You Already Know This
Intuitively, you as a sales rep know that the way you spend your time can have a direct relationship to how successful you are. No doubt you have been through time management courses that helped you understand how you can be more efficient and how you can focus on the “urgent and important.” But do you know if you are spending enough time with customers and which sales activities actually matter the most to your success?
Time with Customers
Whether your sales are more transactional or stem from a more consultative sales approach, the more time you can interact, especially face-to-face, with your customers, the more successful you can be. We have learned from our customers that:
- Top reps in transactional sales spend almost two-thirds of their time with their customers
- Top solutions sellers spend almost half of their time with customers
In both cases, that’s twice the time that average performing sales reps spend with their customers. Does your team come anywhere close with how they spend their time? We bet not. Sales reps continually spend more and more time on administrivia and activities that do not add client value.
Do Your Own Survey
Spend a week keeping track of how your sales reps truly spend their time. Certainly, some will be in preparation for sales calls and meetings, some in sales training and sales coaching, and some in the inevitable meetings and follow-up on invoicing and issues. Then compare your time expenditures with those of top sales folks.
If time with customers has such a significant impact on how much money comes in, you may need to make changes in how your sales team spends their working day and the support tools you provide to free them up to help their customers to succeed.
What You Can Do
Clearly, you need to off-load some of the activities that others can handle so you can focus on what you do best — selling. To maximize time for the activities where you bring real value, hire support personnel to cover the time-consuming activities that others could handle better. Hand the pre-sales activities of cold calling and initial qualifying over to Marketing. And set up a team to handle post-sale standard requests.
If hiring is not an option, explore how technology can support a better use of your time. A customer tracking system is a must. But you should also have a knowledge sharing system that captures best practices like testimonials, referrals, value-proposition statements, solution options, and customer value predictors.
The Bottom Line
To boost sales effectiveness, your sales force needs to spend more time with your customers and less time on sales support activities. Sales managers take heed: the upfront costs of hiring support personnel will quickly be paid off with the increased productivity of your selling experts. What are you waiting for?
To learn more about sales reps spending enough time with customers, download Are Your Sales Reps Leaving Money on the Table?