How can a salesman achieve optimum productivity in his/her job? The key to his/her sales growth is to find a balance between the value-adding sales activity and the non-value adding sales activity which may be essential for his/her job. Research shows that a normal salesman spends only 30-40% of his/her time on active selling functions/activities, whereas the rest 60-70% of his/her time is spent in non value-adding functions/activities which are also essential to complete the job. The task is to engage more time in activities which will bring the salesman growth and profit in sales, along with managing the other necessary functions in the least possible time. Whether you are a seasoned sales manager, an aspiring sales manager or employed anywhere in sales, the following activities mentioned will teach you to excel in your job.
What are the Value-Adding Activities of a Salesman?
- Enquiry Generation, Converting some of them to Customers by closing Sales Deal through effective negotiation
- Classification of Hot, Warm, Cold Customers
- Customer Contact for Product Demonstration, Sales Presentation, Discussion, Sales Probing, Objection Handling etc.
- Sales Finalizing / Closure
- Actively participating in Sales and Product Promotional Activities
- Proposal Writing / Tendering for new sales opportunity
- Activities related to effective debtor/receivable management
- Going for Customer calls or visits
- CRM Activities
- Customer Complaint Handling
- Effective Sales Planning- for the day, month & the year etc.
What are the essential Non-value adding Sales Activities?
- Attending Sales Training program as and when required
- Coordination and follow-up activities for billing/invoicing
- Preparation of MIS –reports to management on sales
- Many unplanned Fire Fighting activities
- Work related internal Communication with colleagues and other departments thru’ email etc.
- Attending Sales review meetings in the Company
- Travel Time in company for managing sales
- Attending to phone calls
- Coordinating with other departments e.g. R&D, Production etc for sales and for meeting customers’ requirement.
- Recruitment Activity
- Annual Appraisal Process
- Attending Workshops/ Conferences
- Attending Management Review Meetings
- Preparing or helping customers to prepare Commercial Bank papers for Retail Finance
- Sales Tracking Activity
- Engagement in annual goal setting/ target setting activity
- Activities for Customer Database Management
- Monitoring Dealers/channel partners performance
- Appointment of Dealers/Distributors
- Termination of channel partners
- Performance Review of Sales Team
- Counseling and Feedback to Sales Team
- Preparatory Activity for Proposal/ Tendering etc.
Who is a Star Salesman?
A star salesman is a consistent performer who not only achieves his/her targets but also surpasses them at times.
He/she spends 60-70% of his/her time on the Value-Adding activities related to Sales/Services mentioned above and relatively less time on the Non-Value adding Sales activities which may be essential for his/her job.
He/she is an effective communicator with good leadership qualities.
He/she has the ability to build healthy and productive relationship with customers and develop them with long-term perspective.
He/she is a problem solver and a team player.
He/she has high knowledge about company’s product & the industry.
He/she is extremely hard working with high ethical values, positive attitude and follows company’s rules and policies.
He/she has high level of energy and drive.
He/she spends more time on field with his/her customers than in the office.
And hence these qualities define him/her as different from a normal sales-person.
The following measurements help us measuring performance of a sales-person:
- Conversion rate from enquiry to proposal
- Conversion rate from proposal to sale
- Average order values
- Selling across the product range (cross-selling)
- Repeat sales to existing customers (up-selling)
- Proportion of sales to existing customers against new customers
- Sales per week/ day/ hour
- Sales to cost ratio
- Second sales to new customers
- Customer longevity
- Complaint levels
Being consistently high on the above mentioned parameters (all except complaint levels, which should be lesser the better) will differentiate a star sales-person from a normal sales-parson. Hence any professional working in sales function should strive to continuously develop skills and orientation which will enable him/her to perform & engage more in value-adding activities and groom himself/herself as a star salesman. Like a diamond is carved out by refining a coal stone, every sales-person should refine him/her continuously to be a star performer and be a winner in the market place.