At a recent SiriusDecisions Summit, speakers presented a new model to help marketing and sales leaders understand how sales representatives allocate their time. The model parallels Stephen Covey’s four quadrants: important/urgent, important/non-urgent, non-important/urgent, and non-important/non-urgent.
What follows is an explanation of the Sirius Productivity Framework, in descending order of how your representatives should allocate their time. For each quadrant, we offer specific tips to help you maximize sales force productivity with this model as your framework.
Core selling activities/direct engagement. These activities help reps either get a new opportunity or advance an existing opportunity through their sales pipeline by directly engaging buyers through email, phone or Web, or face-to-face. Maximize your time in these activities.
- Use online meeting software. Online meeting software gives you all the presentation capabilities of a sales visit, without the expense. Why make a phone call, referencing content, when you could be integrating that content into a dynamic presentation?
- Eliminate content hunting. Prior to every sales call or visit, representatives in companies that are not equipped with a sales enablement solution spend countless hours – up to 20% of their time – in pursuit of content to advance the deal. With new sales enablement technologies, this can become an automated function that frees representatives to engage in core selling activities.
Core selling activities/internal. These activities either help a representative get into or advance a deal, but they are done behind the scenes without engaging the buyer. They include research, pre-call planning, proposal writing, responding to a request for proposals, finding/creating sales content, opportunity strategy, account planning, etc. Focus on streamlining these activities.
- Automate buying trigger alerts. Collaborate with your sales representatives to determine a series of buying signals and trigger events worth following up on. Rather than have each rep individually filter and execute on those activities by checking social channels, set up automated alerts through LinkedIn, Newsle, and OFunnel.
- Standardize prospect research. Not every representative is equally efficient in researching prospects, so why leave them to their own devices? Develop a process than can be completed in less than five minutes for all of your sales representatives to follow.
Non-core activities/direct engagement. There are occasions when representatives are directly engaged with buyers who have no intention of buying. These “friendly” sales calls pad sales activity, but are highly unproductive. Focus on the intent of these activities and find more productive ways to achieve your purposes.
- Use tools that tell your reps who to call. Sales enablement solutions have tools that can help your sales representatives prioritize leads and customers, based on activity and interaction with your content. The right sales enablement solution can also provide visibility to your leadership team into how each representative is prioritizing calls and using these tools.
- Use customer service or client management to make purpose-driven contact. For buyers who aren’t ready, delegate routine service calls and have your customer service or client management staff position additional offerings. They can also ask for referrals to other buyers to grow your relationship with the organization.
Non-core activities/internal. These are the productivity-suckers that can severely hinder sales productivity. Examples include order processing, pricing approvals, expense reports, calculating commissions, technology issues and downtime, travel time and non-sales/marketing corporate email. These activities must be minimized.
- Allocate these responsibilities elsewhere. Administrative functions are for administrative roles. Burdening sales representatives with administrative responsibilities reduces their productivity, so delegate to personnel who are trained to execute them efficiently and compensated based on the value of these tasks.
- Monitor and trim unproductive sales staff. Call it “top-grading” or “rank and yank”, it’s important that each representative is held to account for time management and productivity. Use sales enablement solutions to monitor the activities of your representatives and to create accountability.