When you’re trying to run a profitable business and are reliant upon product sales to do so, what would you want your salespeople to spend most of their time doing? If you answered selling then you’re on the right track! Yes, of course you want them to be selling. Field sales reps have a specific skillset that is integral to any organization. However, as with many other aspects of business operations , there is often some organizational or clerical error that will keep your salespeople from producing results. To get back to maximizing sales and fostering positive client relationships, figure out what these errors are in your organization and fix them. As a starting point, here are the most common time wasters in field sales.
- Disorganized/ No Record Keeping
“Today I have the meeting with the guy at that store and he always orders that drink and wants to know the status of the thing.” Field reps deal with many different people, in different industries, with different needs. Assuming they will be able to remember them all off the top of their heads is unreasonable. That’s why it is so important to keep up to date records on all clients and transactions. Not having to track down this information prior to a sales meeting can save your salespeople and your business time, and better, bring in money when sales reps don’t have to wing it at the meeting. Make sure that there is an efficient and organized system in place for your reps to catalogue important client records to avoid experiencing this problem in the future.
- Awaiting Approval
Coming in at number two on HubSpot’s list, waiting is a big time waster for field reps. This is usually a result of inefficient communication with managers. When meeting with clients who have special requests, reps generally have to check in with managers to ensure they are capable of following through on them. If reps have to wait around to hear back from a manager, they are wasting time that they could be using more effectively elsewhere. To address this, make sure that you have an effective, instant communication system in place. Emails can stack up and be ignored, as can phone calls. Consider a mobile instant messaging app that you can use at work to ensure you and your reps are able to be in constant, quick communication with each other.
- Administrative Tasks
After field reps visit their client locations, they typically have to fill out orders, reports, and audits; this is followed by organizing ,packaging, and sending the physical copies to their managers to keep on record. This is inefficient in multiple ways. First, if reps are filling out all of this paperwork and completing administrative tasks, they are not spending enough time on their clients. Next, there is a delay between when the rep sends the forms and when the manager receives them. Lastly, if the rep sends the records away to management, he has no records to consult the next time he goes to visit that client. Using digital forms is a clear way for field and sales reps to save time . They can fill forms out on their mobile device on the spot, managers receive them immediately, and the record can still be accessed by the rep even when he has already sent it to the manager. To save time in the future, implement a software tool that allows for easy form creation and transferral.
As it is, field reps spend a lot of their time traveling from client to client. To maximize time spent with clients rather than time spent on the road, have reps map out customers’ locations in a logical progression so they are meeting all clients in one area before moving on to another. Doing this can save reps time in one of their most time consuming daily tasks.
- Poor Scheduling
Having an organized schedule is vital to having a productive day. To fit the greatest number of meetings into one day, have reps plan their schedule around their travel route and the amount of time each meeting generally takes. As mentioned above, by mapping out client locations and scheduling visits based upon proximity, reps can minimize travel time and optimize time spent on client visits. Additionally, if reps keep track of how long each meeting takes, they can know how long to schedule it for next time. This will save time when reps schedule two hours for a meeting that will take one, or are running behind when an hour meeting goes and hour and a half. Log meeting times in with the other records of each client to have a good idea of how much time a rep may need.
You hire field reps to visit clients, keep them happy, and sell your product. If reps are subject to an inefficient internal system, the time they spend actually fulfilling these tasks diminishes. Find a solution to these five big time wasting issues and make sure it is simple and comprehensive. A small learning curve will ensure there is little confusion and improvement will begin immediately to keep your team on target.
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