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5 time thieves in the sales department: how to identify and get rid of them

A salesperson’s workday consists of 64% of tasks that are not directly related to sales. Among these are small, manual tasks that seem to take up very little time. But if you multiply that time over the day, you realize these are real “time stealers.” We calculated what precious minutes are spent on. Also, we pondered how to solve this problem to focus specifically on sales.

How is it that only 36% of the time, according to statistics, is spent on sales? It’s simple, the rest of the time, salespeople prepare for communication with clients, hold meetings with the team, and the like. There’s nothing you can do about it. However, there is a real routine that has nothing to do with potential profits. 

In this article, we’ll give examples of actions that second by second take precious time away from the business. We’ll also talk about how to save and multiply that money by devoting more hours to new sales.

1. Entering information into CRM or tables manually

This process is often a “cover” for procrastination when a salesperson decides to take a break. But even for a motivated employee, this is not a quick process at all.

Let’s do the math together. Let’s say a new customer called the company. After the conversation must be recorded:

  • the fact of the call;
  • the contact, but first you need to make sure that it has not yet occurred, so as not to create a double;
  • deal.

All this will take you about two minutes, according to our calculations. Of course, mechanical work can be done in tens of seconds, but we are not robots. So we take more realistic figures.

It’s a little easier when a client calls with a deal already in place. Here we simply create a “Call”, if your CRM has such an entity. Or record manually in the deal card that on a certain date, there was a conversation. But, again, the deal must first be found, so this will take about 1 minute.

Do not forget that in any case, it is necessary to record what you have agreed. If you do it even briefly, add another 30 seconds. 

Seems like a small thing? Then imagine that the sales department for the day called 30 customers: 15 new and 15 old. In total, this is 37 minutes to enter information in the first case and 22 minutes in the second. If there are 20 working days in a month, that’s 20 working hours of an employee just for the mechanical “work”!

time thieves in the sales department, statistics about calls

If we imagine that the sales department consists of 5 people, the entire department would take a total of 100 hours per month to run its routine.

Companies, where sales reps make and receive dozens or hundreds of calls a day, have long understood that this will not work. So they use integration, that is, a bundle of telephony and CRM. It takes the mechanical steps on itself, seriously relieving employees of their workload:

  • records the very fact of the call in the CRM;
  • creates deals and contacts after the call and, unlike a human, does not make a mistake in the phone number it records;
  • checks the number to see if the client already exists in the CRM;
  • attaches an audio recording of the conversation, so it is not necessary to describe what the conversation was about.

You can see below what the information on the client looks like, which was automatically added to the CRM after the call. We have connected call tracking, so we can also see what led to the call: a Google contextual ad and the keyword “call center”.

time thieves in the sales department, contact card in crm

And it’s not some complicated technical solution that needs to be developed by a programmer. Many telephony services have ready-made integrations with common CRM systems. Therefore, anyone can connect their telephony and such a system with simple instructions. 

By the way, this automation is another reason to switch to CRM, if you are still working with spreadsheets or Trello. We know from experience that there are still plenty of such businesses.

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2. Slow customer dialing

We consider any method that requires more action than one click to be slow. But usually, salespeople dial clients in one of the following ways:

  • manually enter the number on the phone or in the program for calling — it is about 7-10 seconds;
  • copy and paste the number — it is 5 seconds.

If you have to make at least 20 calls a day, dialing alone takes more than 1 hour a month. And imagine how much time is spent by a person whose main duty is to make cold calls.

5 time thieves in the sales department

We at Ringostat once thought about how much time it takes to do something like this. And now we use our development, Ringostat Smart Phone, which allows us to call right away by simply clicking on a number on any site or in the CRM. So I advise you to look for similar solutions.

Of course, we do not yet have the technology that allows you to dial a number with your mind. But it is quite possible to do it with one click.

time thieves in the sales department, call from the site

3. Inconvenient transfer of the call to colleagues

There are many companies where calls to departments and employees are distributed by the secretary. But other employees have to transfer calls to each other from time to time. For example, if the client’s problem is better solved by a different colleague. Or when the customer has additional questions, for example, to technical support or accounting.

How is this done? The team has a printout with the internal numbers of colleagues or departments. Let’s say *123# is Tony. But, of course, no person will keep such numbers in their head, especially if there are more than 10 employees.

Therefore, if a call needs to be transferred, the employee finds the necessary number and enters it on the phone. We have +10 seconds on the account of the “time thief”. Even longer if you have to dig in the notebook. The client waits this time on the line, and he can only sympathize. 

Or, say, employees of the company do not have internal numbers. And the call can only be transferred to a whole department. One person picks up the phone, but in fact, the client needs another… Imagine how much time, yours and the potential customer’s, is spent on a thing that has nothing to do with profit.

What to do? There are several options.

  1. Don’t direct all calls to the secretary. Use the voice menu in the virtual PBX, so the customer can immediately select the right department. 
  2. Assign internal numbers not only to departments but also to employees. A sales rep can tell customers their extension number the first time they talk. Or print it on a business card, as real estate agents sometimes do.
  3. Use solutions that allow you to transfer calls to colleagues or departments with one or a couple of clicks. That way you don’t have to keep colleagues’ internal numbers handy at all times. At Ringostat Smart Phone, we also allow you to not just transfer a call, but talk to a colleague beforehand. For example, if a person has asked for a specific task that another employee has already dealt with. This is also a way to make sure that the colleague is there and can take the call.
time thieves in the sales department, transfering call in Ringostat Smart Phone

4. Communication with colleagues through standard channels

When a company does not have a set up telephony that connects all colleagues and departments, you have to call each other on a regular or cell phone. Even if you can reach an internal number, it takes 10 seconds to find and dial it. 

Suppose it takes 30 seconds to find a colleague’s contact and dial it, and you have to do that 10 times a day. That’s 5 minutes a day, or 1 hour and 40 minutes a month.

time thieves in the sales department, communication with colleagues through standard channels

Use a call solution that lets you call a colleague or department to save this time simply by selecting them from a list. It’s even more convenient when an employee’s name or department name can be entered in the search bar.

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5. Clarifying details with the client, even if the client has told you them before

Let’s imagine a fairly standard conversation between a sales rep (M) and a customer (C).

M: How can I address you?

C: Alex.

M: What are you interested in?

K: I’ve already called you. I had already dictated the measurements of the windows to order the roller shutters before. Maybe you still have the information? I’m just not at home anymore, but I want to order now.

The employee opens the CRM after that, searches the client by phone number, and only then can start a substantive conversation.

Of course, when a new customer calls, you cannot avoid finding out the details. But why waste time on this when an existing client has already been contacted?

It is much more pleasant both for the sales rep and for the customer when everything is automated.

  1. During the call immediately shows the name of the client, if it is already entered in the CRM. Therefore, an employee can immediately address the person correctly, which not only saves time but also increases customer loyalty.
  2. The call interface has buttons to quickly go to the contact of the lead and the transaction. Therefore, the sales rep can immediately see its details.
  3. There he can also make notes during the conversation if something needs to be fixed.

Even if a new customer calls, or someone who has been ordering for a long time, there is an easy way to understand the customer’s request. If you have implemented the above, quickly go to the person’s contact during the call. You will then be able to see the closed deals on the contact. If you look through them, you can roughly get a sense of what the customer is interested in and how much he or she is usually targeting. The downside is that this is not very convenient to do during the call. In addition, the person’s previous purchase may be very different from the current request.

We solve this problem with Ringostat Smart Phone. We see even before the call is answered:

  • what query the client came — it is clear by the keyword that the application shows;
  • in which city he or she is located;
  • what pages of the site the user visited most often, that is, what he is more interested in;
  • what page he or she is on now, etc.

So, even if you talk to the user the first time, it’s already clear where to start the conversation. This also comes in handy for upselling and cross-selling. For example, if you see that the person has considered a more expensive product several times. Or if you can tell right away that the user would benefit from something extra. For example, if the person is looking for a shower curtain, you can offer them towels at a discount.

Let’s summarize

As you can see, the little things I’ve listed take hours and hours of work time. Of course, the time spent may vary, depending on the nature of the business. But we wouldn’t lie if we say that, in the aggregate, whole days are spent on mechanical chores, not sales.

If your competitors are devoid of such “time thieves,” they work much faster than you do. And they can get a bigger share of the market. So I advise you not to hesitate and think about what processes you can automate. Especially nowadays you don’t need a developer to do this. It’s enough just to look for ready-made options.

About author

Editor of the Ringostat blog. Author of articles for the media about digital and big portals about business. Studied journalism at the Odessa National University named after I. I. Mechnikov.