A very interesting report, called State of Sales Productivity Report, has just been released by Docurated. Compiled from anonymized data from the Docurated sales productivity solution and a survey of 127 sales and marketing executives, the report examines the state of sales productivity from both the sales rep and sales management perspectives.
In our first blog in this series, we took a look at the 5 Keys to Improving Sales Productivity, based on the report’s first finding. Our second blog focused on the importance of investing in sales productivity. The third focused on the vital importance of content and messaging to sales productivity.
Another key finding in this report was that sales reps spend about 1/3 of their time searching for content and creating new slides for upcoming meetings. The report also cites the Information Technology Services Marketing Association, which states that companies spend 16% of their overall budget on marketing content. The authors of the report then pose the question, “Why are sales reps spending so much time trying to re-create the wheel?”
The report also quotes data released by IDC and McKinsey that asserts that sales reps waste 10 to 20 hours per week on unproductive tasks (re-creating existing slides, curating materials for presentations, searching through documents) related to information retrieval.
Are They Really Wasting Time?
My experience with salespeople, and as a salesperson myself, stretches back over 30 years. I can confidently state that if salespeople are spending so much time searching for content and creating it themselves, there is a deeper problem than meets the eye. From my experience such a problem, when it is found to exist, has one of 3 sources:
1. The materials Marketing is creating and providing don’t actually work to help sales reps close sales, hence salespeople feel they need to create their own. This comes about from a disconnect existing between Marketing and Sales in which Marketing isn’t taking the time to actually find out what kind of collateral Sales really needs to bring opportunities through the sales process to a close. Often it greatly helps to have collateral materials for each stage of the sales process—but they won’t work unless they truly add value for the prospect.
One of my current long-term Marketing staff here at Pipeliner, years back worked at a company at which he was the Marketing liaison for Sales. It was his job to work directly with salespeople, find out what they needed, and create collateral materials that they could really use. For bigger deals, he would actually create materials specifically for that deal. While not all companies can afford to dedicate a Marketing person in such a way, it certainly helps to regularly communicate with Sales, find out exactly what they need, and produce it. Sales will then cease creating their own materials.
2. Marketing is creating valuable collateral materials, but salespeople can’t find them. A salesperson is only going to look for so long, and if they can’t find it they’ll re-create or re-assemble it. Lacking an efficient CRM solution (see #3 below), at the least Marketing should create a system that makes it extremely easy for salespeople to find needed collateral, and fully inform Sales of how it works.
I’ve also seen a combination of #1 and #2 above: Many of the materials Marketing is creating for Sales aren’t effective, and the ones that are effective are difficult or impossible to find.
3. The company’s CRM solution doesn’t allow all for easy access to collateral materials that correspond to each stage of the sales pipeline. With Pipeliner CRM, for example, any kind of document can be stored at each sales process stage and is available to a salesperson with a single click. A salesperson is already in CRM, is already talking to the client—and right there the salesperson has access to needed materials, with having to search anywhere at all.
Restoring Sales Productivity
The key to solving this issue and restoring sales productivity is to make sure Marketing is producing collateral materials that really work for Sales, and to make them easily available to salespeople. The most efficient way to this availability is, of course, through CRM.
With Pipeliner CRM, materials can be accessed for each sales stage with a single click. Get your free trial of Pipeliner CRM now.