There are many aspects of sales that get in the way of “selling time.” Ask any professional sales person the type of work activity they like the least and the majority will likely mention “the admin work.” Why? Because it eats into their selling time, and hence, their earnings.
In this article, we will reveal five steps to reduce the time your professional sales reps spend on admin work, and increase their selling time.
“All work is not created equal.”
Admittedly, having been a sales rep/business developer for many years, I can certainly attest to the fact that admin work is the necessary drudgery involved in any professional sales job. Despite the fact that some administrative work is part of any sales job, we must always look for ways to reduce it, and increase the professional rep’s selling time. The company’s bottom line depends on it!
We all instinctively know that “working on the right thing” is very different from “busy work.” In sales, the administrative “busy work” can sap people’s energy and results, draining the company of people’s valuable time and resources.
Of course, we always want to maximize the time our sales people spend working on the right thing. And, any time a sales rep is working on administrative tasks, they are not working on what matters most when you’re in sales – the SELLING! By decreasing non-value added work, and increasing the amount of time spent on “value-added work,” we can dramatically improve the ROI of that sales person’s salary.
Value-added selling functions include those activities that bring direct value to the prospect or client. These include:
- Calling on or meeting with prospect and clients
- Developing proposals
- Answering objections
- Overseeing account hand-off and/or delivery of the solution to insure client satisfaction
- Customer service check-in calls after delivery
Basically, any function not directly related to developing, nurturing, closing, servicing, or renewing a sale is simply a waste of your sales people’s time and talent (let alone your budget!). So why would you pay them a professional person’s rate of pay, when they are performing admin work? That would be crazy, right?
Companies do it all the time…but, there IS a better way.
Increase Time Spent on Value Added Work
You want your well-paid sales people to increase their selling time. It just makes sense.
- How can you MINIMIZE your reps’ non-selling time?
- How can you MAXIMIZE their SELLING time?
- What PROCESS CHANGES will have the greatest impact to increase selling time?
To answer these questions, you must first review your sales process in detail. Map out your current sales process to identify the waste or rework, and then create a plan to eliminate that waste – one step at a time.
Begin with the following five steps:
- What does your typical sales process look like from start to finish?
- Map out the process on paper. Enlist the help of your sales reps to understand every step in the process.
- Brainstorm: What would things look like if everything were perfect in that process?
- Where are potential areas of waste in that process? Work backwards from what the process would look like if everything were perfect to determine where the waste exists. (Remember: Most business processes are full of waste!)
- Ask WHY each step in the process exists to determine if the step can be eliminated or streamlined. Keep asking WHY until you get to the root reason each step exists.
- From there, determine what actions are being performed by your sales people that could or should be eliminated, handed off/outsourced, or substantially improved, to free up their time to perform more value-added sales functions. i.e. Increase selling time.
Change and improve the sales process to better leverage your most valuable asset – your sales people’s time and skill. Imagine what the results could look like!
Extra Money Saving Tip
Before signing off, there is one key area of improvement where you can make quick, dramatic change in the sales process. Provide your sales reps with the use of a large enough, high quality, targeted marketing list.
- Using a limited set of contacts stored in your in-house database will yield limited results.
- But, forcing sales reps to dig around online to build their own list of new targets is not a good use of their time.
- Instead, work with a list company specialized in your target industry.
- Invest in a high quality data source for your sales and marketing purposes. (Remember: When sourcing a list, you usually get what you pay for!)
- Then, leverage this list in your email marketing and inbound marketing strategy to develop warm “hand-raisers” for your sales reps to call on.