Sales Motivation and Productivity Secrets From Aptean’s Mike Stensland

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Mike Stensland

Mike Stensland

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before …

By some amazing stroke of luck, one of your inside sales reps lands a monster deal and then decides to take a nap for the rest of the month. After crushing their quotas, reps sometimes see little reason to endure the daily grind of smiling and dialing.

Mike Stensland, vice president of inside sales at Aptean, has developed an effective strategy for handling this tricky sales motivation problem. Stensland sends a strong signal to his reps that effort is never optional.

“Activity is the foundation of our success,” Stensland says. “We have a minimum threshold for each type of call that each rep needs to make each month, and we place a dollar value on it. If they miss it, they will get dinged on their commissions.”

Stensland, who leads a team that is responsible for upsells and renewals of existing software contracts, sees a strong correlation between activity and success.

“Those reps who are the most active and have the best messaging on the phone are generally considered our top performers,” he says.

How do you measure sales productivity?

Stensland uses the following metrics, among others, to measure his inside sales team’s productivity:

Activity

  • Dials per day
  • Connects per day
  • Call talk time
  • Call types

Pipeline development

  • New opportunities created
  • Average deal size
  • Deals by stage
  • Deals by age
  • Revenue (monthly, quarterly, year-to-date)
  • Close rates
  • Forecasting accuracy
  • Average sales cycle length

What are your biggest inside sales challenges?

Stensland identified two major challenges facing today’s inside sales teams: finding the right people and keeping them focused on the right things.

“You can overcome a lot of shortcomings in technology and process, if you have the right people,” he says.

Aptean leverages sophisticated pre-hire assessments in its talent search.

Stensland says that after you have hired well, you need to ask: How can I eliminate distractions, obstacles and time wasters for my reps?

For example, it’s easy to get sucked into email traps or waste time on instant messaging. So he tells his reps to turn off their Outlook email at least an hour a day to bang out calls.

As simple as it sounds, success is often found in the small details.

“Inside sales is about streamlining your processes, making them efficient and repeatable, and driving continuous improvement,” Stensland says.

See how XANT accelerates sales through science in the video below.

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