Last month I completed my exhortations on your PiM ( Position in Market ) data pursuit.  Now, the final tranche in this series on the data you need to collect to run your annual sales team optimisation – “time : task allocation data”.  Remember from the start of this series…

  • sales team member time to task allocation…needs to encompass an allocation of average times invested across the full range of activities conducted by the sales team being optimised

Best to pre-format a total activity list for them, rather than ask each member to start from a blank sheet.   By all means use existing position descriptions as a start point for such a list. But don’t stop there.  Think about all the activities the team members undertake in relation to the sales cycle and then the service cycle.  Think also about all that they do from the perspective of proactive/plannable vs responsive/ad hoc.  Even drill down on the latter and divide that construct into two opposing cycles…responsive = healthy and responding to customer re opportunities vs reacting  to customer re fixing product/service supply issues.  You will find that there is a certain degree of overlap here, say for example , the activities you flush out when thinking about the service cycle will already flush out activities relevant to the reactive cycle.  That’s ok…a good way to cover all bases and ensure you have a meaningful activity list.

Once this top-to-bottom activity list has been knocked into shape, then assign it to each team member.  Firstly ask them to quantify the average number of hours they work a month, including “unpaid” work at night and weekends.  prosecute any that look inflated. Then ask them to drill down , drill down and drill down to assign the proportionally correct number of hours to each activity on the list. In  scientific speak – this a forced distribution.  In everyday speak this is like giving them a large pie and asking them to carve into many slices – right number and right size for each.

Either way, it forms the vital fifth tranche of data you need to run  your annual sales team optimisation – as it will give you a very good insight into their current reality.  What they are spending their time one.  And how that compares to what they should be.