7 Sales Productivity Hacks to Help Grow Your Pipeline –– Even During a Downturn

When it comes to making it through tough times, hibernating bears just might be the ultimate experts.

They know winter’s arrival means cold temperatures, snow, and slim pickings on the food front. So, come autumn, they chow down on up to 20,000 calories per day, pack on the pounds, and settle into a self-made den just barely larger than their bodies (for maximum insulation, of course). 

Then, they lay low, survive on fat stores, and ride out the season.

As we continue to muscle our way through this precarious macroeconomic season, we could probably stand to take a few cues from our grizzly friends. 

After all, winter isn’t just coming for the SaaS world –– it’s here. And it’s accompanied by an onslaught of selling challenges. 

As business leaders scrutinize every dollar spent, fresh demand is hard to come by, and upselling and cross-selling are uphill battles. 

It’s also no secret that head count is taking a hit at virtually every tech company. That means fewer seats –– and smaller deal sizes –– on many software platforms.

Plus, the fundraising environment is tricky at best. Without adequate funding, some startups simply won’t be able to hack it –– meaning logos could start dropping altogether.

In short, it’s a need-to-have, not a nice-to-have world right now, and tech companies –– in SaaS and beyond –– are poised for a true survival-of-the-fittest moment.

And sure, part of your plan should probably be to make like a bear –– that is, hunker down and ride it out –– but you still want to drive new business along the way. 

Priming your pipeline in the midst of this storm will inevitably come down to how efficient and productive you can be as a sales team. 

Sales productivity –– or how effectively a sales team employs its resources and established ways of working to drive pipeline, revenue, renewals, and other company goals –– isn’t a new challenge.  But it’s been intensifying with the rise of organizational complexity and a never-ending list of business tech tools.  

Sales reps now spend two-thirds of their time on activities that aren’t directly related to selling. The top culprits? Dealing with emails, logging-related tasks, and inputting data and notes into the CRM.

Sales leaders are eager to trim this administrative fat and guide their teams toward improved performance. 80% of Sales Leaders strongly agree that increasing productive selling time over non-productive administrative tasks is a top priority, according to the Scratchpad State of RevOps 2023 survey.

As businesses bump up against today’s brutal economic environment and shelve risky decisions in favor of refining the basics, nailing foundational elements like productivity is non-negotiable for sales teams.

Tap into these seven hacks to fuel productivity across your sales team and, in turn, produce continued business growth –– or, at the very least, survival –– amid the belt-tightening happening at organizations everywhere.

Hack #1: Get ahead of knowledge gaps.

No one wants to be caught off guard with surprising –– and sometimes, unwelcome –– information. 

For example, when a sales rep learns mid-call that a prospect is going with a competitor because of a recent promotion or brand campaign, they’re left to scurry around behind the scenes to get the scoop from colleagues so they can appear to be in the know.

Preempt that fake-it-’til-you-make-it tango –– and ditch the inconvenient interruptions for the rest of the team –– by developing a library of relevant battle cards that provide rundowns on competitor details.

Scratchpad customers build these cards directly into the platform’s notetaking functionality, so reps have all sales enablement content at their fingertips. 

Rich formatting, and contextual notes and tags throughout each card ensure reps never have to waste time scrambling for information that would have been nice to know upfront.

Hack #2: Make sales a team sport.

Cross-team collaboration can be challenging, but more than 80% of reps say it helps them close more deals.

Nevertheless, many still have a haphazard approach to collaboration that plays out across a laundry list of communication tools (think: Slack, text messages, and video calling platforms).

With such a fragmented internal experience, how can everyone on the team –– from sales development reps to account executives to managers and beyond –– possibly keep up?

Shifting this communication onto a shared workspace like Scratchpad scraps any context shifting, allows for full-team visibility on relevant leads, accounts, and opportunities, and eliminates the headaches that inevitably come when teammates attempt to work in silos. Taking the hassle out of working together also frees up headspace for new, creative ideas.  

Beyond that, Scratchpad’s commenting and tagging functionality helps create connective tissue among team members on the backend, so prospects and customers get a seamless experience.

Hack #3: Be a coach, not a commentator.

It’s tempting to give reps the third-degree during deal reviews: Why is this information out of date? What’s happening with this deal? Isn’t that one further along? 

Sound familiar? 

Resist the urge to turn these meetings into interrogations. After all, productivity and, ultimately, business results aren’t typically products of micro-management; instead, they emerge from high-quality coaching.

The payoff of a thoughtful coaching program that drives genuine motivation is clear: Engaged employees are 43% more productive than those who are checked out.

If you have Scratchpad as your revenue workspace, you can use the platform to support coaching collaboration among managers and reps, track program results, and more. 

Plus, the product offers an intuitive, streamlined view of your rep’s pipeline where you can create conditional highlights and see updates reps have made. 

And since Scratchpad syncs directly with Salesforce, CRM data and information is always up to date. So, reps are guaranteed to be prepared for pipeline reviews –– and, as a result, you’ll have a dearth of details to nit-pick, anyway.

Hack #4: Let automations shoulder your mental load.

Given all the complexities at play with today’s deals, each member of a sales team is inevitably saddled with a very crowded brain. 

Unfortunately, you're left to knock down reps’ doors as you try to understand what's going on with deals and piece together where you'll actually land for the quarter.

Why spend time chasing down information when automations can do so much of the heavy lifting for you?

Scratchpad automations can alert reps when information is missing, send them reminders for various tasks, and nudge them on due dates. So your data becomes more complete, and there’s no pressure to retain and recall every detail and deadline. 

Notifications can come in via Slack or your Scratchpad inbox –– your choice. Get started with these 10 automations.

Hack #5: Take a (keyboard) shortcut.

How many tabs do you have open in your browser right now? 

If you’re like most sales professionals, you live and die by your tab lineup, constantly breaking your workflow to flip from LinkedIn to Salesforce to your email to your calendar to Salesforce again –– and on and on.

Fortunately, a single keyboard shortcut is the solution to your tab problem. Scratchpad Command lets you quickly pull up your notes, tasks, and entire Salesforce instance within any web page you happen to be on.

It’s also much more than a view-only experience: You can make updates to records that immediately sync with Salesforce, plus create new elements like notes, opportunities, tasks, and beyond.

Essentially, you get instant access to your revenue workspace, allowing you to work much faster –– rather than wasting precious time wandering endlessly through the tab forest.

Hack #6: Make amends with your CRM.

Do your reps spend their days avoiding the frenemy that is your CRM, and instead leap from Excel to Google Docs to Evernote –– and back?

Unless you have a team of sugar plum fairies, there’s no need for them to do this digital workspace dance anymore. 

Save time and hassle by consolidating sales activities in one central location that connects directly to your CRM. That way, reps will never have to manually pull together their work from multiple locations and plug it into Salesforce.

Scratchpad customers enjoy a simple working experience that allows sales reps to take notes, collaborate, create templates, update data, and more –– all while everything automatically syncs with Salesforce along the way.   

A bonus? Your data and information will be more thorough, current, and visible to team members who need it.

Hack #7: Clean up your note-taking act.

Sales notetaking is notoriously labor intensive: Remember, it’s one of the top three non-selling activities eating up reps’ time.

Many sales reps refuse to tussle with their CRM’s notes feature –– they’d rather spend extra time at the end of the day cutting and pasting their notes from other platforms into Salesforce.

Beyond the obvious drain on reps’ prospecting and selling time, this all has a tendency to lead to information gaps in the CRM, data hygiene issues, and sloppy handoffs.

Salesforce Notes, Scratchpad’s note-taking functionality, can help counteract all those pesky problems, drive consistency across sales information, and deliver a shot in the arm to reps’ productivity levels. 

The product feature offers the ability to create standard, company-wide note-taking templates that all connect straight to Salesforce –– no manual copying and pasting required. Plus, color coding and image embedding functionality make formatting notes simple.

Let your revenue workspace help you weather any macroeconomic storm

Any challenging economic climate presents unavoidable distractions and obstacles. But a few helpful hacks combined with today’s sales technology can help clear some of the fog and make it easy to supercharge productivity across your sales team. 

At the end of the day, if reps can get manual tasks off their plates and dodge the mental gymnastics often needed to navigate modern business processes, they’ll be free to focus on the one thing that needs to happen for companies to find their way through today’s macroeconomic maze: thoughtful, high-impact prospecting and selling.

Let Scratchpad’s dynamic revenue team workspace help ensure your business comes out the other side. Book a demo today.