Why Sales Reps Spend Less Than 36% Of Time Selling (And Less Than 18% In CRM)

It’s no secret time management is one of the highest requirements for succeeding in sales. But a new study of more than 720 reps (including in-depth interviews with more than a dozen) proves what we had predicted in our snapshot survey of 200 reps during Dreamforce. Today’s salespeople are spending the majority of their time on activities other than sales.

Here’s the kicker: nearly two-thirds (64.8%) of reps’ time, on average, is spent in non revenue-generating activities, leaving only 35.2% for functions related to selling. Field reps are somewhat ahead, spending 3.1% more time selling than their inside sales counterparts.

Only 22 Percent of Sales Reps Use a Time Management Methodology

But on the whole, only 22.9% of reps follow any kind of a structured time management methodology at all. And only 17.9% of their time is spent in CRM – traditionally the foundational program for sales.

Why is this? Sales reps spend around 14 percent of their time on administrative tasks. Another 24 percent is spent on downtime activities such as checking Facebook and catching up with colleagues. These are the two activities that ranked a net negative effectiveness score.

The majority of sales reps’ time is spent in sales technology (62.8%). Email for sales related purposes takes the most time (33.2%), and tools to gather sales intelligence takes the least. (0.4%).

CRM, as I’ve written previously, is being used increasingly less. Why? Perhaps there is a clue in the fact that 9.1% of reps’ time (over half the amount of time they spend in CRM) is in spreadsheets as they try to more effectively manage CRM related tasks.

Mastering Time Management for Sales

I explore the issue of time management for sales in my latest article in Forbes Magazine.

Read the article if you want to learn more about:

  • What sales reps are really doing with their time
  • What are the sales technologies that lead to increased sales productivity
  • How companies need to improve their sales technology stack to make sure reps are more productive


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