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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

How Much Time Do Your Salespeople Spend Selling?

How Much Time Do Your Salespeople Spend Selling

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

New call-to-actionThe activities under the umbrella of selling are:

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.

large-Salespersons Time-InfoG-01-2

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.

Hunter vs Farmer Personality, Characteristics, and More

2. Many companies have stripped away Account Managers, sales assistants, or other technical support people in an effort to save money. This is usually a false economy. If you want to increase your sales capacity by 25%, you probably don’t have to hire new sellers; just free up time to get your current staff in front of prospects uncovering needs and selling solutions more often.

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.

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Topics: sales process IMPACT