Talk of artificial intelligence, robots, and new apps is increasingly common amongst salespeople today. Technology can automate what would never have been possible only a few years ago. It can make us more efficient, engage more leads and close more business. With knowledge of Boolean search and access to resources in the cloud, we can all find what we need in an instant, often for a few dollars per month.
Utilisation of these tools, acting on the insights and completing associated tasks is altogether another challenge.
According to a 2015 report by Docurated (a plugin app to salesforce.com that helps salespeople find and share content), only 30% of a typical salesperson’s time is spent on selling. The balance 70% is taken up by online research, content and administrative related tasks, driven by technology.
Now I’m not advocating that technology is to blame, far from it, these advancements make it possible to accelerate sales and engage in high-value tasks e.g. messaging warmed up leads on LinkedIn which is very effective. The problem is Sales and Marketing leaders are now faced with a new challenge – improving sales productivity. How do you move the dial from 30% of a salesperson’s time spent ‘selling’ to say 70% or 80%?
Improving sales productivity is seen as the no. 1 driver for hitting targets. Yet in the same Docurated report it concluded that Marketing owns sales productivity in 52% of companies surveyed, whilst only 4% of marketing resources are allocated to sales productivity.
There is clearly a disconnect between what is seen to be the most important driver for revenue growth and what money is actually being spent on.
So what is the solution to this problem?
Salespeople need help. Changing market dynamics and buyer behaviour means we need to get more personal, timely and relevant to our market engagement and sales. The fact is that these sales and marketing technologies are brilliant and they should be purchased and leveraged. However, in reality, should the desired results be experienced there are many more business processes which need to be performed by people which take time. But these don’t have to be performed by your talented professional salespeople.
It is time to relook at the human capacity needed to operate an efficient sales and marketing function today.
Hire sales support assistants. With slick communication platforms, it is now possible to hire remote staff who can get these tasks done at a fraction of the cost of in-house administrators. Here are some examples of the tasks they can do on behalf of your valuable salespeople to free up time:
- Researching companies and leads online
- Sourcing and validating email addresses
- Researching and sharing content
- Establishing new connections
- Sending one to one automated personalised email sequences
- Monitoring lead activity and engagement
- Updating CRM with social insights on leads
- Creating tasks within CRM to trigger sales activity
- Scheduling sales appointments
Select a company whose staff are experienced working with sales and marketing technologies and processes. They will quickly take away the heavy lifting from your salespeople freeing up as much as 40% of their time which can be focused on more calling, better proposals or high-value social selling activities.
Have you considered the increasing time drain that advances in technology and changes in buyer behaviour are having on your salespeople? What are you doing about it?