Baseline Selling Time to Improve Sales Force Effectiveness

April 21, 2011 at 10:00 AM

The average sales rep spends less than 60% of their time selling.  Why?

Everyone says they are busy, but most people do not measure the efficiency of their efforts. We are going to discuss how you can determine the amount of time your sales team spends selling.

In a previous blog Increase Selling Time to Increase Sales Force Efficiency we illustrated the impact of maximizing sales force selling time.  If your sales force could spend 10% more time selling, how much topline revenue would be created?  Would this 10% eliminate the need to hire additional resources?

The first step in building a more effective sales force is defining current state. How do you go about determining the amount of time your sales team currently spends selling? 

Measuring Selling Time

Three methods:

1. Time Survey: Download this sales rep time tracker template here and create 15-20 main buckets that represent the majority of the sales team’s time (e.g. Prospecting, Face-to-Face Meeting, CRM Data Entry).   Send as a survey to all members of the sales force and ask them to enter the amount of hours they spend on a monthly basis on each activity.  Take the aggregate hours from all selling activities and divide by the sum of hours spent in the role. 

Selling Time

2. Direct Observation: Get in the car with your reps for a full day and record where they spend time.  Create a template with buckets that represent major time investments for sales professionals. 

3. Stop Watch:  Each sales professional carries a stop watch. Every 30 minutes have them record what activity they are engaged in. Have each participant do this for at least two weeks.

 Sales Force Baseline Selling Time

Selling time activities:

  • Face to Face Customer Meetings
  • Proposal Preparation
  • Prospecting, Cold Calling
  • Pre-call Preparation
  • Post-call Follow-up
  • Account Specific Research
  • Demonstration Preparation & Delivery
  • Account Planning
  • Opportunity Specific Emails/Communication

Now that you have baselined current state selling time, set a goal for optimal future state.  Develop a strategy on how to shift non-selling time to less costly resources and allow your sales professionals to focus on revenue growth.  Organizations typically shift non-selling tasks to sales support staff, customer support functions, marketing, or inside sales.  After shifting tasks, measure the impact on selling time and revenue on a regular cadence.

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Topics: Sales Force Structure, Go To Market Strategy

Posted by Scott Gruher

Scott Gruher
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