Here is a startling fact: Average sales people spend one quarter to one third of their time handling administrative tasks, including meaningless email.
Here is another: Average sales people spend less than 21% or their time in actual selling activities.
If you are a sales rep, you make your money selling. That’s it. Everything else, whether required by your employer or something you think you need to do by conditioning, is a distraction. Some people look at this and think: But I can’t always be in selling activities! Probably true. There’s prep work, customer research, and a lot of other requirements. If you are diligent about doing them to increase sales effectiveness, that’s probably a good thing.
On the other hand, even a small shift to increase time in sales activities can yield a huge change in your sales productivity—or that of your team. Let’s say you are making quota while committing only 21% of your time to true sales activities that make and close deals. That’s average according to the research. Let’s also assume that you are pretty average and spending about 25% of your time administratively—dealing with email from sales team colleagues, getting pulled into the email pit, handling administrative duties, scheduling your own appointments, etc. You will never be able to eliminate all of this work, but you can probably eliminate or delegate a lot of it. Most people who take a careful look at their activities can easily find 10% of their time that is just wasted and dumped down the drain. (That’s what happened to me—except that I found almost 30 hours per week, out of a 55 hour workweek, of ineffectively used time.)
Using productivity techniques like elimination and delegation, you could almost certainly squeeze 5 hours per week out of your schedule. Once you have that time, redeploy it to sales activity. That five hours represents about 10% of your average week, so your dedicated sales time moves from 21% to 31% of your time. That should be a small shift in your business practices, but look at the huge impact.
If you earn your quota of a million dollars per year using 21% of your work time, what happens if you make this small shift and go to 31% of your time making and closing sales? Well, 31% is almost 1.5 times 21%, so you could expect that sales will also multiply by 1.5%. All of a sudden, your sales can go from $1 million per year to $1.5 million per year—a 50% increase year over year, simply by changing the deployment of ten percent of your time.
Does change look good to you now?