When we employ salespeople we expect somehow that they will be selling nearly 100% of the time. However, the truth is most salespeople are lucky if they get to sell 40% of the time. What we mean by this is that many salespeople spend more time in administrative non-selling duties and travel than actually selling.
So when it comes to sales productivity and performance, many companies could dramatically improve their sales results by removing the obstacles that keep their salespeople from selling.
Too many businesses pay their salespeople for the business development function only to lumber them with too many non-revenue generating activities such as administration, meetings, and account problems and wonder why they are ‘stuck in the office’ and not out selling.
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A recent study done in Europe and South Africa found that many companies were asking their salespeople to do jobs that could have been better performed by the sales support function, marketing or other administration areas.
Whether it is here or overseas, business leaders face the dilemma of doing more with less. However, removing sales support functions from the sales teams who should be out selling is defeating the purpose of having a sales team.
Salespeople are ultimately measured on how much they sell, so if your sales team is spending more than 15% of their time on non-sales functions then you may want to rethink where you want your salespeople to operate.
Ask yourself and/or your sales manager what you expect of your salespeople: sales, deliveries or service? If it is more in the delivery and service area such as account management then set their sales budgets accordingly. If, on the other hand, you want them to be operating in pure business development roles then remove as many obstacles that are in their way and let them sell.
Remember, everybody lives by selling something.
Sue Barrett is a sales expert, business speaker, adviser, sales facilitator and entrepreneur and founded Barrett Consulting to provide expert sales consulting, sales training, sales coaching and assessments. Her business Barrett P/L partners with its clients to improve their sales operations. Visit www.barrett.com.au