There was an interesting post, Why Your Reps Are Spending Less Time in Front of Customers, be sure to read it. They cite an alarming fact: “the amount of time reps spend in non-sales or administrative activities increased by 33% between 2004-2006 and 2010-2012.” Customer facing time is decreasing, with more activities being focused on pre and post sales activities.
They go on to say, “high-performing reps spend about 10% less time in front of their customers than core reps,” suggesting the decrease in time spent in front of customers is not as big a problem as one might think. They spend more time in research, preparation, and other areas.
So yes, I get it, but I’m not sure I buy the conclusions.
We would expect high performing reps to spend less time with each customer. They have much more impact with the customer in each call. They focus on what the customer needs to get done, they accomplish more with each interchange. they create greater value in each meeting. One would expect a whole number of derivative impacts. For example, it probably takes less time prospecting–they are targeting the right customers, with the right messages. So customers are more likely to want to see them.
Almost anything a high performing sales rep does should take less time than a core representative. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out.
We can also assume that high performing reps spend their time differently than others. The article provides some interesting information about how high performers spend their time.
But here’s where I think the article misses a point. We need to continue to maximize the time available for selling! Even though high performing sales people need less time in front of customers to accomplish similar things, we need to maximize the time they and core performers have available to sell. High performers get to chase after new opportunities, growing the business even further.
The alarming fact is the statistic that non-sales/administrative activities have increased by 33%! This distracts all sales people! Often, these time drains are unconscious. The larger the organization, the more complex internal communications are. It simply takes more time to get things done. It may be everyone is doing their job–it’s just we have to coordinate with so many more.
We can’t eliminate all non-selling activities. Sales people have many more responsibilities, they need to work with others in the organization. But we need to be conscious of time drains, we need to continue to do everything we can to maximize time available for selling.