How Sales Reps Really Spend Their Time—And How To Spend It Better

Anyone who has done sales or managed a sales team knows that time management is an important skill. Sales reps time is expensive, and there’s never enough time in the day to do everything. You need to decide how much time to dedicate to each task—as well as what tools to use to maximize their productivity. Research shows many sales reps are wasting time on non-revenue generating activities – and this needs to change.

In most jobs, you would hope a majority of employee’s time is spent doing what is implied by their job title.

A teacher teaches, a doctor takes care of patients.

…And a sales rep talks to potential customers in hopes of selling them a product or service.

Obviously, all of these jobs require other tasks that aren’t directly related to their core job function. Teachers attend meetings, doctors fill out paperwork, and sales reps manage their CRM (as well as a bunch of other tasks that keep them from their real job).

But when we surveyed over 700 sales reps, we found something concerning.

Sales reps spend just over a third of their time (35.2%) actually selling.

That’s only 14 hours out of a 40-hour week.

Productivity tools and training can help reps make the most of that time. However, simply allocating more time to selling is a great opportunity to increase activity and help reps make their quotas.

So, What ARE Sales Reps Doing With Their Time?

Administrative tasks took the largest amount of sales reps time (14.8% or 5.9 hours per week).This means dealing with product issues, approvals, internal policies, paperwork, etc.. This stuff can be important, but is it worth a sales rep’s valuable time?

When we report that 35.2% of a sales rep’s time is spent selling, we’re referring to three categories from our survey—external customer-facing meetings, following up with clients, and prospecting. While these aren’t the only important tasks, they are the ones that generate revenue. And they’re the reason you hire sales reps.

As you look at this graph, try to think what it would look like for your company?

Do your sales reps spend this much time doing administrative tasks?

How could you decrease that while increasing selling time?

sales rep time allocation

What Helps Sales Reps Spend More Time Selling?

Actively managing time through some time management philosophy helped reps spend 18.9% more time selling than if they didn’t have any time management philosophy. Those who only casually applied time management philosophies still gained some more selling time.

time spent selling

Unfortunately, only 22% of reps reported actively using a time management system to optimize their workflow.

Check out these time management tips to learn how to better spend your time.

You can download the “Time Management for Sales” research from XANT for more statistics on how sales reps spend their time.

time management for sales statistics research


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