Managing time - Sales Management

Time is the one irreplaceable sales force resource. Time lost or wasted cannot be recovered, and is rarely made up subsequently,with a resultant loss in overall business. The field sales manager must recognize where time goes to in the selling day. Most objective surveys show that little of the day is actually spent in productive selling activities,with often only from two to three hours being spent on business generating activities such as selling and merchandising.

Sales managers must control and manage the use of time at two levels:

  • salesperson use of time
  • managers use of their own time.

Salesperson use of time

It is useful for a sales manager, as well as salesperson, to have a good understanding of where time goes in the field sales force. One simple form, illustrated previously (Table), suggested occasionally measuring time used in 10-minute intervals against main activities in the selling day. An alternative approach, illustrated in Table, possibly undertaken as part of a more serious sales engineering project, is to measure your sales force’s use of time under the categories of:

  • preparatory work
  • productive or selling activities
  • unproductive or non-selling activities
  • call management
  • personal time.

Sales-activity-time-management-analysiscall management

By sales managers becoming more aware of how time is used in relation to priority functions,field management time should be more effectively directed to management of key result areas, and to focusing training on those aspects of the job that make a difference to sales performance.

Sales manager’s time use analysis

A similar time management exercise can be conducted for each sales manager. The sales manager should monitor his or her use of time to ensure its use is focused on priority and key result areas. In the format illustrate din Table time use can be monitored over typical 20-working-day month, using monitoring form such as the example shown in this section. Standards of performance for use of time in major and priority function scan be set, such as training, and manager scan measure themselves against those standards.

A-sales-manager -use-of-time-analysis

Obviously not all management activities occur at regular intervals or with the same frequency. There are certain tasks the sales manager might perform only at infrequent intervals. As a useful time control it might be worth preparing a list of the main occasional tasks that are time bound, noting in which months or weeks action is needed. An example is illustrated in Table, and most sales managers would log this onto a wall planner,or into their computer diary planning system.

Key periodic tasks can then be built into the short-term monthly detailed time planner.


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