Sales Reps Say They Spend Too Much Time On Email

Many B2b salespeople expect to miss their sales quotas this year, and it may be because they are spending only one third of their time selling. If so, the biggest culprit is email, judging by this year’s State of Sales study from Salesforce.  

Asked for the five things they spend too much time on, sales reps list managing emails first, followed by logging activities, inputting sales data and customer notes and finding the right person to contact.

In contrast, sales reps say they spend too little time on researching competitive activity, investigating competitive offerings, discovering the needs of the customer or prospect, reviewing the pipeline and researching a prospect’s current solution.

However, B2B salespeople are increasingly embracing new technologies. For one thing, twice as many teams now prioritize leads based on data analysis of propensity to buy rather than intuition.

In addition, they are quickly warming up to artificial intelligence. The study projects over 155% growth in adoption by 2020. AI is followed by marketing automation, with over 104% growth rate.



Finally, salespeople now spend 3.2 times more time connecting virtually customers than meeting them in person.

Salesforce surveyed 2,908 sales professionals throughout the globe.

Of that sample, 57% expect to miss their sales quotas this year. That isn’t entirely due to unrealistic goals, since 72% of the firms set quotas based with a data-driven approach, Salesforce notes.

The main problem may be that salespeople are bogged down with manual tasks and downtime.

The study broke the respondents into three groups.

High performers — 24% of the sample — have significantly increased YOY revenue. Moderate performers — 69% have somewhat increased revenue. And under-performers — 7% — report decreased revenue, YOY.

High performers are 1.5 times more likely than under-performers to base their forecast on data-driven insights.

Of the sales reps polled, 33% prioritize lads based on propensity to buy. Only 16% base this on intuition, and 14% on geography.

They view the following insights as helpful when prioritizing leads:

  • Past or existing relationship with our company — 80%
  • Estimated revenue — 77%
  • Business insights — 77%
  • Likelihood for add-on business/propensity to buy more — 75%
  • Decision makers involved — 75%
  • Reference value — 70%
  • Estimated deal cycle time — 63%
  • Deal complexity — 58%
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