A recent study - “Time Management in Sales” by InsideSales showed that sales reps spend over half of their time (63.4%) taking care of admin tasks and only 35.2% of their time actually selling. YOUR EYES ARE NOT DECEIVING YOU - almost 65% of their day is spent not closing deals!Those admin tasks include data entry, paperwork, handling product issues, internal meetings - which, while important, easily become tedious, time-consuming or distracting.
The 35.2% of their day spent selling includes all work that is helping develop new business: finding, nurturing, and maintaining relationships with new prospects and existing clients. Also known as the tasks that directly generate revenue.
How do sales reps spend their time?
The table below shows a breakdown of how sales rep’s allocate their time: [Source: InsideSales]
Let’s focus on the those that drive revenue (in green):
As you can see, Researching (11.6%) has been separated from Prospecting, but we say it’s the foundational step for the rest of the process: you can’t make a sale without identifying and understanding the people you’ll be selling to. Researching includes looking for target accounts, searching the company and the contacts you want to connect with, building contact lists and identifying potential pain points.
Email outreach requires tailoring your message based on yourideal customer profile, building email templates, setting up automated email sequences and tracking the results (open, clicks, engagement…).
Cold calling is, for most salespeople, their least favorite part of prospecting. They have to carve out time in the calendar to make calls, prepare a script, make the calls, and manually take notes. This is all, assuming that they actually get to speak to about 5% of the leads they dial.
Want to take your outbound calling game to a new level? Learn how to avoid this costly exercise via simple math and sales hacking technology!
Customer-facing activities (25.1%): External meetings (demos, kick-off calls, touch bases) and general follow-up.
Following-up is so important, and yet so many sales reps give up after one or two touch points. It requires setting up a follow-up cadence of at least 6 touch points, managing different channels (emails, calls, social media...), preparing relevant content, and reporting on the results.
Runningsales meetings require checking your prospect’s or client’s profile in your CRM (contact information, recent interactions with your team, meeting logs), preparing a deck or other material you will be sharing during the meeting, and taking notes.
How can you improve the allocation of sales effort?
Consistent Communication: When sales reps don’t have clarity about which markets and verticals are priority, they funnel resources and time to the wrong accounts. Being crystal clear about what sales reps are expected to accomplish, providing ongoing coaching and setting sales goals will help to reinforce communication, while metrics will track performance.
Access to information and tools: Using predictive analytic tools allow sales reps to pull data from similar customer profiles and apply those same successful sales strategies on these new opportunities. Having the right information at hand help salespeople spend their time effectively and focus on product offerings that match customer needs, thus increasing sales.
A new sales force structure: If salespeople are bogged down by too many responsibilities, they can lose focus on their top priorities. As multiple studies have shown, multitasking is terrible for business: it leads to messy, distracted work. Segmenting your sales team into SDRs (to investigate leads, build lists and qualify prospects) and AEs (to nurture leads, negotiates deals and close the sale) is one of the smartest and surefast way to increase sales.