Just recently I saw a sales rep ask a time management question concerning how much time he should be spending in his sales activities when compared to his administration work.
After keeping a time log, this sales rep discovered that he was spending a lot of his time engaged in administrative type stuff and spending a small percentage of his time in front of clients. Apparently, his managers placed a high priority on completing paperwork and this sales rep wanted to know if this was standard for anyone in sales looking to manage their time effectively.
When I did some work with a network marketing group, one of my mentors had a cartoon that he liked to bring out whenever the topic of time management and administration came up. The cartoon depicted a toddler sitting on a toilet next to a roll of toilet paper. The toddler in his picture had a really grumpy look on his face.
The caption read, “No job is finished until the paperwork is done!”
I agree with my past mentor that sometimes you just have to sit down and get the job completed, no matter how distasteful. But some of this stuff doesn’t have to be done by you.
For example, we use Salesforce.com here to manage our resources and our client information. We encourage all sales reps to enter in as much information as possible and as correctly as possible. This information proves to be invaluable to the sales rep when they create their solution or they return back to the client and make the case for additional services.
Initially, this information is nowhere else except in the sales rep’s mind. If anything should happen to the sales rep, for instance, if they go on vacation out in the middle of the desert where there is no cell reception, then this information is not accessible. Or, if the sales rep forgets it, then it is gone forever.
So we encourage our reps to take advantage of the organized framework that Salesforce.com provides by scheduling out a block of time and correctly putting that information into the system on a regular basis.
Here are two reasons for getting that information into Salesforce.com.
First, if it is entered in correctly and in a timely fashion, then a lot of other repetitive administrative work can be automated, such as report generation, marketing campaign creation and follow up scheduling. This is the type of repetitive administrative type work that we don’t want our sales reps spending the majority of their time conducting.
Paradoxically, when they manage their time to enter this information into the system, it actually saves them time later on in the sales process, freeing them up for completing high value tasks.
As a sales rep, you should be spending your time doing high value tasks. And while administrative tasks are necessary, they really don’t bring in any money. Think about it; when was the last time you met your quota by doing only paperwork?
You need to be out there engaging current and potential customers because that’s where the money is.
Second, while they are important, administrative tasks can be performed by almost anyone. You, however, are the only one who can lead your client through the sale process from opening to close. So when we look at this from a resource deployment perspective, it’s just poor planning to have you do activities that someone else can do while you ignore the activities that only you and no one else can do.
When we talk about time management in our advance programs, effective delegation often comes up as one of the time saving processes that all managers and sales people say is essential but everyone agrees that they can be better at implementing it.
So for all of you sales reps that don’t want to fill in important information about your client in Salesforce.com, just buck up and do it in the off hours because it will help you organize overall account strategy.
On the other hand, if you find that you are behind a desk creating reports instead of out talking with clients, then you aren’t managing your time wisely. It’s time to get with your sales manager and present your case for a sales administrator, so you can free up your time to do what you do best.