How much time do your salespeople spend selling?
It’s been our observation that it’s probably less than you think. Data suggests that it's as little as 30% of their time. And when you talk to salespeople all the time, as we do, they confirm that.
So, to get a bead on just how much time your salespeople actually spend selling, you should start with a definition of selling.
Selling Activities Defined
The activities under the umbrella of selling are:
- Time finding and qualifying new prospects.
- Time and effort to set first-time appointments.
- Discovery work to uncover desired business results and getting an assignment from the prospect. This can also be done by a current customer to upsell.
- Developing ideas and proposals
- Presenting proposals
- Closing the sale. 32% spend 6-10% of their time in meetings to close business.
Everything else salespeople do is servicing. And, there's a lot of it.
We often see that less than 30% of a salesperson’s time is spent in selling activities, especially if they have a book of regular customers.
Once you have defined selling activities, the next step is getting an accurate read on how much of that your sellers are actually doing.
If you have a functional CRM, you at least have a picture of sequential progress your sellers are making in the stages of the sale, but that doesn’t necessarily indicate time spent. This is where you need a collaborative effort between you and your sellers.
A simple process would be to do several weeks of an informal audit. Your intent matters here. If the project is perceived as punitive, your big brother approach will not be appreciated.
But, if the positioning is more of an exploration to help your salespeople find more time and clear obstacles that stand in the way of them selling more and earning more, you're likely to get better cooperation.
How to Reduce Non-Selling Activities
Once you get a baseline and more information, you can look for ways to reduce the burden sellers face in devoting time to non-selling activities.
Here are additional thoughts on the subject:1. Many sellers complain about the lack of time they get to sell because of all the other obligations they have to fulfill in a given week, but others do not. Some salespeople would rather service than sell, the classic hunter vs. farmer mentality.
3. Many salespeople are not good at the detail necessary to provide great service support, so provide them with people who are. You can then let them do what they like to do the most. Sell.