Effective time management is essential for ensuring that sales soar, a Watson Wyatt survey has shown.
Research by the consulting firm revealed that when it comes to delivering profit it is not how many hours a sales force works but how they use their time that is important.
In its survey, Watson Wyatt found salespeople at top performing companies spend 40% more time each year with their best potential customers and an extra three to four hours a week in high value sales activities compared with their counterparts in less profitable businesses.
Sales staff at companies that consistently deliver healthy profit margins were also found to spend 30% less time on administrative duties than their less successful rivals.
Remuneration was found to be key to a business’ success, with the more profitable companies providing their sales force with greater earnings potential through variable pay based on their sales performance.
Salespeople at top performing companies received about 40% more of their total cash package in the form of variable pay compared with less profitable counterparts, where 27% of their take-home pay was based on the amount of business they brought in.
Twice as many sales professionals at high-performing businesses receive stock, stock options and other equity pay as their counterparts in lower-performing companies.
John Bremen, director of Watson Wyatt’s sales force effectiveness consulting practice, said: “It may seem fundamental, but the way sales professionals allocate their time is critical – even a couple more hours per week on these key activities can make a real difference.
“Who they spend their time with is also important. Not only do sales reps at successful companies spend more of their time identifying customer needs and demonstrating products, they also spend more time with qualified leads and prospects they know.”