3 years ago
January 5, 2015

3 Ways to Get Your Sales People to do More Than Babysitting Accounts

Here are three ways to get your sales people away from babysitting accounts and back into selling mode.

Rhys Metler

You’ve noticed that your sales people have slowed production of new sales, and further investigation reveals that your leading sales people in particular are spending more and more time with existing accounts. You know they are not selling these accounts, so what is going on? Your sales people have probably fallen into the pattern of babysitting accounts. Here are three ways to get your sales people away from this counterproductive habit and back into selling mode.

1. Instill Confidence in Support’s Ability to Manage Accounts

If your sales people are spending more time babysitting accounts than actively selling, do not assume that they are doing so because servicing accounts is easier. Most sales people who fall into this pattern want to be out selling, but are afraid to let go of valuable accounts because they lack confidence in the ability of others to service the accounts they worked so hard to close. The decision makers who sign contracts with your sales people view your sales people as the face or your business, and your sales people know it. With their reputation on the line, it makes sense that your sales people want to ensure clients’ needs are met. Build confidence in your sales team that customer service and operations can handle the pressure by:

  • Immediately addressing any issues that are causing a lack of trust between your sales people and support departments
  • Ensuring that all departments understand expectations for sales, customer service, and order fulfillment – and what happens when expectations are not met
  • Creating processes for when customers should be transitioning between sales and customer service, and assign responsibilities so that personal accountability is felt for accounts in customer service as well as in sales

2. Measure Activity and Productivity Together to Understand Real KPIs – and Where to Make a Change

By tracking performance metrics for each individual on your sales team, you know where each sales person’s time is being spent. Balancing sales to existing clients against sales to new clients is one way to measure whether your sales people are spending too much time babysitting accounts, but you can also look at:

  • Time in the office. A sales person spending more time in the office than out in the field is likely babysitting accounts. Look at how many leads, cold calls, and appointments the sales person is making while in the office to determine how that time is being spent.
  • Repeat client visits. If a sales person is visiting the same accounts week after week and the contract has already been signed, he or she might not be selling.
  • Incoming calls. Have you asked your sales reps to put incoming calls into the CRM system? If you suspect that your sales people are babysitting accounts, you probably should.

Addressing the specific behavior that is manifesting as account babysitting and harming productivity will make your efforts to change the direction of your sales team’s activities that much more effective. Once the underlying causes are identified, you might also consider instituting temporary incentives to cement the behavior changes you want to see from your sales people.

3. Go Where Your Sales People Go and Coach Them to the Right Habits

When you want to get to the heart of a problem that’s affecting your sales people and your business, there is no better route than spending time with them and seeing how, and what, they are doing. Sit in on calls at the office and institute regular ride-alongs in addition to the regular meetings you are already having with your sales people. If you are consistent with these activities, you will have a better basis for determining whether or not your sales people are spending too much time babysitting instead of actively selling, and why – over-reliant customers may be encouraging your sales people into a customer service role, and by looking at all activities you can determine where to coach them to make adjustments.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 11+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and two daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day, tropical vacations and cottaging.