Your sales team was hired to sell, but how much of a sales rep’s day is actually devoted to selling?
We want to help you and your team learn how to make the most out of your daily activities.
We don’t have a silver bullet or a magical secret to 10x your revenue overnight.
Instead, you’ll find a selection of simple, practical ideas you can implement fast to transform your sales process into an efficient routine. You’ll start shaving a bunch of time off your admin tasks to give you and your team more time to do what you do best…
The Facts: What the Evidence Reveals About Sales Productivity
Pace Productivity has been conducting productivity studies since 1990. They conducted a study in 2017 to determine exactly how much time salespeople spend on selling activities during their regular work week.
The results are shocking.
On average, sales reps spend just 22% of the workweek on selling activities.
That means a whopping 78% of a salesperson’s time is not spent on selling.
Instead of the bulk of activities being focused on driving deals forward, 46% of the average salesperson’s week is spent planning, traveling, and handling administrative tasks like updating spreadsheets and organizing data.
Don’t Let These Numbers Get You Down
It’s no surprise non-selling activities slow down the sales process and choke your momentum - leading to a higher chance of deals rotting.
The subsequent effect of time-consuming admin has a serious impact on your business.
The more time you waste, the longer your competitors have to muscle in.
That’s a significant handicap on your ability to meet your rising sales targets.
These stats may be daunting for you as a sales manager, but you can use some simple time-saving tactics to swap those percentages around so your reps can spend 22% of their time on admin and 78% on sales activities.
Your foundation is critical. First you must set up your sales process to focus on the actions that drive sales rather than unavoidable time-suckers like unnecessary meetings and admin.
In short, you need to minimize your team’s non-selling activities and maximize their precious selling time.
The Problem With Productivity “Hacks”
You’ll find an insurmountable deluge of advice online about ‘growth-hacking’, “productivity-hacking”, or hacking pretty much anything to get more sales.
Don’t buy into the hype.
Shortcuts and hacks are short term boosters. These tactics won’t make more sales for you.
The best hack to selling more is not doing more or doing less of any one thing. If you want sustainable improvements in sales performance - you need to find repeatable ways of doing the right things.
So why are “productivity hacks” so hot right now?
The pressure for consistent growth is relentless, and thought of a quick-fix solution for low productivity is tempting to say the least.
Sadly - there are no shortcuts to get you the sustainable results you need for genuine business success.
But, you can still make efficient changes to a process to get the outcomes you want.
We’re not talking about a time saving ‘hack’ that you use once and forget about - we are talking about conscious, long-term change for the better.
A Guide to Trimming the Fat in Your Team’s Day-To-Day Routine
If you’re aiming to maximize your average selling time, then you’re in the right place.
While there are many tips to boost selling time, our focus in this guide will be on one of the most time-consuming activities for sales teams, sales managers, or any white collar worker bee:
Whether it’s a company meeting, a client meeting, a meeting that could have been an e-mail, or a meeting about a meeting (you know they exist!) - chances are you are spending more time in meetings than you need to.
The most likely reason for time wasted in meetings is simple...
The time-frame and desired outcomes of the meeting are either unclear or non-existent.
So the question remains: how do you make the most of your meetings while reducing the time they take away from selling?
hack Tactic #1: Use Military-Style Meetings
Regimented meetings will slice inefficiencies from your weekly routine almost instantly.
There’s no need to spend too much time developing a structured agenda when you adopt a military approach to your meetings.
What does a “military-style” meeting look like?
Military-style meetings are short, punchy and effective. Like a drill sergeant, you need to develop the habit of establishing certain parameters for every meeting to achieve an army level of efficiency. These include:
- Establishing a one sentence purpose
- Setting a desired outcome
- Specifying a start and end time
- Naming the meeting by the maximum length of time you want to spend
Don’t just say you’re going to have a ‘quick’ or ‘short’ meeting. Instead, call it a ‘20-minute meeting’ when scheduling it into everyone’s calendar to manage expectations before you get together.
The benefits of military-style meetings are significant and repeatable. Here’s the value you can expect to add for your team on an ongoing basis:
- Your team can easily manage their schedule with certainty around the specified time frame
- You have more scope to cut a discussion short without frustrating any participants
- If someone asks a question about a topic not relevant to the meeting, you can fall back on the target time limit to veer away from irrelevant subjects without feeling like people will take this interruption personally
Needless to say, point 3 can be a little tricky.
While a military-style meeting must have structure, you can be structured without being rigid. Don’t be afraid to give people the chance to voice a topic outside the agenda, but make sure you maintain control over unnecessary diversions.
Always respond by giving people a way to continue the conversation outside the parameters of the meeting. Suggest that they send an email or schedule another meeting (military-style of course) if the subject is worth pursuing in depth.
hack Tactic #2: Make Sure Meeting Takeaways Are Crystal Clear
There’s a surprisingly easy way to make sure your meeting’s purpose is on point.
Mike Weinberg, The New Sales Coach, puts it best:
“I like to wrap it up by going around the table and getting honest feedback about the meeting from each person. It’s also productive to ask each attendee to share their main takeaways and what they can implement immediately when back in the field or on the phone.”
Mike calls this concept the “takeaway”.
If your takeaways are consistent with the purpose of your meeting - you can be confident you are on the right track and your meeting has been effective.
But don’t just stop with a takeaway.
Weinberg also suggests limiting the goals set after a meeting to just a few.
We know actions are important, but a simple and clear message to focus on in the takeaway helps your reps to do more.
“Provide marching orders for the next month or quarter. Ensure there is great clarity of mission and that there is no question about priorities. If you’re into sales contests, this is the place to kick it off and stoke the competitive nature of your winners.”
Remember - short, sharp military meetings don’t have to be boring and regimented.
Takeaways present you with the perfect opportunity to flare up the passion of your reps and unite them in pursuing a single, meaningful goal.
Stoking the competitive fires of your reps at the close of a meeting will help you nudge results forward, especially when your fired-up sales team is focused on one practical takeaway after your 20-minute meeting is finished.
hack Tactic #3: Be Smart About Scheduling
Salespeople often have several journeys a week to make by car or train as they hustle between the office and leads. As a result, a lot of time tends to get wasted in transit.
Scattering meetings throughout the week only adds to the time your team needs to spend in cars and trains to make it to the office. Try and allocate certain days of the week or times (i.e. weekday mornings) for team meetings at the office.
Not only does this reduce time spent commuting, it also helps reps plan more face-to-face time with prospects.
Speaking of prospects, client meetings can also be scheduled smartly.
Encourage your sales team to arrange their client meetings according to location. By mapping out your route beforehand, your sales soldiers can batch their meetings into into clusters depending on their leads’ location. This translates into more clients, less time traveling, and lower fuel costs (save the environment!).
The right technology can also help you streamline and automate key elements of the meeting scheduling process. Instead of battling the cumbersome email tag involved with setting up a meeting with a prospect or customer - Pipedrive’s Scheduler will allow you to create a recurring event or one single event and manage all types of internal and external appointments on an fully integrational calendar.
- While it’s good for some organizations to encourage client meet-ups, make sure you also test the impact of face-to-face time on conversions. You may find that you can get the same or better results without the time-sucking trips.
Better Meetings Means Better Sales Reports
There you have it: everything you need to know to maximize the value and productivity of your meetings. These simple strategies will have you well on your way to adding productive selling time to your team’s schedule.
Organization and a structured sales process is the foundation you need to save time and cut admin. Investing in the right tools can help you and your team focus on the actions that drive sales (particularly with the help of Pipedrive’s smart Scheduler tool.)
Get your team on track and start your 14-day free trial of Pipedrive’s agile CRM.