Both Sales and Sales Operations are busier than ever. With access to data, we have metrics to quantify the pressure to excel. Every Sales VP wants reps out in the field as many hours as possible. Face time with customers – selling and closing deals – converts to revenue. Growing revenue is exactly what you want your sales reps doing.
Unfortunately, competing demands make it more difficult for reps to have that customer face time. Between sales forecasts, backlog reports, and administrative tasks, it’s difficult to be out actually closing a sale.
Organizations that are mastering more customer face time aren’t doing so because they’ve given up T&E reporting. They are effectively increasing their rep’s time because of strategic decisions. In this post, we’ll be looking at best practices for increasing rep’s face time. And we’ll also take a look at how Sales Operations can assist. Increasing sales team client time requires a comprehensive approach.
Enough Hours in the Day
Surveys show that just about half of a sales rep’s time is spent face-to-face with customers. The rest of the time reps are forecasting, chasing contracts, doing administrative tasks – everything other than selling. There might be variances in that percentage in different parts of the world. But, generally, half of a rep’s time is spent face-to-face with a customer. Face-to-face includes selling, quoting, and closing. These are the activities that translate directly to revenue and margin.
Imagine bumping customer face time up just five or ten percent. For an organization with 10 reps, that’s an additional 2000 hours of customer face time. That’s the equivalent of one additional full-time employee 100% committed to face-to-face selling. That would certainly grow revenue and income nicely.
Growing the Percentage of Face Time: Processes and Technology
Best practices call for process and technology enhancements to increase sales productivity. Target areas that:
1. Have a low risk of failure
2. Have reasonable implementation strategies and costs
3. Have a positive financial return on investment
Organizations that use best practices have used these solutions
- Implement Quoting System and Processes – In a large enterprise, there may be many organizations that operate independently in the CPQ (configure price quote) phase. This results in customer (and client partner) confusion. Consolidating the CPQ process results in more streamlined workflow for sales reps. It also improves the customer’s perception of your organization’s ability to deliver solutions.
- Implement Pricing Technology – Instead of pricing based on multiple variables calculated manually, use a pricing system and process. Pricing to obtain the desired revenue and margin results in consistency. Customers that receive one price expediently are more likely to sign. Even better is self-serve pricing. No one wants a manual process with prices flying back and forth five times.
Typically the pricing process accounts for about 60% of a reps non-client time. Investing in pricing technology means converting those hours to more client facing.
- Invest In Robust CRM – Technology Implement a robust customer relationship management system. Determine the functionality that will maximize client face time. For consistency, roll it out across the enterprise. Savings is directly related to the organization’s size and what percentage use the system.
This will be helpful:
We’ve created a Sales Rep Time Tracker to help evaluate how your sales team is currently spending their time. It’s an Excel spreadsheet that details each area a typical sales team spends time. This is a great way to pinpoint areas that can be optimized or eliminated.
Don’t Forget Sales Operations
Sales Operations gets requests for a myriad of tasks that free up sales reps. That is why Sales Operations has yard-long to-do lists.
In choosing amongst user-requested projects, return to these important considerations:
- Does or will the project enhance the customer experience?
- Will the project increase the rep’s ability to grow customer face time?
Develop other standards to judge and prioritize Sales Ops projects. Consider return on investment, the level of effort required, and probability of success. Most importantly, standards should be determined by each organization’s priorities. Know why you prioritize projects the way you do. And apply the standards against all requests.
Increasing Customer Face Time Is An Investment.
These suggested best practices will take some dedicated resources to implement. When considering the financial investment, don’t forget to calculate the costs associated with not making enhancements.
A sales rep chasing backlog numbers can’t also be generating revenue. And while you are deciding if you should invest in these best practices, your competition may already have.