Improve your sales efficiency

Time and sales – Do you have too much or too little?

Most people think their own sales teams are not “World Class” and that they lack efficiency and effectiveness. Possibly you feel the same. Do you think that your sales could be better? Do you wonder why deals are just not happening?

The good news is that you are not alone; almost all companies think the same, including your competition. Not many people however know what is causing the problem or even how to fix it.

Have you ever asked yourself why, when you spent so much time, effort and money on recruiting the very best salespeople you could find and afford – why things are just not clicking? Well, here are two of the largest issues in selling;

  1. The biggest waste of any salesman’s time is not travel, or writing proposals, or email, or indeed any one of a thousand other things that can burn his time. It is quite simply working on deals that he is never going to win. FACT
  2. The average salesman spends less than 25% of his time actively “advancing a sale” in front of a customer (source performance101 study 2009). Indeed, our study showed that Account Managers, as opposed to New Business Salespeople, are often only spending 10% of their time actively advancing a sale. FACT

If you put the two facts together it is no wonder that sales results are what our American cousins term “sub optimal”.

Sobering isn’t it? It is possible that between 75 to 90% of your salesman’s time is not spent selling. When he is, he may well be working on a deal that he simply has no chance of winning.

“The biggest waste of a salesman’s time is working on a deal he is never going to win”

How would you rate the performance and efficiency of your sales people – have you ever measured it?

There is an old corporate saying that I am sure you have heard time and time again. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.

Just imagine what would happen if you could improve the efficiency of your team and got them only working on deals they could win and allowed them to have more face time with the customer. You know what? It doesn’t take much to improve efficiency by 50%!

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”.

If you could improve sales efficiency by 50% everyone wins.

  1. The salesmen stop doing things they don’t like and focus on the things they do – namely selling.
  2. You effectively get twice as big a sales team at no additional cost.
  3. The salesmen become happy as they get more commission.
  4. The customer becomes happier as he doesn’t waste time with a salesman who is trying to sell him something he doesn’t want.
  5. The rest of your organisation doesn’t waste time supporting a sale that is not going to happen.
  6. Your company starts to make real progress when selling against the competition.

Bottom Line Results

An efficient, happy and successful sales team is what every company should aspire to. They will not only increase turnover and margin, but increase what psychologists call “value attribution”. Strangely enough a happy and successful sales team also starts to get noticed by your customers and your competition.

Where to begin? Those of us who have spent a career managing sales teams will know that the Sales Director and Sales Managers are swamped. Their day is taken up with supporting sales teams, helping out on deals, forecasting, reporting, recruiting, motivating, presenting, cajoling, negotiating, writing compensation plans, doing annual appraisals, account planning, territory planning, succession planning and customer complaint handling. No wonder you are where you are today.

Help is at hand. There is a methodology that can help your existing Sales Directors and Managers. For instance, to prevent a salesman working on a deal he is unlikely to win – the whole company needs to buy into the concept of “deal qualification”. We have two tools for this, one is a very simple approach that is guaranteed to get you quick wins, and the other is more methodical and thorough. Whichever approach you take – the sooner you start the better.

Selling is fun when it goes well and this can only happen when the whole company is involved and your sales team is efficient and effective.

Have Fun. Enjoy the journey and get more deals.

About the author

  • Ray Coyte - Sales and Marketing Director - UK

    Ray Coyte started his career in IBM and was part of the “Golden Circle” of the highest performing salesmen in the company. He was European Managing Director and General Manager for two of the largest software companies in the mobile phone industry. Ray heads an international consultancy practice that helps companies get more out of their sales teams by building bigger and better relationships with customers. View Ray's short bio

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