The Sales Activity Management Dilemma
There are as many ideas on sales activity management best practices as there are sales executives. Unfortunately many of those ideas are based on rudimentary fundamentals that never really translate to real-life. It usually involves having your sales team “scheduling” activities in the future that are not on the intended recipients calendar. This inevitably leads to the call we get all to often about how to auto-complete activities that did not happen or happened but never completed.
Why it Doesn’t Work
While it sounds good in theory, “scheduling” activities that are not really required to happened at that time never works because salespeople are rarely beholden to anything other than closing a deal. If a new prospect or existing client asks for a meeting at the same time the salesperson “scheduled” a follow-up call, rightfully, the call goes unmade. The same thing happens over the course of the next few days and all of a sudden the overdue calls pile to the point where the salesperson doesn’t look at the list without feeing stressed and behind.
A Better Approach to Sales Activity Management
A better approach to solving the problem is to not focus on “scheduled” activities but rather completed activities and more specifically the date of the last activity. By doing this you are getting significantly greater intelligence than you get from seeing a list of incomplete calls and it is happening as a normal part of the day as opposed to creating something new to do.
By simply adding a field in the CRM of your choice that records the last completed activity date, when your team does have time to make calls, they simply sort their call list based on the people they have not communicated with the longest. As they make calls the list re-sorts. If they have to stop, they can easily pick up where they left off without feeling like they are behind. For management, the data can be quickly graphed to visualize the frequency your prospects and customers are being touched.
To take it up a notch, add another field and limit it to only outbound activity. Tracking outbound activity is a great way to determine whether you are under staffed or over staffed. If your salespeople are only able to react to inbound activities, it could mean there is a gap in your new business development team.
So there you have it, another idea for sales activity management. Best of all, it is easy for the salespeople to do and sales executives to manage. And that is always the best solution.
Have sales activity management problems? We would love to help.
About the Author
Kip Smith - Founder & CEO
Kip is a business process engineer who has spent the last 20+ years providing architectural and executional guidance to companies wanting to streamline their customer lifecycle and operational productivity. With experience in both large corporations and small entrepreneurial companies, he prides himself in being able to quickly identify the road blocks that keep organizations from reaching their full potential and then implementing solutions that remove those roadblocks.
Prior to founding Alternetics in 1999, Kip was a member of the senior management team for two large publicly traded companies, serving in both sales and operational leadership roles.