Your Sales Reps Aren’t Selling Two-Thirds of the Time, Here’s What’s Holding Them Back

By Robert Ulrich

It is important to let your team reclaim their time and get back to doing what they do best. Rather than spending hours and hours on paperwork they should actually have time to do the important parts of their job description. That is where Artificial intelligence, automation and machine learning come in.

Let’s break down the daily tasks in the life of a sales representative to get a better understanding of how all their hours are broken down. How many hours of their time is spent in meetings with potential clients or let’s talk about how much time is spent in collecting, completing and managing all the paperwork and administrative side of things. Sales representatives spend only one-third of their time selling, which is actually quite concerning seeing as that is what their actually is. Majority of their time gets held back due to house-keeping activities such as logging all customer information onto computers and writing contracts and quotes.

This time just keeps increasing as Sale reps are then told to adapt to virtual sales and accomplish more than possible with less resources. Beginning with being just a minor frustration in the start can turn into something bigger and worse leading to major losses in revenue. However, it doesn’t have to be this way, Sales operations experts can automate the extra tasks on sales reps to do lists giving them more time to do what they do best: selling. Deploying a hybrid strategy of using both digital tools and artificial intelligence algorithms can help your team work smarter rather than harder.

Coming back to the most important question, how can we help sales representatives reclaim back two-thirds of their day? Let’s look at the top 3 time consuming tasks technology can help eliminate.

Superfluous Data Entry (Logging of Sales Data and Customer Notes)

Logging calls after taking them to make sure all important points are jotted down is an important thing to do. However, only 57% of sales reps do this. As important as it may be, it is a waste of time because it cuts into valuable selling time. This is where bringing about automation you’re your business now becomes necessary. The most obvious task to automate is always going to be data entry, no debate. Wasting time entering meaningless data or data that can be pulled automatically from somewhere else is something all managers hate having to make their employees do. What can be worse than wasting valuable time.

To overcome this challenge, sales teams should start with studying the sales process from beginning to end and constantly ask themselves one question throughout, what tool can help this process? To begin with, managers should include employees in this discussion. Maybe asking them what activities clog their day or are unnecessary and should be cut and then suggesting the right automation tools to help implement the next step.

Tools like LeadIQ help fill blanks for sales reps so they do not have to spend hours and hours looking for things or going over duplicate data. Salestrail and RingDNA Intelligent Dialer automatically log inbound and outbound calls into a CRM software helping provide sales managers with insights on rep’s performances. Rather than having to jot everything down individually it automatically shows when the call was answered, how long did it last for and what was achieved during the call. All this data is then organized into a CRM without any manual entry needed at all.

Having sales motions that hinge on sales reps having to manually enter data into metrics on an everyday basis can lead to a long term headache for all employees. It is important to always remember sales reps are humans, they are going to make mistakes, they are going to have other priorities and tasks in the top of their lists and most importantly, they are not incentivized to enter data into Salesforce everyday but they are incentivized to close revenue. And that is what they should be working towards. It is evident from research that companies that protect their sales reps from unnecessary data entry go a long way in the long term. There is no better way to increase productivity than by using these tools because the automation is all there. Reps should never have to sit down and wonder what should I do today?

Speed up how your team prioritizes leads and opportunities

It is important to have your employees make a priority list, where it is clear to them what kind of opportunity they should go for first. Choosing the wrong one can result in lost time and more promising leads can slip through the cracks. Hence, a strategic plan should be made on how to divide time and efforts among different leads, dividing the most time on leads with higher chances of closure. There are different artificial intelligence tools that can be used to help prioritize leads for you, ranking them from highest likelihood to close, some tools even having an automatic calling option embedded. This power dialer is helpful because now sales reps don’t even have to think about calling first, the dialer does it for them thanks to the automation of this tool.

Similarly, LeanData is an automation tool that lives on top of Salesforce and assigns leads based on prospect activity, how long a deal is in the process, or alerting sales reps to follow up with this person because it is considered a “hot” lead. Having a lead score system that is not up to date or in good shape can create problems for a firm in the long run, especially when the team is wasting so much previous time trying to catch unqualified and irrelevant leads.

Scale Quote and Proposal Generation

Quote generation and writing up proposals is a critical step in the sales cycle but nonetheless it is time consuming as well, eating up serious chunks of time and energy. Dealing with a handful of customers every day, all with different needs, requirements and customizations to be quoted manually from scratch can hamper efficiency. Talking about further consuming time, more than one department may be involved in the proposal writing, communication with each department and incorporating their idea into the final plan can further slow down the process. For example your company may have some picky executives who are particular on how things are communicated through a quote, you have a finance department who only wants to provide certain offers, you have sales leaders who want to achieve certain goals and so don’t want to show too much relaxation in giving discounts. All these teams on one side vs the sales reps themselves, who are all in all responsible for acting as the liaison between the company’s desires and customer’s desires. Hence, being stuck right in the middle of things.

This is where you need an automation tool, to account for competing needs while supporting your sellers on the front line. CPQ program is very famous for helping you do this, allowing your team to supply pre-approved quote templates in your company while giving reps the flexibility to configure them based on customer’s needs. Other customizations can be made according to the customer; discounts can be added accordingly then finally being sent to the right person for approval. This makes the process both faster and more efficient, reducing mistakes and errors or adding an extra zero or one less zero on a quote to prospect.

Having only a matter of hours in a day, it is important that the sales ops team helps your reps make the most of their time. Automating tedious tasks is the first way to approach things, helping sales reps become bigger and better in what they are actually supposed to be shining in: selling and closing deals.

RT Labs is an AWS certified firm and has completed several projects in AWS Cloud Application DevelopmentMachine Learning & Artificial Intelligence, AWS DevOps, and more. Contact Us now for a FREE Business Analysis We will be glad to assist you!

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