Most managers wouldn’t be shocked to find out that their reps aren’t spending 100% of their workday on revenue-generating activities. While their main goal is to sell, much of their workday is spent on tasks that don’t directly lead to sales opportunities. But what if we told you that the amount of time spent generating revenue isn’t 90%, or 75%, or even 50%... it’s actually only 38%.
Now, before you allow feelings of anger and betrayal to bubble up inside as you wonder how this could be possible, let’s get one thing clear: your reps aren’t doing this on purpose. The truth is, your reps want to be selling more in the field -- they just don’t have the tools they need to turn regular store visits into growth opportunities. That’s why in this article, we’ve come up with three ways your reps are being held back from selling more in the store.
Too Much Time is Spent on Administrative Tasks
Keeping track of and reporting on rep’s daily activities should never be an undervalued task, however, many brands end up wasting resources that could be spent elsewhere on tedious administrative efforts. Store visit reports, survey result collection, and route tracking are important, but is there a chance your reps could be spending too much time on these?
As a matter of fact, the answer is yes. Administrative tasks are accountable for 14.8% of the effectiveness drain — email alone takes up over ⅓ of that time. This is because many teams are still relying on outdated technology to collect data from the field, so time that could be spent addressing sales growth opportunities ends up being spent writing daily recaps. That means that while your reps are sitting in the parking lot for twenty minutes writing a lengthy email about their store visit, what they’re not doing is meeting with store managers to discuss additional placements or launching a new promotion.
This isn’t to say that administrative tasks are inherently bad for business; but what is bad for business is allowing tasks that should take only a few minutes to chew up hours of your reps’ work weeks.
Reps are Measured on the Wrong Criteria for Success
Another reason that reps miss out on valuable sales opportunities is because their success is being measured based on the wrong criteria. Many teams prioritize coverage, encouraging their reps to reach a certain number of visits to a specific set of stores within a time frame -- we’ll refer to this as a “blanket coverage” model.
While it is imperative that reps are making consistent visits to all of the accounts in their territory, operating on a blanket-coverage model doesn’t take into account the dynamism of in-store conditions from one day to the next. This means that while a rep may have visited 100% of their stores right on schedule, they may have opened zero new opportunities.
In contrast, a team that measures success not on the number of store visits made, but the value that is generated from each store visit, empowers reps (or their managers) to identify the accounts that are the highest priority and plan out their territory coverage that way. Planning store visits based on in-store conditions such as compliance errors or growth opportunities ensures that while reps may not be visiting every store on their list with the same frequency, they’ll be spending more time on visits that directly link to generating revenue.
Focus is on Revenue-Saving, Not Revenue-Growing
A third reason your reps aren’t spending more time selling is because they are focused on activities that are “revenue-saving” -- responding to stock issues, fixing displays, or correcting assortments; rather than “revenue-growing” -- securing optional shelf placement, cutting in more SKUs, or expanding the number of facings in a store.
This is often because teams simply don’t have enough information on what is going on at the store level. When it takes up to 12 weeks before managers can get any sort of report from the field, it will always feel like your team is playing catch up when they could be getting ahead of the game.
While responding to things like out of stocks and broken displays is no doubt important, the more field teams can get ahead of these issues the more time their reps can spend enhancing sets rather than fixing them. For example, automated stock alerts can give teams a heads up when demand is higher than expected, giving reps a chance to expand the set before running out-of-stock. What would have been a store visit spent responding to an OOS has now become an opportunity to get ahead and drive growth.
Melissa is a recent graduate of Northeastern University and a content marketing specialist at Repsly, Inc. She is committed to applying her skills in order to bring value to Repsly readers and customers. Outside of work, Melissa enjoys practicing yoga, making music, and anything dog-related.