What Do Technical Sales People need to achieve Maximum Success?
Ask any salesperson who sells technical products or services about their daily routine and they will tell you “There is no such thing as a daily routine”. Technology sales professionals often find themselves addressing product or service issues, researching customers and prospects, cold-calling leads, tracking sales performance against goals, visiting with clients, completing paperwork, analyzing reports, collaborating with engineering teams, developing solution configurations and much more each and every day.
These sales people often feel fragmented because they are stretched in so many different directions. As a result of wearing so many different hats, technical sales people often don’t focus enough time on what’s really important: selling and closing new business for the company.
Now, all of the aforementioned tasks are important to the success of a sales person or sales team but HOW they are accomplished and WHO handles them is the big question. Developing a holistic support model that salespeople can leverage is the key to maximum success. But not every business has the resources available to unburden their sales teams from many of the non-revenue focused tasks that can suck the energy out of a sales professional.
Regardless of the size of any business, the management team should take the time to analyze the sales team’s activities. First, break daily tasks down into major categories that apply to your business, Examples might be:
- Customer support – technical or sales related
- Researching prospects
- Phone time fostering existing relationships
- Phone time cold-calling new prospects
- Administrative tasks
- Marketing activities (events, campaigns, promotions)
- Face to face Customer time
- Solution design (working with engineering teams)
- Territory Planning
- Any others that apply
Second, ask your individual sales people to notate what percentage of their time is spent on the different activities throughout the week. Once you receive this information from each team mate, you should have a fairly complete map of how your sales team spends their valuable time.
Third, benchmark these time maps to the activities of your most successful sales person. Or you may want to look at industry specific best practices to decide the optimal time map.
According to SellingPower .com (2015), the average sales person’s day is broken down as follows:
- 41 percent – Spent with Customer (face to face or over the phone)
- 24 percent – Spent researching and prospecting
- 19 percent – Spent in internal meetings and administration
- 16 percent – other tasks
Their research shows sales people who spend 45 percent or less time with customers, achieve sales quotes 55 percent of the time. But those salespeople who spend more than 45 percent of time with customers, achieve sales quotes 62 percent of time! Therefore, more customer time results in more incremental revenue.
Once you’ve completed the benchmarking, you will see areas of opportunity where sales people could focus energy on more productive tasks by off-loading non-revenue generating tasks to less expensive resources. Consider moving prospecting activities to an inside sales person who can be hired at a lower compensation level. Or you may outsource marketing activities to an outside agency. Redirect administrative tasks to an internal admin. Although at first glance, these may seem like expensive investments, if your sales people have more time to spend “selling”, they will generate increased revenue which will ultimately offset any additional costs. The end result will be more productive sales people who enjoy increased commissions, better job satisfaction and improved motivation levels.
The Cisco Partner Plus Program was designed to support our partners’ sales cycles through a holistic support model. Partners can take advantage of incentives and marketing resources which can be used to generate leads on behalf of your business. Our Virtual Engineering teams are available to assist with customer configurations and designs to reduce that burden from your sales and engineering teams, and our best in class Customer Intelligence is a valuable resource for helping to improve close rates.
The more Cisco business you close, the more resources you have available to you in Partner Plus. Check out our new Partner Plus video which explains the program levels, available benefits and results you can achieve at http://www.cisco.com/web/partners/sell/technology/borderless/sales_initiatives/partner-plus-profit.html . You can also go to the Partner Plus website at www.cisco.com/go/partnerplus to get more information about this exciting, industry leading program. Happy Selling!