Study: UK field sales reps spending just 27% of their time actually selling
Sellers prevented from doing their job by relationship, data and technology friction that is sabotaging trust and creating inefficiencies.
UK field sales representatives spend just a quarter (27%) of their working week actually selling to customers, that’s according to a new report from cloud-based mobile sales software provider Skynamo. Instead of maximising the time they spend nurturing trusted customer relationships, the average rep loses a day a week to admin — which 40% of reps agree directly prevents them from selling more.
Skynamo’s report, Bridging the Trust Gap that’s sabotaging UK Field Sales, also finds that many sales reps admit to engaging in ‘untrustworthy’ behaviours that only serve to reinforce ingrained negative perceptions towards the sales profession. 67% of reps admit to having lied in order to close a deal — with nearly a quarter (24%) saying they do this ‘always’ or ‘very often’. 59% also agree they “would do whatever it takes to close a deal”. It is no surprise then that over half (54%) of reps believe that, in general, customers don’t trust sales people.
But rather than a lack of ethics or a general personality flaw among sales reps Skynamo believes that these behaviours stem from technology and data issues, which result in reps being backed into a corner with little time, not enough information and under pressure to hit targets.
Better access to data and the right technology can help transform the sales conversation and create the means to enable trust, efficiency and performance. The trouble is, this isn’t happening. Over a third (38%) of reps said technology is currently “more of a hindrance than a help” while 47% believe a lack of accurate customer and product data is preventing them from doing their job well.
Brian Howe, alliances director of Skynamo comments: “I have been in sales since my first job selling classified ad space 20 years ago, so I analyse this research with equal amounts of compassion and horror. I know how hard it is to close deals and how the pressure to meet numbers in the face of not enough information can push anyone to fudge the truth. But I can’t stand that, inspite of massive advances in technology, this is still the norm. Between cloud computing, mobile phones and the internet we have all the essential components to make it easier for salespeople to access all the information they need to present accurate information, yet clearly the dots aren’t being joined up.”
Roger Bradburn, chief operating officer and director, Institute of Sales Management (ISM) adds: “Skynamo’s report shines an important spotlight on the real day-to-day challenges experienced by UK salespeople and the lack of resources they have to succeed in what is a very demanding and underappreciated role. For field sales reps to sell effectively and build greater trust in the sales profession overall, they urgently need better access to accurate information about products, the ability to act on that data and simple, easy-to-use tools that are geared towards their needs.”
Field sales management software and mobile sales app, Skynamo, is purpose built to help reps build trusted and professional relationships with their customers and managers, which results in more sales. GPS technology and integration with backend systems gives sales managers visibility into field sales activity, reduces admin for sales reps and gives reps access to accurate product, stock level, and pricing information while on the road. Skynamo is used by manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors with field sales reps who regularly visit an existing customer base to sell products.
Howeconcludes: “By removing relationship, technology and data friction and bringing transparency to the sales environment Skynamo can bridge the divisive trust gap that is sabotaging UK field sales.”