Salespeople Sell and . . .

As a young salesman many years ago, my sales manager caught me doing some project sketches. He interrupted me, looked me straight in the eye and said “Salespeople sell and engineers engineer. Do you call that selling?”

Repeated surveys over the years estimate that most salespeople spend about 30% of the available selling time in a day actually selling. The remainder of the day is spent on non-sales activity. Unnecessary meetings, responding to other department information requests and getting dragged into projects that have nothing to do with sales consume a lot of salespeople’s time on the daily basis.

Here are some scary statistics that the TAS group and SalesforceWork.com uncovered that should have you looking at where your salespeople are spending their selling time.

  • Two thirds of all salespeople DO NOT meet their sales quotas.
  • More than half of all salespeople have a closing ration under 40% on qualified opportunities.
  • Only 46% of salespeople feel their pipeline is accurate.

While there may be other reasons for these staggering findings, one easy point of attack is to find out how much time your salespeople are actually selling. A simple exercise is to have them log their time for a week. It is a real eye opener.

Next, as a sales manager, you can act as a filter for requests coming from other departments. If it takes time away from your salespeople selling and is not critical, postpone, reject or deflect such projects. Think of the increase in revenue if your salespeople were able to spend even 10% more time in front of customers.

When we look at key account selling, so much depends on salespeople developing strategies, meeting multiple contacts within the customer’s organization, staying in contact with multiple decision makers and maintaining a multi-level relationship.  That is a monumental task if you only devote 30% of your time to it