The amount of pressure on sales reps is incredible. With targets to meet, month end always just around the corner and a sales director that is constantly looking over their shoulder, sales is undoubtedly one of the most hectic and pressurized environments to work in.
But where do the best sales reps focus their efforts to become the very best? Of course, prioritization is key. Wasting time faffing around with prospects that are going nowhere and making calls just to make small talk about the weather will get you nowhere in sales. The best sales reps concentrate on finding qualified prospects, determining their potential needs, knowing when and how to close deals and take responsibility for customer service.
Prioritizing time is a challenge for everyone, not just sales reps, but how do they spend their time compared to others? Are they maximizing productive time and minimizing time wasters?
Studies into the productivity of sales reps has highlighted that the most common activities of a typical sales rep include travel, customer sales meetings, prospecting calls and daily planning. The chart highlights the typical weekly hours of a sales rep.
The chart does throw up a few surprises, such as ‘selling’ only accounting for 22% of the week. With that in mind, those sales calls/meetings need to be productive to have a higher chance of conversion.
It’s all about conversion
As the saying goes ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’ which is very true in the life of a sales person. Studies show that 2-3 hours of planning actually increases the amount of time available to sell. In addition, the more you know about a prospect or customer, the greater the chance of converting them into a sale.
Filling your diary with appointments is no use if none of them turn into paying customers. Focus on good opportunities, do the research, understand the business and the selling bit becomes easy.
So what’s the ideal sales profile?
It is essential that sales reps concentrate their time and energy on becoming effective and reduce the effort devoted to tasks that take them away from their core role of selling.
Simply put, they need to prepare for every sales call, discover exactly what the customer or prospect wants before proceeding to present a solution, close the sale and mastering after sales service to ensure promises are kept and so are commitments from both sides. Selling will never be straightforward, we all know that much. Yet, as a sales rep, ensuring that your time is spent productively and efficiently will make the sales journey a little smoother.