Sales Reps Only Spend 36.6% of Time Actually Selling

Sales reps only spend 36.6% of their time actually selling, and only 18% of their time using their customer relationship management software (CRM), shows new research from XANT labs. The study makes it evident CRM’s are not enough to answer the modern salesmen’s needs, who are consistent in moving onto other technologies to help with their sales activities.

The “Time Management in Sales” research by XANT Labs included a survey of over 200 sales reps and over a dozen in-depth interviews to determine how reps spend their time and how they perceive the usefulness of their day-to-day tools.

I was taken aback by the results of our latest research, I encourage you to give it a read.

sales rep activity graph statistics

What do Sales Reps do With Their Time?

There are twelve main tasks sales reps do during a typical week. Oddly, revenue generating activities only make up 36.6% percent of reps’ activities. Over half (63.4%) of their time is spent on non-revenue generating activities.

What really struck me is how much time sales reps spend on internal policies and approval. My goodness, it’s the second most time-consuming task in the day. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Sales reps spend 15.7% of their time on meetings and customer interactions
  • Dealing with internal policies and approvals takes 12.8% of their time
  • Another 12% is taken up by researching target accounts and contacts

But how effective are all of these tasks, anyway?

Well, we asked that as well and the results were telling.

sales activity statistics graph

Effectiveness on Sales Tasks

People hate meetings and internal policies, they are necessary evil of any company. Sales reps reported that time spent on Facebook and catching up with colleagues was 7% more effective than internal meetings and dealing with internal policies.

sales reps time spent on social media

Think about that.

Sales reps would rather spend time on social media than be internal meetings!

Meetings, dealing with internal policies and administrative tasks are killing your sales.

CRM Rated as the Most Ineffective System

What about Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software? Every sales organization uses this type of system to manage and nurture their leads. You’d think they would find it effective.

The stats show otherwise.

Surprisingly, sales reps spend only 18.0% of their time in CRM, the foundational system for sales teams.

Because of the inefficiency of CRM, sales reps report that 9.7% of their time (over half the amount of time spent in CRM) is spent in spreadsheets. Basically, they are trying to more effectively manage CRM related tasks.

In terms of valuable systems, CRM was rated lowest. They also explicitly called CRM out as the most frustrating or not directly valuable to a sales reps objectives.

At XANT, we’ve been preaching this for a while.

CRM is a necessary system as a record keeping mechanism, but look to sales technologies that help reps sell more as the predominant area where reps see value and therefore spend their time.

Download the Time Management for Sales Study

Sales is a complicated profession, and time management can make or break your performance. This has been an eye-opening study, and I encourage anyone in the sales industry to download the executive summary and read it.

Download the study to learn:

  • What are the activities that sales reps find more useful and effective in their profession
  • What are the tools that sales reps rate the highest and as most valuable
  • How companies can partner with sales reps to handle the issue of declining quota attainment

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