You may have heard the statistic that reps spend just ⅓ of their time actually selling. Of course, every business wishes that their sales team could sell more in a shorter period of time. But unfortunately, some businesses actually believe that the way to do this is to tell their reps to dial faster and stay later.

As sales leaders, we all know that certain tasks like manually dialing are a waste of time and can easily be automated. However, being more efficient isn’t necessarily about working faster so much as it is about working smarter. After all, your team only has so much capacity. And what if they’re doing the wrong things? Asking them to do these wrong things at a faster pace isn’t going to accomplish anything.

Here are four areas where your sales team is probably wasting valuable time, and how you can help them work smarter to achieve greater efficiencies and productivity.

Manually entering too much data.

When HubSpot polled sales reps about the biggest challenges to using their company’s CRM, the No. 1 complaint was manual data entry. What’s more, research shows that the average employee using Salesforce spends roughly 4 hours per week doing data entry. That’s 10% of the workweek doing something the CRM should either make seamless or handle automatically.

To avoid this trap, choose a sales platform that automates data capture as much as possible, particularly for repetitive and mundane tasks like call logging. Where manual entry is necessary, leverage dropdowns and pick lists to simplify the task. Not only does this give your reps back valuable time in their days, but it also ensures that data is consistently and accurately captured.

Completing unnecessary process steps.

Sometimes companies forget that, while consistently adhering to your process steps is critical, your sales process is supposed to work for your organization – not the other way around. Teams can waste time – or even worse, lengthen sales cycles and lose deals – by completing unnecessary or misplaced process steps that they have simply been conditioned to take.

As such, the best organizations consistently review and revise their sales processes to make sure every step counts. In addition to interviewing your reps to learn where they feel they’re getting hung up, another effective way to do this is to utilize a stage duration analysis report. This report allows you to see, on average, how much time deals are spending in each of your sales pipeline stages.

Using ineffective scripts and templates.

Chances are that your team is using email templates and prospecting scripts to avoid reinventing the wheel each time they engage with opportunities. Unfortunately, if these assets are not measured on a regular basis, this strategy can actually be counterproductive. Case in point: an average buyer gets more than 100 emails a day but clicks on just 2 of them, while only 2% of cold calls result in a scheduled appointment.

First, make sure that your team is consistently documenting the talk tracks and templates that they use in their outreach. Then, leverage an activity outcomes report like the one below to identify which templates or scripts are resulting in the fastest and highest response rates. Be sure to revise those with low conversion rates, and widely distribute the winners.

Reaching out to the wrong leads.

As best-selling sales author Jill Konrath pointed out in a recent interview, you can make 100 bad calls and get zero meetings. Or, you can make 5 good calls and get a 20% response rate. While 500 dials is impressive, if 499 of those calls were to businesses or contacts that were not the right fit for your business, (and if just one converted then they probably were), then they were a waste of time. You would be better off making fewer calls to a more relevant audience.

This is a mistake that many sales folks make: getting caught up in activity metrics without taking the time to do research and be strategic. Don’t let this happen to your team. Instead, pay close attention to the types of leads that have not only converted, but have also generated a lot of value for your business in the past. What was the company size? The contact title? The industry? Etc, etc. Use this information as a guideline to conduct outreach and prioritize leads.

Time’s A’wastin’

As salespeople, we only have so much time to make contact with leads, build relationships and close deals. Every moment counts and can make the difference between hitting your quota or falling behind.