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Quick Fixes for Poor Sales Productivity With Townsend Wardlaw [Episode 494]

Sales productivity is the ever-present challenges for sales leaders. How can you achieve more with the team you have already?

Townsend Wardlaw, sales transformation architect, joins me for the second time on this episode.


Townsend discusses his year so far, and his goal to accomplish more, to focus on time management and save time by not traveling for work. He quotes a traveling rate so ‘absurd,’ that his customers prefer for him to work remotely.

Productivity is the number one challenge for sales organizations, and it’s getting worse, Townsend says. Selling comes from activity, and there’s not enough activity. To get enough first conversations, call, email, and sell socially — a lot.

Townsend finds a lot of organizations that are not using a CRM to track activity, so they don’t even know what they lack. Then when he helps fix that problem, he sees the reps are still not doing enough activity.

Townsend works with small business of $2-$10 million. In many cases, they only endure because the founder is still heavily involved in selling. Other clients may have a few outlier reps who bring in good deals, while most reps do not.

Townsend sees the problem coming from low management expectations, poor tracking, and a poor grasp of hiring and onboarding. Reps know they would have to be actually detrimental to the company before being fired.

Reallocating accounts can stir activity. Another point Townsend stresses is getting to the actual decision makers. A prospect who doesn’t have authority to decide is not a sale. Identify the person of authority early in the process.

When a potential deal is questionable, the rep gets defensive when it is questioned. Townsend blames the mistakes on poor training. Selling is helping customers to buy the product or service that will meet their needs.

The BALD method: Be present; Ask great questions; Listen without judgment; and Deliver value at every touch. Townsend urges reps to have an abundance mindset that allows you to say no to unqualified deals.

BANT is not enough. Sales managers must do one-on-ones with the reps, with deep dives into the deals.

Invest in your own development, make yourself invaluable to your company and customers. Learn your product, service and industry, and you will be in a good position, no matter what comes. Improve your skills. Learn.

Some organizations are encouraging reps to read sales books and participate in professional development on company time.

Townsend first went to the Traffic and Conversion Summit three years ago, and 85% were fringe internet marketers. He went in 2016, and 85% were B2B marketers and digital agencies. Townsend discusses marketing vs. sales.

The Sales Enablement Podcast with Andy Paul was formerly Accelerate! with Andy Paul.