Why 35% Selling Time is Unacceptable

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TimeThree Best Practices for SFDC Admins to increase selling time because Time is Money!

Most of us reading this post are SFDC Admins.  And, hopefully, most of us are going to attend Dreamforce next month!

In conversations with Ben, he has graciously offered a guest blog post to me.  My topic is 35% – that is the percentage of time that sales reps are actually selling. (Thank You Nancy Nardin of Smart Selling Tools!) Let’s put this in perspective.

  1.  If our kids/relatives/friends were in school, and only getting instruction 35% of the time, what we would think?
  2.  If our colleagues in professional services were billable for only 35% of the hours, what would we think…is that acceptable??
  3.  Now, why do we think that 35% is good enough “selling time” for our reps?

Luckily as Salesforce admins, we have the best opportunity to improve the reps selling time and truly optimize their production….in fact, just think about the potential benefits of improving #salesproductivity to 40%!   Basically, can we find one to two hours per week for our reps?

1. Redefine Required Fields: Make Reward Fields!

In any object, especially the contact and opportunity object.  I know many SFDC Admins love required fields.   Here is the reality of required fields – it ONLY ensures that the field meets validity requirement, not accuracy requirements.  Let’s just say that I am a sales rep selling Widget A…

Required Example:

  • I have 5 primary competitors who sell a similar Widget A – I don’t know my competitor (but later find out it is competitor 2)
  • The required field drives all the reps crazy – I pick Competitor 1 because it is default value
  • We currently have a required custom picklist field in the Opportunity Record that requires the reps to provide the primary competitor before they can save the opportunity.
  • Results:
    1. Bad Experience: Rep forced to add a competitor to save record
    2. Lost Time: no ability to easily find competitive materials,
    3. Bad Data Inaccurate information to sales operations

Reward Example:

  • I am selling Widget A and don’t select a competitor when I save my opportunity
  • A week later I find out about “Competitor 2” and add this to Oppty Record (I do this because I have seen chatter feeds about other reps getting cool links to relevant competitors)
  • I immediately get a chatter alert with the kill sheet on how to defeats “Competitor 2” (Or, I get an immediate pop-up video that is a 3 minute silver bullet from a top rep who just defeated “Competitor 2.”
  • Results:
    1. Great Experience: No error messages for required fields not being filled
    2. Time Saved: Rep given competitive information based on context of deal in real-time
    3. Clean Data: Rep voluntarily provided accurate competitive data


2. Dynamic List Views: Improve selling time one click at a time!

Most SFDC Admins are great at reports and dashboards and use them as the preferred method of communication about what needs to be fixed or reviewed.  With inline editing from list views, the ability to update a record with the least amount of mouse clicks has never been easier.

Making the list views both easy to update and dynamic is an easy way to save an hour or two for each rep – especially at the end of year / change of territories!   We have seen the most productive list views always add a criteria of “last updated date” of not equal to today.  The benefit is that the rep sees his/her list shrink as they update their records.  Yes, it is a little Pavlov’s dog…but it also saves scrolling time.  In addition to being to update multiple fields at once, every time you press save you get rewarded with a smaller list.   This will add work to the SFDC Admin but the scale that you can provide from creating the appropriate list views and reports is enormous.


3. Automate Activity Tracking: The Power of a Free Boost!

At a lot of firms, the SFDC Admin often has to become the “bad cop” in regards to sales reps not filling out fields and keeping SFDC up to date.  Everyone wants good clean data yet the reality is that good clean data usually comes at a very steep price.  In Example #1, we talked about changing our perspective on required fields.  In this best practice, I want to change our perspective on tracking activities.   In this area, I think the SFDC Admin has a huge opportunity to save a rep valuable sales time.  All users email, call, chat, and meet with clients and prospects.  Why not just automatically track these emails, calls, etc. and put them into SFDC?  Let’s focus on the largest amount of activities, emails, which usually are about 65% of all communication with clients and prospects.  Now, let have another reality check.  As SFDC Admins, do you want your reps only sitting in front of their computer when they can log activities?  No, you want their iphone conversations to get into SFDC.  You want the inbound emails from the clients getting in as activities.  Our research indicates that reps forget to add 50% of their activities to SFDC (inbound emails, mobile device, AND all non-sales reps emails are the primary reason.)

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The reality is that reps sometimes also forget to push the button!  The best practice that we have seen is to simply automate it and give the reps an additional 30 minutes per week of non-admin Time (we average 120 emails per day. 600 emails per week.  3 Seconds per push the button.)

As an SFDC Admin, you can become the true Sales Ops Hero…and get closer to reps having 40% selling time!         

We talked about three technical ways that we, as SFDC Admins, can help our reps increase their selling time:

  1. Redefine Required Fields
  2. Crazy List Views
  3. Automate Activity Tracking

I hope to see you online in Salesforce.com Community or in person at Dreamforce in September. You can follow me on Twitter (@natebride), collaborate on Salesforce.com Community (Nate Bride Customer), or connect to me on LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/in/natebride)

One thought on “Why 35% Selling Time is Unacceptable

  1. Hey Ben –

    Appreciate the opportunity to share some best practices on your blog. Look forward to more discussion and dreamforce in about four weeks!



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