What would you establish as the most important factor when it comes to running a successful sales operation? Phoneburner, a company that develops software for outbound sales teams, has a compelling answer: productivity.

Here’s the thing. There is a stark difference between being busy (most sales professionals are exceedingly busy) and being genuinely productive.

The problem stems from a host of time-intensive and repetitive tasks that come at the expense of live interactions with people—the precise activity that makes the proverbial “cash register” ring.

PhoneBurner has identified the following four areas of the sales cycle in which productivity optimization can produce the biggest wins.

  • Lead management
  • Sales Outreach
  • Relationship building
  • Administrative work

Brothers John and Paul Rydell, the founders of Phoneburner, developed a streamlined power dialing and sales acceleration platform to address these opportunities.

By reducing wasted effort and automating repetitive tasks, salespeople and client relationship managers can stay focused on the most valuable activities, enabling their companies to work more efficiently.

1. Lead management.

Leads are the lifeblood of sales. Whether a company is supplying leads to its sales team, the sales agents generate their leads, or a combination of the two, lead generation is too costly of a task for leads not to be managed efficiently and effectively.

Of course, distributing leads throughout a sales team is a time-consuming and error-prone process. Good leads slip through the cracks and go unworked. Leads get contacted one time and then wither on the vine. Managing thousands of leads is, well, challenging.

With the right software, you can eliminate these inefficiencies. You can distribute leads to agents according to “rules” that correspond to your sales process. You can automatically redistribute unworked leads so they don’t go cold. You can apply tags and perform queries to keep sales professionals working the right leads at the right time.

2. Sales outreach

Any salesperson will recognise that time is precious when it comes to outreach, especially when outreach is done over the phone.

Dialing dozens or hundreds of people a day is arduous and repetitive, with only a small fraction of dials resulting in a live answer. Dialer software has become an indispensable tool for sales agents. These agents know that dialing, wrong numbers, voicemail messages, note taking, and lead organization—while necessary—are the enemies of live conversations.

Software can streamline this entire outreach process. This streamlining enables you to reach and engage more contacts in less time, as well as be properly organized for follow-up.

However, in your search for the right system, be sure that gains in productivity don’t come at the expense of sales effectiveness. Dialer services that route live answers to available agents often produce an awkward pause that “tips off” contacts.

3. Follow-up and relationship building.

As a salesperson, you’ll recognise that personalisation is important for boosting the success you have with your leads. Personalisation is a factor that provides leads with trust that you’re taking the time to personally interact with them, as opposed to them just feeling like a lead in a sales funnel.

According to Rachel Barton, managing director of advanced customer strategy at Accenture Strategy, personalisation is key to success. She says, “When customers fully trust a company, they will impart huge amounts of personal and behavioural information, which can help brands build longer-term loyalty, as opposed to purely transactional relationships.”

Of course, personalised follow-up is time-consuming. It can interrupt phone outreach as well, forcing salespeople to halt their dialing activities or to add tasks that need to be performed later.

When looking for a system that manages client relationships for you, opt for one that can automate aspects of follow-up. By customizing your dialer, you can send personalized emails with specific messaging that reflects the actual outcome of the call. You can also track what happens after you send those emails, in order to enable highly personalised interactions with the most engaged contacts. Doing so is a powerful way to increase productivity.

4. Administrative tasks.

Opt for a system that enables you to record notes, schedule appointments, attach documents to contacts, and tag and organize leads directly from the platform. These features allow you to save time doing administrative tasks and to use the additional time elsewhere.

On average, small business owners lose four days out of the month due to completing administrative tasks. These are many hours that can be better placed elsewhere to grow, scale, and improve their businesses.

Additional opportunities.

While there are huge benefits to using software to streamline your business and workflows, there are even more opportunities for using it to improve sales.

When using a phone dialing service, look for features that allow calls to be tracked and recorded. These recordings can be referred back to when a client relationship progresses, help when training new staff, and even protect your business when a verbal agreement is decided. And of course, reporting gives managers insight into how agents are performing and helps them identify growth opportunities.