Sales Reps Spend Only 37% of Time Selling According to Research

Sales representatives need to make much better use of their time, concludes a new report from Labs, a division of sales acceleration SaaS software leader The Time Management for Sales study, based on responses from nearly 200 sales reps including a dozen in-depth interviews, provides a closer look at the way inside and outside sales representatives are currently spending their time. The study reveals:

  • Only 28 percent of sales reps follow a structured time management system.
  • Only 37 percent of sales reps’ time is spent on revenue-generating activities.
  • Only 18 percent of sales reps’ time is spent using their customer relationship management system (CRM).

“Clearly, sales teams have a serious challenge with time management,” said Lindsey Armstrong, President of “When 63 percent of salespeople’s time is focused on activities other than selling—whether by necessity due to policies and tools or to lack of process and organization—revenue suffers. We can see that most organizations, and the sales industry at large, have a significant requirement (and opportunity) to get these issues resolved.”

The Declining Role of CRM

Perhaps the study’s most surprising result is the declining dependence on—and use of—CRM. Only 18 percent of a sales rep’s time is spent in CRM, while 61.7 percent of their time is spent using sales technology. Worse still, nearly 10 percent of a sales rep’s time is spent in spreadsheets to help them accomplish what they wish they could do in CRM.

“CRM was called out by respondents as the most frustrating technology surveyed,” Armstrong continued.

As a solution, Armstrong points to the importance of recognizing CRM being useful as a system of record but reminds sales reps and leaders of CRM’s limitations as a system of sales growth. New combinations of big data paired with artificial intelligence (AI) and sales technology applications create the outcome Armstrong refers to as an “AI System of Growth,” which is what salespeople want and what will ultimately allow salespeople to achieve their full potential and reach their highest revenue goals.

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