides managers with a detailed report on which skills and competencies their team and individual reps need to develop each quarter. This data is provided via our Sales Readiness Index, which is a comprehensive way to benchmark which reps have the skills, will, and demonstrated in-field behaviors they need to drive deals home – or not.

Girl in a jacket

Based on data like the Sales Readiness Index, our managers can see how reps compare to their peers on a wide range of competencies, such as buyer engagement, outreach activity, objection handling, competitor win rates, and more. By comparing how reps perform on various competencies to the ideal rep profile we’ve created for each role on our revenue team, managers can know exactly who to coach on what topics without much thinking.

They can then immediately create and track the coaching was complete. Or, they can sort and filter through a list of recent calls to provide more comprehensive feedback on specific interactions with call scorecards.

At the same time, they can closely collaborate with our enablement and revenue operations teams by helping them understand which reps are ready to hit quota or not, and where they can provide cross-functional support.

What are some of the best sales productivity tools?

Clearly, sales productivity tools can deliver significant benefits to both sellers and sales managers. With the right tools, your entire sales team can be more effective and efficient. In other words, sellers can close more deals – and do so faster.

Today, there are many tools available that promise to boost sales productivity. But no two sales productivity tools are the same.

Which sales productivity tools are the best for your business? There’s no easy answer. It’s important to determine your goals and challenges when it comes to sales productivity. Then, you must find the sales productivity tools that best suit your unique needs and goals.

The truth is, there’s no “one-size-fits-all” sales productivity tool. However, the following are some of the most popular sales productivity tools on the market today.


Often, organizations purchase myriad solutions that address a single challenge related to sales productivity. However, a better approach is to adopt an integrated solution that addresses several of the common challenges related to sales productivity. Integrated tools like Mindtickle drive sales productivity in a number of ways – without requiring sellers to switch between different, disparate tools.

Mindtickle incorporates conversation and revenue intelligence, which record and transcribe calls while scoring deal health. This means sellers don’t have to take notes during calls; they can pay attention to the meeting itself. In addition, sales managers can leverage analysis of call recordings to determine where a sales rep might need additional training and coaching.

Mindtickle also incorporates sales content management. Sellers can easily find the content they need for any selling scenario. That way, they can spend less time searching, and more time actually selling.

Mindtickle’s integrated sales productivity platform includes many other features and functionalities that boost sales productivity. For example, sales reps can use Mindtickle to practice skills and unlock self coaching opportunities on their own time. Sales managers can also leverage Mindtickle to deliver personalized coaching to sales reps and measure how (or whether) their efforts are improving seller productivity and sales performance.

Other sales productivity tools

A few additional, top sales productivity platforms include:

Salesforce is one of the most popular CRMs in the world. The platform incorporates myriad features that increase sales productivity.

This is an AI-powered workflow platform. Sellers that use it are able to close more deals, and sales managers are able to more effectively coach sales reps.

Calls and emails aren’t always the most productive forms of outreach. With LinkedIn Sales Navigator, sales reps can tap into LinkedIn to engage buyers and increase sales productivity.

Outreach is a sales productivity platform that enables SDRs and other sales team members to engage prospects throughout the sales cycle. With Outreach, sellers can automate their outreach processes – which means they can achieve more in less time.

This tool sheds light on market and financial insights that help reps know which accounts to prioritize and what their business challenges are. Sales reps can spend less time researching and more time creating and articulating solutions.

Our recommendations and best practices

Now that we’ve covered five benefits of sales productivity tools, we’ve got a few recommendations and best practices to share.

Centralize tools & simplify the rep experience

Not all tools are created equal, but it’s important that you keep simplifying the sales rep experience in mind.

That’s why we believe centralizing and consolidating as many tools as possible is the best way to help drive sales rep productivity, as well as get more out of your tool investments. That means everything related to onboarding, training, ongoing coaching, content, and access to voice of customer or performance insights should ideally be in one place.

Doing so also provides you with a single data model to understand sales readiness and performance, as well as a single model for compliance and security.

Increase cross-functional collaboration

Driving sales productivity is the responsibility of every single division at your company – not just sales. That means teams like product and marketing need frontline access to the valuable insights gauged from your sales interactions, such as competitor mentions or product feedback requests. At the same time, in modern-day sales, you need to ensure that your entire revenue team, including BDRs, sales, SEs, and CSMs are working together to understand deal or account health and drive those opportunities home.

Ensure that whatever solution you are using is standardized across your revenue org with a focus on providing the utmost transparency into what’s really going on with key accounts and deals.

Improve visibility into what top performance looks like

Sales productivity is simply impossible if all of the roles on your team aren’t crystal clear about what success looks like in their role. If I have no way of knowing if I’m saying, showing, and doing the right things, how can I improve? If I don’t understand how my emails, calls, and the way I engage prospects and customers compare to my peers, how will I even know what to do better next time?

That’s why your sales productivity tools must provide the utmost clarity on what best-in-class performance looks like during every interaction and stage of your sales process.

Sales Productivity in action

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This post was originally published in January 2023 and was updated in February 2024. 

10 Revenue Productivity Stats CROs Can’t Afford to Ignore

It’s no secret that 2023 was a challenging year. While 2024 is bound to have its fair share of challenges, many sales leaders have kicked off the new year feeling cautiously optimistic.

How exactly will these sales leaders approach the year ahead?

Recently, we surveyed more than 750 sales leaders to get a better idea of what’s happening in their world. The results shed light on sales leaders’ top priorities and key challenges. We also gained insight into how sales organizations leverage technology – including revenue intelligence and artificial intelligence – to drive sales effectiveness and efficiency.

Here, we share 10 powerful stats curated from this survey.

#1: 64% of C-suite executives say sales funnel performance visibility is their main challenge

In addition, 62.5% of those with VP and SVP titles also cite sales funnel performance as their top challenge.

According to Mindtickle research

of VPs and SVPs say its their main challenge
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#2: 64% of VPs and SVPs cite a lack of benchmarks as a top challenge

Maintaining sales funnel health is a common challenge across all industries. However, the reasons why vary by industry.

For example, for those in the technology, financial services, and consumer goods industries, limited visibility is a greater challenge. This makes sense, as 64% of VPs and SVPs cite a lack of benchmarks as a top challenge.

On the other hand, the main contributing factor in the manufacturing and healthcare/pharmaceuticals industries is limited predictability and inaccurate forecasting.

Regardless of industry, increasing visibility into sales should be a top priority. Conversation intelligence is a powerful tool for gaining greater visibility.

Sales organizations can analyze calls from different sales process stages to identify benchmarks for winning behaviors. Then, sales managers can deliver skills-centric coaching to help reps hone those behaviors.

#3: Most companies have less than 100% visibility into deal outcomes

The exact figure varies widely by industry.

For example, 36% of those in the financial services sector have 100% visibility into deal outcomes. That’s the case for 40% in the healthcare/pharma space and a mere 13.5% in the technology sector.

100% deal outcome visibility by industry

Financial services
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0 %
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This lack of visibility is problematic. After all, understanding the outcomes of business deals – and then implementing risk mitigation strategies – is essential for long-term success.

If your company has lower deal visibility, consider implementing tools or processes that provide better insights into the nuances of deal outcomes. That way, you can make more informed decisions and increase the likelihood of closing deals.

#4: Nearly 59% of organizations flag at-risk deals to managers

When managing deals, it’s common to face uncertainties. There are several strategies for navigating these uncertainties. One such strategy is flagging at-risk deals to sales managers.

Having the right tools in place is essential to identify at-risk deals. That way, managers can provide coaching and support to help sellers overcome challenges – and close more deals.

#5: 84% of organizations invest in a sales enablement function

A solid sales enablement strategy ensures sellers are always prepared for any deal that comes their way. When it’s done well, sales enablement can have a significant, measurable impact on sales outcomes.

It’s no wonder most organizations are investing in a sales enablement function.

If you’re not already, now’s the time to prioritize sales enablement. Investing in sales enablement teams and technology can transform selling behaviors – and significantly boost sales performance.

#6: Only 40% of C-level executives can identify strengths and weaknesses for customized training

Organizations recognize the impact of sales enablement. However, many continue to take a one-size-fits-all approach to sales enablement. At these organizations, enablement teams develop and deliver one-time training to all reps, regardless of whether or not they need it.

This approach isn’t effective. Instead, organizations must deliver personalized, ongoing training and enablement that addresses the needs of each sales rep.

The first step is to create competency profiles (Ideal Rep Profiles or IRPs) for each of the roles on your revenue team. IRPs outline the skills and competencies necessary for success in each role. Then, measure your reps against these IRPs to identify strengths and weaknesses. Sales leadership can then deliver training, enablement, and coaching to help each rep hone weaker skills and improve sales performance.

Ideal rep profile competencies

#7: 76% of revenue teams expect AI to significantly affect their day-to-day jobs over the next year

The vast majority of revenue organizations are embracing AI to boost productivity. In fact, a mere 24% aren’t currently using AI tools.

Of course, some industries are leaning into AI more than others. Unsurprisingly, the technology industry leads the charge, with around a 93% adoption rate. The healthcare/pharma industry lags much further behind, with an adoption rate shy of 47%.

Adoption of AI tools by industry

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If you’re not already, now’s the time to incorporate AI into your 2024 strategy to boost seller performance. Chances are, your competitors are already tapping into AI to increase efficiency.

Regardless of your industry, be sure you’re aligned with your information security team to understand your AI requirements regarding tool usage. Be sure to communicate these requirements to your revenue teams regularly.

#8: 58% of revenue organizations leverage AI to analyze call recordings

Analyzing call recordings is the most common AI use case among those we surveyed. That’s not surprising. AI is a great tool for streamlining mundane, manual tasks like this that take a lot of time.

However, the power of AI extends beyond summarization.

Today, winning revenue organizations look beyond AI’s most obvious use case to identify more strategic, sophisticated applications. For example, some revenue organizations leverage AI to analyze data – and make smart recommendations based on that data to improve seller performance.

#9: In the tech industry, 54% of respondents achieve 90% of quota and have 10 or more tools in their current sales tech stack

On the other hand, 75% of companies in the consumer goods sector are reaching 50% of their quota, and 72% use fewer than 10 pieces of sales tech.

There’s a strong correlation between quota attainment and a company’s level of digital transformation. Industries that are leaders in digital transformation – such as the tech sector – exhibit the highest quota achievement rates.

Of course, just because a tool has been purchased doesn’t mean it’s actively used by sales reps regularly. A trend we found in our survey data is that the percentage of tools in the tech stack exceeds those actively used daily.

Evaluate your existing tech stack to ensure alignment with operational needs. By optimizing the tech stack, you’ll increase user adoption and maximize tool utility.

Finally, be sure to grow your tech stack responsibly. Rather than purchasing several “one-off” solutions, invest in fully integrated solutions that centralize impact in a rep’s flow of work.

#10: Nearly 20% of C-suite respondents are considering implementing revenue intelligence tools

Today, most people in various sales roles have embraced revenue intelligence and forecasting tools. In fact, most respondents have invested in a revenue intelligence and forecasting tool beyond their CRM. This makes sense, as RI tools provide myriad benefits, including improving sales funnel performance, increasing visibility for teams and reps, scoring deal health, and providing actionable insights through dashboards.

Even the C-suite recognizes the strategic importance of these tools, with nearly 20% considering implementing them. This stat highlights the growing recognition of the importance of RI tools – even at the highest levels of an organization.

The message is clear: now is the time to adopt comprehensive revenue intelligence tools that go beyond traditional CRMs.


2024-2025 CRO Outlook Report

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I’m an AE at Mindtickle. Here’s How I Use it to Close More Deals.

We wanted to talk to one of our sellers to find out how they use Mindtickle daily. Our very own Jacob Cawsey – a former professional soccer player – sat down with us to talk about why conversation intelligence is similar to watching game tape, how he learns from top sellers, the simplicity of using Mindtickle’s unified platform for training and forecasting, and how he works with his manager to handle at-risk deals.

Q: You used to be a high-level athlete. How is using conversation intelligence tools similar to athletes watching game tapes?

As you know, I always see conversation intelligence as an athlete watches the tape back. It’s a super powerful tool. It needs to be complemented with other things to maximize the potential of that piece of software and me as a seller.

But no matter if it’s a BDR, listening back to calls, whatever it may be – discovery calls, negotiation calls, demos – it’s a great way to look back and say to yourself, “Let’s take the AE hat off now. Let’s look at coaching myself.” There’s a huge upside to being your own coach. You sometimes think that objection handling came across a lot smoother than it actually did. You discover stuff you might have missed on the original call, and you can learn from that.

Q: How do you make the most of listening to other sellers’ conversations?

We have fantastic sellers here, and access to their conversations is super helpful. Listening to these calls can be a lesson where I think, “I wish I’d have done that.” Sometimes, I’m unsure why sellers said something or responded in a certain way, so I’ll reach out and ask, “I saw you got asked this question. What was the thought process? Would you have done differently?”

It’s like a digital sales floor, where you still have that interaction you’d have in an office, but you have the data and the film to go back and watch. You can pick away strengths and weaknesses and sharpen your pencils.

Q: Tell us about a typical day using Mindtickle. 

At some selling orgs, the tech stack is all over the place. There’s one place to listen to calls, another to find training content, somewhere else for marketing collateral, and then another location for pricing content. Then you have somewhere else to share content and another app for forecasting. You’re more likely to drop the ball in that scenario because you are working in disjointed systems that aren’t giving you a cohesive view of what’s happening with a deal and a single place to take action. But having an easy-to-use platform like Mindtickle means you have one spot to review calls, forecasts, find content, train, get better, interact, etc.

On a typical day, I might submit my forecast, and I’ll also see I have a message from enablement saying I’ve got a piece of training to take. So I’ll take that while there. Then, I’ll see a few calls with prospects coming up, so I’ll update the digital sales room.

We recently had a new product training, and I completed the first part of an assessment that included quizzes and information checks. I then did some role-plays to verify I knew how to present that product. Because I passed that, I’m at the point where I’m doing Quests, which is reinforcement. So I’m starting to see questions on that product every 2-4 days, ensuring my answer is correct. If I answer a question wrong, the more I see it, so it helps me to retain the knowledge.

Q: How do you use sales calls to prep your solutions consultants?

A good example would be getting our solutions consultants up to speed by tagging them in relevant parts of sales calls. I let them know where they should double down in the demo or where to explore. I also look at questions that I couldn’t necessarily answer and then come up with a plan. When we meet, we’ve got the data, the “film,” and know what we’re doing to create a better buyer experience. We can’t waste [propsects’] time by going and asking the same questions.

Q: How has Mindtickle made forecasting simpler for you?

One of the luckiest parts of my job is how simple it is to forecast. The simplicity of using Mindtickle to see opportunities for this quarter, next quarter, whatever it may be. It’s so simple. I just need to input what I know about the deal, and then my leader can give their opinion. We can talk about it so I can get coached.

Salesforce - Revenue Intelligence

There’s also a layer of AI. For example, we just had a meeting where, afterward, someone went back into the digital sales room. I like having all that come into one funnel to say, “This is where the deals are, and this is what we need to do to progress it.” All I have to do is just keep those data fields up to date and work with my manager.

Those buckets of forecasting data can be anything from the next step to the last meeting, whatever it may be – and that can be quite opinionated, to a certain degree. I submit my forecast every week in about 30 minutes, which then rolls up to leadership. It’s so simple to use. It saves me time, but it gets me so much more out of my leadership.

Q: How do you use Mindtickle to tackle deal uncertainties?

You might hear during a call that budgets have been pushed back another quarter. We’re now looking at about three months from closing. Or you might hear that some decision-makers are leaning into competitor A. All of a sudden, you have a better chance because you now know there are some people you haven’t hit the homerun with. You can ask yourself, “Where can I do more?”

AI also looked at the last conversation and noted that the economic buyer mentioned her challenges. On top of that, there’s not been a meeting in two weeks, and the prospect is not going into the digital sales room as much. These aren’t necessarily the complete truths in that the deal will not happen, but AI will indicate that this deal is at risk.

So, instead of having to explain the whole situation, my boss and I can both look at what’s happening and talk. We see the deal is still within budget, but it’s just getting pushed back three months, which we heard straight from the economic buyer. We can see from the notes that Person A is the ultimate decision-maker; however, we know they take B and C’s opinions into perspective – and I understand why the AI is saying that.

For the next steps, we might send follow-up emails to the people who may be looking the other way to understand if there’s anything we’ve missed. We might drive them toward the digital sales room to see what they look at. It always gives you a way to make sure there’s no stone left unturned.

Putting it into action

Based on our chat with Jacob, here’s how you can use his experience with your own reps:

  • Incorporate conversation intelligence and encourage reps to use it as a self-coaching tool. Look at calls at every stage of a deal to identify opportunities for improvement in places like objection handling and communication skills.
  • Learn from your top sellers. Reach out to winning reps to understand how they handled specific challenges within a deal and share those learnings across the team. Look at it as a “digital sales floor” where collaboration helps sharpen strengths.
  • Get more efficient with Mindtickle. Streamline your reps’ daily tasks into one platform so they’re not working in disjointed systems. Build an easy and integrated experience where reps can forecast, engage in training, and prepare for next steps in every deal.

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23 Sales Productivity Statistics to Inform Your Enablement Strategy in 2024

In 2024, many sales organizations are focused on measuring and improving sales productivity. But what does that even mean?

What is sales productivity?

Simply put, sales productivity is how efficient and effective your sales reps are at hitting a variety of revenue milestones and goals. Of course, just because reps are making more calls and sending more emails does not mean they are necessarily progressing sales or generating revenue.

At Mindtickle, we define a sales productivity tool as anything that improves and measures the skills, will, and in-field behaviors demonstrated by reps.

That might include tools that hold reps accountable, such as email and call activity tracking; those that empower reps to better prepare for meetings and follow-up, such as Content Management Systems (CMS); and solutions that arm reps with insights that help them drive specific deals and accounts forward more effectively.

Read on to see some of the top sales productivity stats your organization must know and adapt to in 2024 & beyond.

Sales productivity stats & customer experience

  • The average enterprise B2B buying group consists of between five and 11 stakeholders, who represent an average of five distinct business functions. (Gartner B2B Buying Report).
  • Once you’re talking to a decision-maker, the ideal number of calls to win a sale is six. (Crunchbase)
  • 80% of sales occur after the fifth call.
  • The best time to make sales calls is within an hour of receiving their initial inquiry. (Callhippo)
  • Only 7 percent of companies respond within five minutes of a prospect’s form submission. But that can hurt you—35 to 50 percent of sales go to the company that responds first.
  • Although the number of buying interactions increases slightly every year (e.g., from 16 to 17 between 2017 and 2019), the number of buying interactions during the pandemic jumped from 17 to 27. – (Forrester’s 2021 B2B Buying Study).
  • 86% of sellers say they lost or delayed at least one deal in the past year because a key client stakeholder left the company. (LinkedIn State of Sales Report)

According to LinkedIn

of sellers say they lost a deal because a stakeholder left the company
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  • Almost 40% of sellers have closed deals over $500,000 without ever meeting the customer face to face. (LinkedIn)
  • ​​In B2B sales, 84% of buyers start the purchasing process with a referral. (Harvard Business Review)
  • Peer recommendations influence 90% of all B2B buying decisions. (Harvard Business Review)
  • Referred customers have an 18% percent lower churn rate than customers acquired through other sources.

Referred customers have a

lower churn rate than customers acquired through other sources.
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  • When consumers are acquired through referrals, they have a 37% higher retention rate, and they’re four times more likely to make a purchase.
  • 81% of sales reps say buyers are increasingly conducting their own research before reaching out. (Salesforce)
  • 87% of business buyers expect sales reps to act as trusted advisors. (Salesforce)
  • Buyers are 2.8 times more likely to make a purchase if there is a high level of information consistency between the vendor’s website and the vendor’s sales reps. (Gartner B2B Buying Report)

Sales productivity stats & rep time management

  • Sales reps spend a mere 28% of their week actively selling. (Salesforce )
  • 82% of top-performing salespeople always perform research prior to reaching out to prospects, compared to 49% of other sellers. (LinkedIn)
  • Three-quarters of sellers are doing “significantly more” or “more” research in the past 12 months. (LinkedIn)
  • On average, it takes eight cold calls to reach a prospect. (Crunchbase)

On average, it takes

to reach a prospect
-1 cold calls

Sales productivity stats for sales managers

  • 67% of sales managers say that overseeing a remote sales team is more challenging than they anticipated. (LinkedIn State of Sales Report).
  • The majority (71.4%) of sellers believe 50 percent of the prospects they speak with aren’t a good fit for the product or service they’re selling.

Sales productivity stats for sales enablement

  • Long-term training is important and—unfortunately—overlooked. 85 percent of reps report being coached on closing open deals, but only 24 percent report being coached on long-term skills.
  • Only 26% of sales professionals say they receive 1:1 coaching from their managers at least weekly. (Salesforce)
  • 90% of content is unused by sales. (American Marketing Association).

Sales productivity & technology usage

  • 63% of organizations have ten or more tools to support sales activities – but sellers incorporate fewer into their daily workflows. (Mindtickle).
  • 76% of organizations expect AI to significantly affect their day-to-day jobs over the next year. (Mindtickle)

Mindtickle research found that

of organizations expect AI to significantly affect their day-to-day jobs over the next year
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  • The most common use cases for AI to drive sales productivity include analyzing call recordings (58%), helping reps get answers to customer questions in the flow of work (54%), and serving up recommendations for training (51%). (Mindtickle)
  • Gartner predicts that by 2028, 60% of B2B seller work will be executed through conversational user interfaces via generative AI sales technologies.
    How to improve your sales team using these statistics:

How to improve your sales team using these statistics

Based on these stats, we’ve got some recommendations for you below. Here are some of the top ways to apply these stats to put changes in place that actually improve your sales team’s performance and productivity. 

  • Roll out an enablement program around multi-threading to different personas. Make sure every rep understands how to drive urgency and qualify every persona. Consider creating a laminated “desk buddy” for each persona to help reps multi-thread.
  • Use a revenue intelligence or conversation intelligence tool to score deal health and know with data if reps have engaged the right title and number of contacts.
Salesforce - Revenue Intelligence
  • Refine your BDR process so that you are picking up the phone and reaching out to leads who visit your website right away. Consider an automated and highly personalized chatbot.
  • Build a playbook for what reps do when a champion leaves the company, which is more likely to happen in the current economy.
  • Put a really detailed referral program in place to incentivize reps to ask for customer referrals and customers to provide them.
  • Build a playbook around when/how reps can add value with each persona they engage.
  • Automate note-taking and account hand-offs with conversation intelligence
  • Ensure you have an up-to-date cold calling process and playbook in place – cold calling is NOT dead!
  • Implement MEDPIC, BANT, or another sales methodology to ensure sales reps are qualifying prospects. Track that this process is being completed in your CRM.
  • Provide sales managers with detailed sales manager training on how to coach. Measure how many calls and deals they review and track that coaching was complete.
Salesforce- Coaching
  • Go beyond deal coaching to focus on skill development. In month one, focus on discovery. In month two, focus on perfecting the demo and telling powerful customer stories. In month three, focus on differentiating and handling objections.
  • Put a tool in place to ensure top-rated and most viewed/shared content is easy for reps to find. Make sure reps can provide two-way feedback on the content you’ve created so that you know what is truly driving deals forward and what reps find useful.
  • When possible, consolidate tools and prioritize tools that enable you to automate processes or access voice of customer insights that will help your reps uncover deal risks, better compete, and win more


Sales Productivity in Mindtickle

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This post was originally published in January 2023 and updated in January 2024.