How busy should your sales people be? [video]

How busy should your salespeople be? How many meetings should they have every week? More than they’re doing at the moment, and less than you think. Let me explain why.

What are you overlooking in your calculations?

 Factor #1

Firstly, I would like to highlight why the number of meetings your sales people should be doing is less than you think. Below is the basic math for this calculation, taking into consideration what is often overlooked. You may live in a different country, whereby your holidays and jurisdictions are different, but the same math applies.

Consider the days available per year:

There are 260 days without weekends. Takeaway:

  • 20 days for annual leaves
  • 13 days for public holidays
  • 7 sick days on average – our jurisdiction requires us to give 10 days of sick leave, but for simplicity we will use 7.
  • 10 days for training/conferences/networking
  • 10 days for other

Taking into consideration all of the above, you are left with 200 days available for sales meetings. The significance is that about 25% of the available time is made unavailable through annual leave, sick leave, training etc. And this needs to be taken off the calculation in determining how many sales meetings your salespeople should be conducting in a given week. Yet, astonishingly, when I ask the question, “How busy should your sales people be?” most get it wrong on this level.

 

 Factor #2

The second thing they get wrong is that the variation between a very productive week (a burst) and a very average week is not considered. Can a sales person do the same number of meetings, week in and week out, conducted in a very productive week? The answer is almost never. You need to think about your best week (burst) and your worst week, and allow for this variation in your calculations.

How busy should your sales people be

Be realistic in planning your number of sales meetings

You may think that your sales people can conduct 10 meetings per week. However when removing just the holidays alone, this drops to 7.5 meetings, without taking into consideration the difference between a productive and average week. If 10 meetings a week is a great week, then we need to scale it down to a more realistic figure that can be achieved week in and week out. So we may find that the meetings drop to 5 per week. So, if I said that your sales people can only have 5 meetings per week, this may be 10 at burst, but 5 is the sustainable average.

 

How to increase the number of sales meetings

So, what is the average? Well, for us it is 5. Across a 1,000 plans, the range is remarkably small. I have clients who are definitely conducting more than 5 meetings per week (week in, week out). To achieve this, there are 2 realities that need to be true, which are ticked for these particular clients.

  1. Hire Sales Development Representatives (SDRs)/Inside Sales. One particular client has 1 SDR for every outside sales person.
  2. You need to have a very simple meeting structure that doesn’t require a huge amount of planning so that you can properly prepare. There is no point in conducting a meeting if you’re not prepared. So an of 5 meetings per week is a good outcome when they’re:
    • Earned;
    • Prepared for properly, including a call sheet;
    • Conducted; and
    • Followed up properly.

Apart from the reality check, you also need to have more meetings. Of course, you are aware of the correlation between how often your sales people meet with customers and how many sales they’re making. It’s obvious, right? The more meetings your sales people have, the more successful they’ll be.

There are 2 things you can do to increase the number of meetings per week:

  1. Hire Sales Development Representatives (SDRs)/Inside Sales. The genie is out of the bottle – everyone knows there is a great payback from hiring SDRs.
  2. Ensure marketing gives leads, who have taken action to show willingness to engage, an interest in having a conversation, and who have accepted that they have a problem. In other words, expect marketing to go further down the pipe.

If you would like to read further about calculating the number of sales people you need and optimising their utilisation, view more here.

 

In conclusion

To return to the question, how busy should your sales people be? I believe I have made my point. Sales people can do fewer meetings than you think, but they can do more than they’re doing right now, and they should.

 

Calculations made easy with Funnel Plan

In your Funnel Plan, you can actually calculate the number of sales people that you need, and how busy they need to be to meet your targets. You can also calculate the effect if your sales people didn’t have to engage until further down the marketing pipeline. Funnel Plan is a tool that makes it very easy for you to model all of this and more, so that you can plan effectively and efficiently achieve your objectives. You can build a whole plan, including your salesforce utilisation.

Don’t hesitate! If you don’t have a Funnel Plan, act now and gain the benefits of our free version. Get yourself a free trial here.

funnel-plan-sales-and-marketing-planning-tool

Our thanks

  • Claudia Ivanka for video production
  • How to set quotas and improve the yield from sales, http://bit.ly/2f29iKL
  • Hugh Macfarlane for scripting and presenting this week’s show