If you are a sales leader who is constantly challenged to increase your team’s productivity, read on for advice from Mark Zokle.
Q: Is it possible to grow revenue without adding new salespeople?
Mark Zokle: It is – and it’s probably not as difficult as one might imagine. Pace Productivity research has revealed that less than one quarter of a sales rep’s time is spent on active sales tasks. Based on a 40 hour work week, that equates to less than nine hours – or about a day — actually spent in meetings, preparing contracts, or closing deals.
Q: How is that possible?
Mark Zokle: Many salespeople – and managers, too – aren’t as productive as they should be. If a company’s sales force increases their customer face time by just 22%, they could feasibly double revenue and still only actively work about 2 ½ days per week.
Q: What are some tips on increasing productivity?
Mark Zokle: There are a number of ways for a sales manager to encourage his or her team to work smarter. It starts with a full assessment of the situation. The manager must watch how the team works, both together and individually. Do they stay on task? Are they responding to emails in a timely manner? Are they spending enough time tying up loose ends before important meetings? Once lapses are identified, it becomes easier to tailor a solution to each team member. Working efficiently is a skill learned, and it starts with shedding light on the fact that there’s a problem.
Q: Should a manager implement new rules to encourage efficiency?
Mark Zokle: Absolutely! Having a core set of guidelines will give your sales staff clear expectations on what duties are to be completed each day. Some of the best rules a manager can apply center on how to determine priorities at the beginning of the day, and keeping track of “time sucking” tasks like cleaning spam email folders, looking for customer information, or troubleshooting computer issues.