Just how essential is that sales meeting?

Last week some of us saw the worst snow and disruption for 30 years. Whilst many turned out to help the vulnerable and ferry essential workers to their work, the vast majority of us heeded the advice and stayed home.  ‘Only travel if essential’ became the principle advice for almost a week. For those who had to venture out it was a huge and dangerous challenge.

But, for most of us what happened as a result?  Almost nothing.  We could still contact our clients and suppliers.  We could still post to our blogs and shop on the internet. We could phone our friends and FaceTime our family.  Life continued pretty much as normal.  Which made me realise much of what we consider essential actually isn’t.

Is that also true in the world of B2B selling?

When salespeople are asked, “what most limits your ability to reach your target?” the answer is almost always, “time”.  Is that strictly true?  The amount of time available is obviously finite and limited, but how we use it is entirely under our control. How much time is wasted?  How many of those seemingly essential tasks aren’t essential at all.  Let’s look at what takes up most of a sales person’s time.

Failed sales
Sales people have to sell, and try to spend a lot of time doing it, but typically two out of three sales decisions will go against you. There is no bigger waste of time than working on a sale you won’t win.  You must qualify every prospect objectively and accurately, to identify the opportunities you can win and ditch the ones you can’t.  To quote my friends at Advance Sales Academy https://www.commitmentbasedselling.com/, “If you’re going to lose, lose quickly”.

Unnecessary admin.
Sales people hate admin.  Sometimes it’s necessary; you need an accurate forecast, up to date client records and accurate sales reports; but is everything you ask for really needed?  And, because sellers avoid admin, sales leaders spend hours chasing it up – yet another waste of time.  Consider the admin your sales team are asked to complete. Does it add value to your organisation? Does it add value to the sales person? If not, is it vital? If not, dump it.

Pointless sales meetings
The days of the weekly territory plan, with each call scheduled as regular as clockwork, are dead.  Even if it’s not that regimented, visiting a prospect or client without a clear purpose is time wasted.  As a sales leader reviewing a call plan you should ask two questions; “What value does this meeting add for the customer?” and “What value does it add for us?”. If the sales person doesn’t have a convincing answer to both questions, cancel the call.

Just three simple actions that could buy back huge amounts of wasted time, that can be re-invested more wisely and bring improved results.  Try it.