By Peter Helmer, Published November 3, 2014
According to a CSO Insights study, most sales reps are actually selling only two days a week. What are they doing the other three days?
Look to your right.
If you could give your sales reps even a half day more selling time, how much would that be worth to you?
Less Selling Time By Doing More
There are two reasons sales reps spend relatively little time selling:
- They have inadequate research and sales tools.
- They have multiple non-sales responsibilities.
Start by examining how your reps spend their time. Can you automate, eliminate, outsource, or delegate some of their responsibilities?
The chart below shows a list of responsibilities. Some sales reps actually perform all of these tasks.
The “Rep Must Handle” column shows the essential tasks a rep must perform: face-to-face selling and negotiating deals. The columns “Automate/Standardize” and “Outsource/Delegate to Others” list tasks a sales rep should not have to handle.
Here are six ways to give your sales reps more selling time:
- Automate Prospect Research—If your reps are poking around the Internet looking for business, they are wasting their time. They should be subscribing to alert services and using business intelligence services such as Inside View and social media sites such as LinkedIn.
- Delegate/Outsource Lead Generation/Cultivation—Your marketing department should generate leads, cultivate them, and turn them over to a sales rep only if the lead is “sales ready.”
- Standardize Proposals/Contracts—If your sales reps are creating their own proposals and contracts, they are not only wasting time, they are putting the company at risk. Have your lawyer and CFO create the templates—with an assist from the sales department.
- Standardize Sales Tools—Sales reps love to create their own brochures and presentations. That’s another waste of time. And they may not even convey the right message. Your marketing department should create the sales tools for the reps.
- Delegate Cross Sell/Upsell—Sales reps should not spend their selling time on small projects or products to existing customers. You can train your client services team to do the low-level selling. Let your outside sales reps focus their selling time on the bigger deals with customers.
- Delegate Customer Service & Admin—Dealing with clients and customers on routine matters can consume an enormous amount of a sales rep’s selling time. Make sure your client services team handles customer service and customer admin tasks. Involve the sales rep only when there is a serious issue.
Less Is More—The Benefits
Relieving your reps of these responsibilities has several advantages:
- More Revenue—If your outside reps spend more time selling, they are likely to generate more revenue.
- More Opportunities—By effectively generating and cultivating leads, your marketing department can give your reps more “sales ready” opportunities. Left to their own devices, sales reps only haphazardly generate and cultivate leads.
- More Deals—Standardized proposals and contracts will help your reps close more deals faster.
- Happier Customers—Your client services team can give clients/customers more consistent and better service that a sales rep who is pulled in multiple directions.