Study: Not Much Selling Going On

Salespeople spend too much time traveling, doing paperwork and performing other tasks, rather than actually selling their products and services, according to a recent survey. Salespeople on average spend nearly 60% of their time on administrative work and travel, estimates Proudfoot Consulting, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., which analyzed nearly 1,500 salespeople randomly selected from 13 different industry sectors. The methodology used in the study divided a salesperson's workday into six activities: selling, prospecting, problem solving, administration, traveling and downtime. Of the 13 industries studied, salespeople in the paper industry edged out salespeople in the banking and financial services sector for the most time spent doing administrative work, averaging 39% to 38% respectively. Salespeople in the health-care industry spent the most time traveling, averaging nearly 50%. "The sales force is not engaging customers often enough. They need to improve their time management skills," says Luiz Carvalho, CEO, Proudfoot Consulting. "Time and territory management is missing in many organizations. Missed opportunities or poor resources utilization and not being in front of clients are key contributors to low sales and lack of revenues growth." Here's a sampling of the survey report's categories, and the percentage of time salespeople in each spend on "active selling": automotive, 17%; electronics, 9%; paper, 4%; chemicals, 6%; textiles, 7%; food and beverage, 6%; manufacturing "other," 8%.

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