“Sales reps have only 18 days a month when they can pursue, advance and close a sale.”
This quote from Nancy Nardin, Founder and Editor of Smart Selling Tools in her new eBook titled: Increase Sales Productivity: Sales Tools and the path to productivity gains has triggered conversations in sales cubes around the world. I had the opportunity to ask Nancy about her new book and what she calls “The 215 Movement”.
Miles: In your eBook you have introduced something you call The 215 Movement. What is it and why is it important for salesmakers to understand it?
Nancy: There are only 215 days in the year for selling. We subtracted weekends, vacation and holidays, internal sales meetings, travel time, and other “non-selling” days from the calendar and came up with 215. One can certainly argue that number, but the fact is, there’s a heck-of-a-lot less than 365 days to sell.
So the 215 movement is a wake-up call for sales managers and sales reps. Anything that takes away from those precious 215 days is likely to decrease sales productivity. Anything that protects those 215 days is likely to increase sales productivity. If you want to sell more, you have to spend more time in front of prospects. The only way to do that is to spend less time on something else.
My recommendation is to take a close look at all the little things that add up to days of lost productivity. Let’s take a common task like searching the web for the right contact at a company or researching background information on a contact. If you spend 5 minutes every day – not an unreasonable number – and you reduce it to 2.5 minutes with tools like NetProspex, and Gist, you’ve put one full day back in the 215 bank. That’s one day more than you had before, multiplied by the number of sales reps. In fact every 2.5 minutes of saved time translates to 1 day gained. There’re other benefits to implementing these time-saving tools as well like; quicker contact with prospects, better insight on the prospect’s needs, and a better impression on the prospect which can have a positive impact on sales.
Miles: What do you recommend to a sales leader reading this who wants to jumpstart their sales efforts after reading about all the terrific tools in your eBook? How and where should they begin?
Nancy: I’d start by explaining the 215 concept to your sales team. Let them know that you’re looking at ways to eliminate the 215 killers. Then ask them to each keep a pad of paper handy and jot down the tasks that suck time down the drain throughout the day. Take a look at all the lists and look for the commonalities and for those that impact time the most. Also ask yourself which of those, if done more effectively, will result in higher quality interactions with prospects? Then come up with your “wouldn’t it be great if” list. Wouldn’t it be great if we didn’t have to spend so much time putting together packets of literature? Wouldn’t it be great if we had a faster way to send follow-up information through e-mail? Wouldn’t it be great if we could quickly gain insight on our prospect before making contact? Then look for tools that address those areas. I would also highly suggest that people work with experts who can help guide them. Searching out and analyzing sales tools, understanding how they would fit together and how they would impact your sales processes, can be a 215 killer in itself for managers. Hire an expert on the subject and get the job done better and faster.
Miles: What is your goal for the new eBook?
Nancy: I sought out to write about the different paths to productivity gains. Training sales reps and providing more knowledge is one path. Hiring more sales reps is another. Creating new products is a third. The 4th path is the road most traveled. It’s simply to “demand more”. Make more calls, go on more appointments, send more proposals, SELL MORE.
It’s difficult to simply “do more” when there are only 24 hours in a day and presumably, sales reps only work during 8-12 of them. We need to provide reps with tools that will help them meet or exceed our demands. Managers can’t expect different outcomes i.e. more sales, if they don’t change something. It’s not good enough to simply apply more pressure.
The book focuses on the 4th path – the “demand more” approach and identifies the tools needed to make it worth.
It’s my hope that this e-book helps sales managers get real about what’s needed to increase productivity.
Thanks to Nancy for sharing her thoughts and for this terrific resource.
You can read more about Nancy’s 215 Movement, and the Web Tools that she believes will maximize your sales efforts by downloading her free eBook by clicking below.
Nancy Nardin is Founder and Editor of Smart Selling Tools, providing a place where sales professionals can find and recommend tools to help them sell more. You can read her blog at http://smartsellingtools.wordpress.com/