The magic word in business: efficiency.
We tend to think of efficiency as this wonderful robot-like perfect process involving ants who can carry 10x their body weight and never question instructions. For working in exceptional coordination and order, this is simply not the model to achieve efficiency with real people.
Employees have much better ways of contributing to the company - why not let them?
1. Make more money by working less for easier sales
Every organization has their most loyal spenders - repeat customers who find value in your brand that they prefer over the value provided by other organizations with similar offerings.
They want to buy from you - more than anyone else you will ever talk to, e-mail, or meet at a networking event - your loyalty and repeat customers want to buy from you. It is widely accepted that getting an existing customer to purchase more (or again) is much more cost effective in terms of resources and time spent than customer acquisition.
Make sure that the sales workflow and your customer relationship management software are geared towards a position of account management - don't just use it as a title on LinkedIn so your profile doesn't say "sales".
Let the CRM do the work for you - automate processes and workflows that can keep track of things like what documents you might be waiting on from them for their previous purchase, where did they generate from originally, what time of day/month/year do they most often order - why remember these things when modern software will do it for you, and leave you the free time and mental faculty to actually sell?
2. Thin the herd of bull-headed customers
On the opposite end of the spectrum, most organizations have several customers simply known as "them". As in: when the phone rings you say "Oh not them", or when the payment is late for the third month in a row you can only respond with "of course, it's them, what did we expect?"
The lesson: not to deal with customers you expect that from. Don't just roll over and allow customers to treat you that way! Tell "them" to take their ball and go home, because you don't want to play anymore.
Well, maybe a bit more professional than that.
If payments are consistently coming in late, make sure that the relationship you have established is one of real value, in addition to providing consequences for late payment (or benefit/incentive for early payment - people love saving money!). If you have a preferred payment method (such as electronic payments online with form completion) then offer an incentive for that as well.
Customers who truly want your product, and aren't just picking the provider they can take the most advantage of, will stay. The cost to eventually acquire timely payment, provide a product (and typically more support than average customers require) will outweigh the added income from retaining them as customers.
Always make sure, however, that there isn't an underlying problem that the customer is truly faced with. Never get into that habit of assuming that the "customer is always wrong" just because you're the expert and you're fed up with customer service calls that day.
3. High-tech, high-efficiency
Face it: you aren't running the company on dial-up internet, and you aren't expecting sales people to close deals via fax.
But when was the last time you considered the upload/download speed or latency of your broadband connection, or the replacement expectations of your laptop fleet?
Latency can (and often does) affect page load times of web pages and internet based documents in a directly proportionate linear fashion - consistently, as latency is reduced, pages load faster. It may not seem like much, but the reduction in seconds not only contributes to direct time saving, but it allows the flow of work to go uninterrupted - when an employee is "in the zone", efficiency will come when they are enabled to stay there for as long as possible without technological or digital interruption that doesn't aid the process.