Your sales staff may be trying their best, but chances are, they aren’t utilizing their time as efficiently as they could be. Every wasted hour is a potential sale, or lead, that can slip away, and another chip away at your collective morale. Regardless of whether you pay your salespeople salary or commission, it’s in your best interest to keep them productive, and that means pinpointing the root causes of that wasted time.
Main Avenues of Productivity Loss
These are the main areas where your salespeople are liable to lose productivity:
- UI/UX issues. A few years ago, Avon halted a planned $125 million software overhaul based on feedback from its pilot program. The problem? The iPad app was too hard for salespeople to use—and they began quitting the company in droves. Today’s salesperson depends on apps, including a strong CRM platform, to be productive. Bad UI slows everything to a crawl, wasting countless hours with redundant functions, unclear layouts, and counterintuitive default settings.
- Meetings and office time. Your salespeople likely spend at least some of their time in the field, but when they’re forced to come into the office for meetings and other “necessary” office functions, they instantly lose the ability to sell. Collectively, we spend about 15 percent of our work time in meetings—a percentage that’s growing—and executives believe more than two-thirds of all meetings are unproductive. That’s 4 hours of lost productivity every week for each of your salespeople (not to mention time lost commuting to and from the office, if they’re called in from the field).
- Sleep and performance inhibition. Don’t forget that your salespeople’s performances are at least partially based on their mental and physical disposition. Eating healthy, exercising, and getting enough sleep every night can skyrocket a person’s productivity, enabling them to get more done in a few hours than most people do in a day. You can’t control your employees’ personal habits, but you can help them invest in healthier habits with better mattresses, gym memberships, and overall corporate wellness programs.
- Secondary tasks. Your salespeople are sales specialists, so they should be spending their time selling. Unfortunately, most salespeople get caught up in secondary tasks, such as catching up on emails, managing paperwork, helping out with client-related emergencies, and managing other office responsibilities. While this is helpful, and a sign of a team player, these are responsibilities that should be handled by other specialists in your organization. Keep your team members focused on what they do best.
So how can you use this information to improve your sales team’s productivity?
- Invest in the right CRM platform. Your first job is to invest in a customer relationship management (CRM) platform that your salespeople can use, and use efficiently. Don’t go with the first product you come across, and run some thorough tests with your staff to make sure it’s intuitive, fast, and cost effective before implementing it. To get started, check out SAP’s line of innovative CRM products.
- Facilitate higher productivity. Work on improving your employees’ per-hour capabilities by investing in them. Help them achieve higher wellness standards, and reward them for being more productive.
- Cut the waste. Your salespeople need to be selling. Period. If they’re doing anything else—whether that’s attending a meeting or helping someone else with a task—make sure it ties back to landing an eventual sale.
With these tactics, you can eliminate much of the productivity loss that will interfere with your long-term sales targets.