3 years ago
January 6, 2015

5 Reasons Your Sales People Spend Too Much Time on Non-Selling Tasks

Understanding why sales people are spending too much time on non-selling tasks is the first step to re-capturing time.

Rhys Metler

By some estimates, sales people spend more than half of their time on non-selling tasks. Time that is unnecessarily spent on tasks that are not directly related to the business of selling reduces not only revenue for your organization, but compensation for the sales people whose time is misdirected. Understanding why sales people are spending too much time on non-selling tasks is the first step to re-capturing time that can be better spent on sales activities.

Reason #1: Meetings Without An Agenda

The more time your sales people can spend selling rather than spending time on non-selling tasks the more your sales people can sell, yet meetings without a stated purpose may be taking hours away from active selling time on a weekly basis. Whether internal or external, meetings without a concrete action plan are a danger to be avoided. Be sure that any meeting that you schedule for your sales team is necessary and to the point. Coaching your sales people on scheduling and participating in effective meetings with clients and others can also reduce the time spent on non-selling tasks.

Reason #2: Inefficient Relationship Management

Sales people who are using consultative selling techniques are proud of the ability to build and maintain relationships with prospects and clients, and rightly so. However, the tasks involved in managing these relationships over the long term can build and take time away from opportunities for active selling. Encourage your sales people to minimize non-selling tasks by:

  • Using customer relationship management (CRM) software to track follow ups and send reminders at less frequent intervals
  • Scheduling follow ups more efficiently, especially time consuming in-person follow ups that involve out of office travel
  • Honestly examining the true sales opportunity of so-called long term prospects and the necessity/frequency of contacts with established clients

Reason #3: Lack of Definition Between Sales and Customer Service

Sales people commonly feel a sense of ownership towards converted accounts, which is not necessarily negative. This can become negative if that ownership is encouraging dedicated sales people to adopt a customer service role because of a lack of definition or confidence between departments. If a sales team does not have confidence in the processes that happen after a contract is signed, little that you do will encourage them away from the customer service roles that encourage sales people to spend time on non-selling tasks. Build confidence and clear processes for account customer service and maintenance to correct this issue.

Reason #4: Struggling to Meet Administrative Requirements

Every organization has administrative requirements for its sales people, and in many cases these non-selling tasks are necessary to the health of the business. Yet not all administrative tasks are necessary, and many of those that are could be handled by support staff rather than experienced and effective sales people who could be out on the front line selling. Administrative requirements potentially reassign include:

  • Order processing, tracking, and verification
  • Generating sales reports for clients, management, or self-reference
  • Updating CRM and other databases

Reason #5: Over- or Under-Planning

Over- and under-planning can be equally detrimental to the ability of a sales person to focus on selling. The danger of over-planning is in spending too much time away from selling while planning for routine tasks and eventualities that do not occur. Sales people who under-plan may find themselves struggling to meet deadlines, quotas, and other requirements which sets into motion a cycle of inefficiency from which it may be difficult to recover. Helping your sales people plan selling and non-selling tasks effectively can help combat this problem.

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.