Time management is an essential skill to be successful in sales. From generating leads to growing existing accounts, a keen sense of organization and timeliness is key to move along the sales cycle. Despite this, a new study from Ken Krogue of InsideSales.com Labs indicates that salespeople spend most of their time engaged in non-revenue generating activities. Of the 720 salespeople interviewed, only 23% of respondents surveyed follow any sort of time management practices at all. In a position where effective time management directly correlates to properly managing and closing sales leads, wouldn’t a salespersons make time management a priority? Shockingly, nearly two-thirds of their time is spent engaging in tasks unrelated to sales at all.
This study begs the question, are reps not using CRM systems? CRMs have typically been the basis of all sales functions, and if they were being actively utilized one would assume that the percentage of time respondents spent partaking in sales-related activities would be higher. Krogue’s study delved further into these numbers to try and find a root cause. Respondents indicated that only 18% of their time was spent using CRM, and 9.1% of their overall time in CRM is spent within spreadsheets as they try to manage CRM tasks. They have identified CRM as their biggest grievance in this process; this begins to explain their aversion to using it. When not using CRM, reps spend an average of 33.2% of their time sending sales-related emails. Furthermore, the study found that 14.8% of their time went to administrative tasks. This left the reps surveyed with an average of only 0.04% of their time using tools designed to gather sales intelligence.
Ease of operation, improved functions, and technology integration such as content management and better prospecting tools are just a few ways that the current CRM climate can be improved to facilitate productivity with sales reps. These improvements would provide added value to reps who are currently frustrated with outdated CRM systems and therefore do not find it useful as a system that functions as a sales management solution. By adding these missing features, CRM could become an all-encompassing sales software instead of its current state of nuisance. The typical sales rep archetype does not usually have much resilience against failure and may be reluctant to try the system numerous times without improved results.
Similarly, reps may be hesitant to duplicate work efforts between attempting to use CRM, switching to other technologies, and trying to reach management’s requirement quotas in conjunction with other platforms for sales activities. With increased usage, sales reps have the potential to grasp a better understanding of their accounts and their position in the sales cycle, notice and identify existing gaps for improvement, find areas of new opportunity, and grow accounts while driving better sales results.
Going forward, reps need a powerful but easy to use tool to aid them while selling. CRM is an undeniably essential tool for sales reps, but there are functionalities that need improvement to reach full potential. The reps in this study identified clear difficulties that arise with existing CRM systems and while necessary to sales functions, there are new features that need to be integrated so that CRM can be an all-inclusive program. In doing so, reps would have all the necessary tools to do their job in one place and would not feel the need to split such large amounts of their time with other non-revenue generating activities. Going forward, companies should work with their sales team to identify and fix specific issues with their existing CRM functionality, or lack thereof. In doing so, they can begin to fix the problem, remove the need for reps to look elsewhere, and spend more of their valuable time on sales related activities.