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Whatcha doing?

The other day, in my article titled “Knock! Knock!”, I asked all Sales Managers to review their Sales Team’s work and confirm whom they are meeting; it’s important to know that because the speed and surety of business depends on the team’s ability to find and convince the decision-makers

Today, I want you to reflect on another aspect of your team’s work – how are they spending their time? What specific activities are taking up your precious Sales resources’ time?

I had presented the concept of “Touch Time” a few weeks back – time spent facing the key personnel in the Accounts. Such meetings help the team to reveal the customer’s pain-points, which leads to Solutions and in turn Sales/Revenue for your organisation.

Meetings with the customer can also be for the following:

–          To understand the customer’s comfort in using your product / service

–          To collect useful feedback that can lead to product improvement

–          To discover complaints or concerns early enough

–          To collect references or testimonials or for relationship building

And of course the meetings can also be about doing more business with this Account.

But there are a few other things that take up your team-members’ time.

  1. Follow – up

After the order is placed, booking stock, delivery, activating the customer’s account or configuring the required solution in the system can take time and may not be done on schedule.

The Sales Executive being the single-point contact for your customers would call him or her  to ask for timely action and he would then follow-up with other departments in your company – that means less time available for selling!

Can all the departments involved in the process be made aware of the consequences of their actions and can you develop a culture that’s Customer Centric – everyone working together to produce the “Aha!” moments for your customers.

It will also free more time for Sales.

  1. Reporting

Are your team-members bogged down with constant requests for reports? Can you automate processes so that most reports are provided by the machine – the Sales Personnel only needed to provide reports on the activities outside the office – mainly regarding customers, market and competition? Can the number of reports be kept to a minimum and duplication of work be avoided.

This again would free time for productive work – “Touch Time”, remember?

  1. Too much time spent in front of a Customer

Yes, this can be a problem too. Sales Executive, like most other people, enjoying being in the Comfort Zone. Customers who are nice to them or the Accounts that are within easy reach might get more visits. The team may not be allocating time based on business potential, importance and relevance. They may not push hard to get an appointment with that decision-maker who is playing hard to get – but that diffidence or indifference may be stopping them from winning big.

These are just three of the bottle-necks – there may be many more. As Sales Leader you need to be aware of the actions of each team-member and how things are configured at your end – that’s possible only when you are constantly “in it”.

Stay in touch with your team – be with them, be around not to find fault but to promote the right actions – as a catalyst of productivity.

Whatcha doing, Sales Manager?

P.S. –  This article is not suggesting that Sales Executives need not follow-up or that they shouldn’t be asked to make reports; they cannot abdicate those responsibilities. It’s only talking about right-sizing time spent on those activities.

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  1. Jamy
    April 19, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    Critical stuff that quite a few managers either ignore or take for granted and only realise when the targets are not met or operations not running smoothly… good points Jay!

    • JayadevM
      April 20, 2012 at 3:28 am

      Jamy, that right. Managers need to be proactive and take action earlier rather than later.

      Thank you.

  2. April 20, 2012 at 1:37 am

    Paint Points is a good pulse check of customer comfort level… We say it different – point of care and point of need…Uday

    • JayadevM
      April 20, 2012 at 3:33 am

      That’s a nice way of seeing it, Uday.

      If that makes your organisation’s actions Customer Focused and prompts timely response you are onto a good thing.

      Thank you for stopping by.

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