Inside Sales Reps aren’t selling 64% of the time.
Then what are they doing?
Anybody who’s had experience in inside sales will surely understand, but it’s not very easy to admit. Besides, these sales mistakes are not always the rep’s fault. These time wasters in sales are a sales manager’s headache.
Yes, time is money.
So, each minute spent toward anything else besides selling could be considered wasted time and lost revenue for your company. While losing teams spend their time in less important tasks, winners are able to identify weaknesses and low-value tasks and drop those.
As you know, acknowledgment is the first step toward a solution. Without knowing what to fix, it’s impossible to formulate a remedy.
So, we did a bit of the legwork for you.
In this post, we discuss three sales time wasters that could be eating up your resources and giving you bad results! Surely, at least one of these applies to your team. Now, we’ll never insult you! We’re just saying that these problems run so rampant in the world of sales—that’s why sales effectiveness and efficiency seminars are such a hit!
We will list these five things, yes—but we’d like to help you out with some suggested solutions too.
Alright, let’s get started.
So, what are the biggest time wasters in sales?
Time-waster No. 1
Misaligned sales and marketing strategies
Remember when sales and marketing were two entirely separate disciplines? Well, today, that’s no longer the case. According to Aberdeen Group, those in marketing are not confined to just marketing and the same applies to sales.
As these two disciplines continue to mesh and work together, the importance of streamlining collaborative processes cannot be overstated.
Imagine if you’re having problems communicating with your marketing team. One such scenario is continuously getting bad leads from them while they continue to get those bad leads because they did not know better! That’s just one example that we can all relate to, though,
What’s dangerous is the amount of wasted time that you can clock in if you’re not in sync with the marketing department.
Prospects love to inform themselves.
They search for answers online, they review products and what others have said. Companies hire people just to research about products and pick one before they even hear you out or reach out to you.
They value recommendations from the brands they already patronize. In fact, the average B2B buyer is already 57 percent sure of a purchase before they even get the first touch from a sales professional.
Your company’s messaging should be on point and in line throughout the organization. Your marketing team should communicate your company’s brand and selling propositions through their different marketing channels in a way that when someone from their audience is converted into a lead and is transferred to the sales department, the experience is consistent. Marketing shouldn’t only be engaging. It has to be geared towards pushing prospects further into the sales funnel.
When a company has its sales and marketing strategy pinned down and in place, its sales success is up to the execution. If they don’t have these two strategies in place, they’re shooting blindly.
A lot of companies struggle to sell because their message doesn’t fit the audience they are targeting. A misaligned marketing message that doesn’t communicate the same value that sales promises to deliver will suffer immensely—not just in making sales, but in customer retention and brand trust as well.
It’s always better to stop and inspect if the strategies you’re running are misaligned, rather than implementing band-aid solutions. Sales will be lost. Up to 7 percent of sales is lost when strategies are not aligned. This will definitely hurt your process and ultimately derail your team from reaching your quotas.
What to do: Review your buyer personas
When sales, marketing, and even customer service have a unified understanding of who your prospect customers are, what they want, and how to communicate with them, the finger-pointing and rifts are reduced.
Call a meeting to sit down and review your existing buyer personal profiles. This is the first step to alignment. Qualitative and quantitative data from sales and marketing should be vetted against each other to align your operations not only with each other but to customers’ buying journey.
Time-waster No. 2
Disorganized and inefficient lead management
Related to the first one, lead management is another process that eats so much time. This may be rampant in your team, but did you ever stop to notice that a lot of reps’ minutes are spent looking for leads rather than calling them? A misaligned marketing strategy may be the culprit—but there are also many other ways that cause this delay in the sales process.
Say, sales gets a list of names. However, this list is not opted-in—meaning, you really don’t have permission to send emails to these people. Still, your team is instructed to call every one of those “leads”, behind the justification of gauging interest and trying to get a quick win.
What do you think happens? Of course, these leads are not qualified at all, so the cold calls get frozen. These unqualified calls waste your time. All you know is these people on your list fit the profile of who might be interested in your product, but beyond the general demographic and industry information, you have nothing. Days run, and you will have wasted a lot of hours contacting empty prospects.
Inefficiency equals wasted time. Of course, having better lead generation practices in place, this inefficiency can be remedied quick. The amount of time a sales rep wastes on calling unqualified prospects, treating them life qualified leads is wasting your most valuable resources. Cut back on the amount of time your sales reps actually hunt down leads and have them get on the phone with qualified prospects. Sales reps should be concerning themselves with developing relationships with prospects and not breaking down sheets of ice with people who are probably not interested in your products.
What to do: Find a way to qualify contacts
Instead of directly calling these leads, find a way to give them a free valuable resource with a visit to your landing page. This could be an industry report, market research—something of value to them.
That said, they are a targeted audience at most. Making the most out of the situation means getting some content to them. You will get a good amount of responses if you’ve targeted your content right, and have given them something really valuable. Now, you have “qualified” the leads and can continue building a relationship with them. Besides companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50 percent more sales ready leads.
Meantime, have people work on existing qualified leads. There are a lot of tools to automate this process that you wouldn’t need nearly as much time as you would have to use if you’d make cold calls to all of them.
Time-waster No. 3
Cumbersome paper processes and administrative tasks
As much as people want to glorify old school approaches in this time of tech boom, there’s a simple governing principle to remember when making decisions: if it eats up more time than its tech counterpart, it’s just not worth it.
Of course, sales reps should be spending most, if not all, of their time selling. The reality today is that there is a lot of time spent—wasted—on administrative work that has to be completed every day.
Leads are scribbled and have to be inputted. Orders, reports and audits are all jotted down on paper or spread across files in reps’ computers. To create reports, reps would have to collate all of the information, scattered in different containers and mediums.
All this eats up 29% of a sales rep’s time. Of course, if you don’t have an alternative, more efficient system in place, these things still have to be done. Without reports and content, leads cannot be planned on and moved through the sales funnel.
What to do: Embrace technology.
Almost all contact centers and sales outfits use customer relationship management (CRM) systems, but not all have embraced optimization.
There is a lot of technology available to solve problems in sales. CRMs already support extensions and plugins that help streamline operations for sales reps. Forms can be filled out on the spot. There is technology that allows reps to maximize their time by soliciting micro-data from them while in-call. These can be synced from their mobile devices to their computers. Computer-telephony integration (CTI) technology like Tenfold help reduce time that’s wasted not selling.
Using technology for faster and more organized operations is necessary for any sales team that wants to thrive in any industry today.
Eliminate inefficiencies, sell more
Is your team guilty of wasting time on one or all of these things?
There are many other major time wasters that can be found on an individual level among representatives: procrastination, delay, or lack of skill/training. Time is wasted whenever something less important is conceived as more worthy of your time, whether for comfort or wrong thinking.
There is, of course, always so much to do with so little time. So, it is very important to use time efficiently.
Remember, your team’s success is determined by how you use your time. Identify your weaknesses, rectify, and march on.
What are other sales time-wasters sales teams and representatives should be looking out for? Do you have tips on how to keep teams in check? Please share it with us! We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.