Am I Productive or Just Busy? Sales Leadership Lessons

It is easy to think that just because you’re busy, you are productive. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The words “busy” and “productive” are often polar opposites.

I see salespeople and sales leaders spending countless hours updating reports and building out spreadsheets. These same people are quick to say that they just don’t have time to prospect or meet with customers because they’re busy. They are busy doing “busy” work.

Ask yourself these two simple questions before you start working on anything:

  1. Will this make a difference with a customer?
  2. Will this grow sales or increase profits?

If you lead a sales team, I hold you responsible not only for the work you create for your people but also the requests you get from others above you. During my days of leading sales teams, I remember how often I pushed back on marketing, finance and other things to stop the chaos! Honestly, I wish I had pushed back even harder. Every hour that a salesperson spends doing reports, etc. is another hour not spent with a customer.

Think about this for a moment: if a salesperson is responsible for generating $1 Million in sales per year, then each week they need to generate nearly $20,000. Now divide that number by 40 hours per week and it works out to $500 per hour. This means that each spreadsheet that a salesperson spends two hours a week working on costs $1,000 per week! Do you think that spreadsheet is worth $50,000? I doubt it! Yes, that’s a simple example but if you were to get serious about the revenue per hour that a salesperson is expected to generate, we would all start to wipe out much of the stupid busy work.

It’s not about being busy but about being productive by being busy on what really matters. I can’t stress this enough. Your goal for this week is to keep the two questions I asked in front of you to challenge you each time you’re about to do anything that’s not customer facing.

Copyright 2019, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog. Mark Hunter is the author of High-Profit Prospecting: Powerful Strategies to Find the Best Leads and Drive Breakthrough Sales Results

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