Spending time with customers and prospects is the reason why sales people are here. How can you sell something if you can’t interact with a customer? Last time I checked no one sells anything without this engagement.
Why is this happening?
Tons of reasons: Increased knowledge by buyers, better technology, more to do in the same amount of time, short term corporate pressures, role corruption, bad economy, threat of losing your job, political challenges. The list goes on and on.
How does a sales manager get their sales people in front of more customers? In a sense, create more selling time?
Data proves it is worth your effort.
For every 10% increase in selling time, there is a 3% increase in sales rep quota attainment. There are 2000 hours available every year. Ten percent increase in selling time is 200 hours per year, 3.8 hours per week or 45 minutes per day. That is one to two more customers a week. Not a lot to get 3% more revenue.
Four ways Sales Management can increase their sales reps selling time:
- Observe your schedule as the manager. Start by looking in the mirror. How much time do you require your sales reps to fill out reports, commit to internal meetings, update your forecast reports, have unnecessary calls? Examine your schedule. Eliminate all wasted time. Anything that does not reflect a direct conversation with a customer or is customer facing needs to be reschedule or eliminated. Focus your sales reps to be in front of customers. This is where the revenue is generated.
- Get corporate requests to come through you and not to the reps. For a period of 60 days, funnel all direct requests from others in the organization through you. Yes it will mean more work for you. Thirty days into this new communication directive will seem like a year. You will work extra hours. Your inbox will be flooded with requests. And you will train the organization on what is truly important and weed through the non-value add requests. After 60 days the only value add requests will be asked of your sales people freeing up valuable selling time.
- No more than 20% in internal meetings…ever. Be sure you limit these meeting to only one day a week. Have one on ones with your sales reps. Make sure you have compelling, value add, interactive sales meetings. Review the forecast with your reps and help them strategize on deals. But make sure all of this lasts NO MORE than 8 hours in a week. Your reps need the customer facing time.
- Honor the golden hours. The only time you can be customer facing is between 8 AM and 5 PM. Protect these golden hours. Cherish the time with customers. Have your reps maximize this time. Your quota depends on it.
These are fundamentals. They are simple and effective. Dont overlook basic sales management fundamentals, especially time managment. Many previous successful sales managers overlook them. Check out Josh Bergere on my LinkedIn profile. Josh was a sales manager in Southern California managing 8 sales reps. Struggling consistently to hit quota, he went back to the fundamentals of sales management especially honoring the customer facing time that is critical to success. Josh made his goals, obtained a new job and now is the National Sales Manager for a successful organization. Time management (sometimes referred to as Life Hacking) is the secret sauce.
Your sales people won’t like it at first. They like the busy work. You will be forcing your sales reps now to see customers. They will get rejected more. They will complain to you. And they will sell more. They will make their quota. You will make your quota. You will earn more compensation.
All because you increased their selling time!