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11 Ways to Increase Startup Sales Productivity

These tips and tools can improve sales productivity for startups, leading to more money savings and even a revenue boost.



Many business owners and managers already suspect that low productivity is hurting the bottom line—but how bad could it really be? 

Very bad.

According to research, lost productivity costs businesses $1.8T per year. Some of the causes can range from long meetings and excess time spent on administrative tasks, while other reasons for poor productivity may be linked to poor training, lack of organization and planning, and even burnout.

For startups, low productivity levels could be detrimental to the business, especially when you’re strapped for cash. With no time or money to lose, it’s important to build a more productive work environment. But how can you do that when you’re already on a tight budget? Follow these eleven tips to boost sales productivity for startups.



Why is sales productivity important?

In sales, it’s especially apparent that time is money. But when sales teams spend only about 34% of their time actually making sales (and as much as 14.8% of time spent just on administrative tasks), it’s clear that there are many opportunities to improve productivity.

Sales productivity for startups is even more in the spotlight because startups are often tight on time and money. Low productivity could ultimately make or break the company. By tracking your startup’s sales productivity and making adjustments, not only can you save money, but you can also improve employee engagement and satisfaction and even see more leads and higher revenues.

Benefits of tracking sales productivity

Most company leaders know that productivity is important for a business, but it’s more than just setting high quotas and demanding more from your team. In fact, those practices may actually hurt productivity more than help it. Tracking and improving sales productivity is a team effort that will involve working together to reap the benefits.

Save money

Startups are often working with limited resources, so there’s no money to waste on lost productivity. Let’s revisit a statistic: only about 34% of a salesperson’s day is spent making sales. When sales productivity increases, less time and resources are wasted on tasks that aren’t making the company money.

Improve customer and employee satisfaction

When your sales team is able to respond to inquiries quickly and avoid redundancies when engaging with clients, customer satisfaction can increase. This is important, considering about 72% of a company’s revenue comes from existing customers. As for employee satisfaction, productivity can improve that, too. How? When employees spend less time on manual or admin tasks or trying to track down information due to poor communication, they can feel more stressed or frustrated with the job. When they have the tools and training to get their work done efficiently, they can feel more empowered and satisfied.

Increase leads and conversions

Instead of spending an hour or more on administrative tasks, sales reps can spend more time finding promising leads and converting those leads into customers when they are able to be more productive. But startups need to offer the tools and training, like automation software to handle admin tasks and training to help sales reps close deals quickly and confidently, to increase sales productivity.




How to increase sales productivity for startups

The earlier you establish procedures that foster productivity in a startup, the easier it will be for high productivity to become a natural part of your business in the long-term. There are many tips and tricks for increasing sales productivity for startups. To get started at your startup, incorporate any or all of the following methods to boosting sales productivity:

Create playbooks

When sales teams know what to expect or how to handle various circumstances that come their way, they can more quickly move a potential client through the sales funnel. Once you identify some of your startup’s top sales employees or investigate your quickest and biggest sales, you can document the interactions that turned a cold call or customer inquiry into those finalized purchases. 

From there, the accumulation of interaction examples and success stories create your startup’s sales playbook. This is like a guidebook of all the best practices and answers to common questions that anyone from new hires to seasoned professionals can turn to when they aren’t sure what to do next. 

For instance, if your team is making sales calls or responding to email inquiries, your playbook may include scripts to follow to move the conversation along quicker in a way that will best entice the potential client.

With the tried-and-true best practices at hand, agents can have an easier time responding to potential customers and moving them closer to a purchase, without wasting time deciding their next steps.

Use tools

Whether it’s a clean, easily accessible dashboard with sales analytics, a project management hub, or a messaging app to communicate across teams, there are so many tools today designed specifically to improve business practices and make them more efficient.

One of the most essential tools to have handy for a startup’s sales team is a customer relationship management (CRM) system, which allows agents to oversee their client base and leads, including keeping track of client or potential client information. Sales reps can use the CRM to follow up with existing clients to make new sales or reach out to leads to move them through the funnel.

HubSpot Video

Offer training for sales team 

At startups, sometimes the culture can be “sink or swim,” with busy leaders offering little training for new employees. But even the most self-starting, independent employees can benefit from training. While it seems counterintuitive to spend more time training, this will save time wasted on employees trying to figure things out on their own and making mistakes along the way.

About 81% of companies believe in training for increased productivity, and training your sales team can have a 353% ROI. But training isn’t just good for the business’ bottom line—employees also benefit, with 65% of salespersons in a study saying that the training and learning opportunities offered by their company can improve the reps’ engagement levels.

For leaders, it’s important to keep in mind that training isn’t just something to offer when an employee comes in for the first day on the job. Sales training retention can decline without reinforcement and ongoing training opportunities. But with these practices, training retention can increase to 75%.

Add lead scoring to your processes

What if there was a way to determine which leads would be the most valuable, so sales reps could spend more time and energy on these more promising leads? Lead scoring is just what you need to boost sales productivity for startups. 

Lead scoring refers to a method of assigning value to leads based on various data, such as demographics and behaviors. This information then helps to rank leads by which customers are most likely to make purchases, particularly more purchases or bigger purchases, based on the data. For instance, lead scoring can help determine leads with demographics that fit your target audience and online behaviors showing engagement with your email content, offering a promising potential client.

Sales reps can use lead scoring to determine which leads to spend more time nurturing. Startups can use tools like a free lead scoring template or predictive lead scoring software to help incorporate lead scoring into their sales processes.

Incorporate automation

2023_SalesHub_Conversation_Intelligence2Looking for a big boost in productivity? Automation and artificial intelligence, or AI, can boost productivity by 20%, according to McKinsey. That’s a significant improvement, and automation and AI can help smaller teams at startups tackle higher workloads with less stress.

Some examples of incorporating automation include adding chatbots to your company’s website, setting up email responses that immediately reply to email inquiries from potential clients, or establishing workflows that automatically assign new leads to sales agents.

Set SMART goals

SMART goals is a goal-setting technique that aims to create targets that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. By setting SMART goals each day, week, month, quarter, or year for your team or for individual sales reps, you can motivate the sales team to be more productive. SMART goals might entail making a certain number of cold calls for the day, reaching a specific sales number by the end of the week, or increasing revenue by a specific percentage over one quarter.

Because SMART goals are highly specific, they are easier to track and aim toward. But while hitting these goals may mean good performance reviews for employees, startups should also decide on other incentives to encourage employees to reach—or even exceed—their goals.

Consider incentives

By now, the office pizza party has become an internet meme at this point, with disgruntled employees noting that their hard work is often rewarded with some pizza instead of more enticing prizes, like bonuses or salary increases.

So instead of just offering employees a pizza party after weeks of closing deals, consider other ways to show your appreciation and reward the team for their efforts.

If your startup has the budget, consider monetary incentives for sales reps such as bonuses, commissions, gift cards, or tickets to an event. Startups can be limited on funding, but that doesn’t mean you have to skimp on rewarding sales reps. Consider offering more PTO or vacation time, higher roles within the company, hybrid or remote work options, or professional development opportunities for employees that are meeting their SMART goals.


Provide real-time sales insights

Having the most recent, up-to-date information is helpful for any business that wants a leg up on the competition, and this can be even more so the case for startups, who can face a lot of pressure to be first and best early on. Real-time sales insights make it clear right way where each sales rep needs to focus based on the latest data, and these insights can also motivate agents to generate or convert more leads as they see the data of their successes roll in. Real-time data also allows sales reps to keep an eye out for their latest stats and boost productivity to meet their goals.

Communicate clearly 

When 63% of sales purchases involve four or more employees to make happen, communication is more important than ever to reduce redundancies and improve sales productivity. Leads can be generated starting with social media teams, marketing teams, sales teams, and more, so clear communication is critical to avoid any leads slipping through the cracks.

If your reps or even separate teams aren’t communicating as they work together to move potential clients through the funnel, they can end up repeating or even contradicting information they provide to users. Not only does this waste time, but it can also lead to a poor user experience that prevents leads from making a purchase.

For startups, it will be important to use tools that allow for constant communication, even across different teams. Project management and communication tools like Asana,, Slack, and Google Workspace can help ensure effective communication, even among different departments or for workers based all over the world.

Encourage regular breaks

Burnout, a result of stress, costs U.S. businesses about $190B per year, in part due to lost productivity. Burnout can happen to employees at any company, but startups can be especially vulnerable to this phenomenon. Often, employees must put in long hours to start establishing the new company, and this can lead to discontent and ultimately, burnout. 

As it turns out, working harder for longer isn’t the key to increasing productivity. Employees need time outside of work to spend with loved ones and breaks during work to help them feel most engaged.

Breaks don’t need to be long, according to Harvard Business Review. Even short but stimulating breaks to stretch, eat a snack, or look outside a window can give employee brains a jolt of energy. One study from 2023 found that 75% of participants who took a 5-minute break every 20 minutes were more productive and ultimately took less time on breaks compared to those in the control group without the set break times.


For longer breaks, positive physical and mental stimulation like reading or walking can be useful, rather than spending time scrolling through social media apps or the internet on a phone. As such, it might be helpful for startups not just to provide time for breaks, but also consider keeping a library of books on-site, offering a snack bar, or even keeping a stash of art supplies like adult coloring books and colored pencils. The solutions don’t have to break the bank to be effective.

Listen to feedback to update your processes

Even when you find processes and tools that give your startup’s sales team a boost in productivity, these exact methods may not work the same way forever. With changes in your industry, business growth, and ever-evolving technology, you’ll need to make updates to continue maintaining good productivity levels.

While you can use some trial-and-error to adjust your processes for better productivity, don’t forget to listen to your sales reps to find room for improvement, too. Through one-on-ones, team meetings, or even anonymous surveys, sales reps can provide you feedback with what may help improve their productivity more. For example, your team may ask for shorter team meetings or more detailed meeting agendas to keep the conversation on track, or they may request more training on certain sales processes or software.


How to measure startup sales productivity

There are many ways to measure startup sales productivity, and the key performance indicators (KPIs) your startup focuses on will depend on the business and its overall goals. Some common KPIs to track include:

  • Conversion rates
  • Close rates
  • Average deal sizes
  • Sales cycle length
  • Sales per hour worked
  • Sales per salesperson
  • Revenue per salesperson

No matter which KPIs you settle on, it’s important to track them on a regular basis, both before and after implementing these sales productivity tips. That way, you can truly see progress if the new tools and procedures are working. Again, tools like sales reporting software can be helpful here.

Reap the rewards of increased startup sales productivity

Taking the time to implement sales productivity processes can come with a much bigger return on your investment, especially in a startup environment. Increasing sales productivity can help employees feel more engaged, and quicker response times and more well-informed employees can improve customer satisfaction and trust in your brand. Then, there are the obvious perks: with less time wasted, your sales team can chase more leads, make more conversions, and increase revenue. 

The sooner you start implementing these sales productivity tips, the sooner you’ll begin reaping all these benefits and more.