How many sales days and hours do you actually have to achieve your sales goals?

Only 57% of sellers will achieve their sales target this year.

I have heard countless excuses why salespeople don’t reach their monthly, quarterly or annual targets. Aside from the standard “competitor”, “price” and “economy” reasons, I have also heard reps say things like, “I was at a tradeshow for four days this month”, “The sales meeting took me away from my territory” or other such excuses. Here’s the reality – we don’t have as much selling time as we think, and we miscalculate our sales per day or per hour.

When I first started in sales, I wanted to be a million-dollar sales producer and get my name on the Million Dollar Plaque. My boss, the VP of Sales, shared an important formula. To produce one million dollars in sales, I would have to generate on average $20,000 in weekly revenue or $500 for every hour I was working. I was very proud to realize I was worth $500/hour. Then I realized I couldn’t consistently sell $500/hour every hour with all the non-sales stuff that gets in the way.

Long-term success in sales doesn’t just happen; it takes planning and strategizing and part of that planning is calculating the actual number of selling days and selling hours you have available. 

A few years ago, I worked through an exercise that helped one of my clients dramatically improve the productivity of their outside sales team.

We started by having the reps estimate how many selling days they had available for the upcoming year. If we start with 365 days minus 104 days for weekends, 15 days for vacation and 10 statutory days, that leaves us with 236 days. Then we can look at other pre-determined commitments such as tradeshows, conferences, sales meetings, training, etc. This includes travel time to and from each event (this varied from rep to rep depending on their geographical location). Then we asked them to calculate travel time to and from “out-of-town” client appointments. We got them to record their office/admin days as well.

Business planning is not just an exercise for business owners, sales leaders, executives and shareholders. Successful salespeople also create business plans to outline their go-forward strategy. Click To Tweet

After this was completed, the team realized that they had far fewer selling days than they originally thought. In fact, after the revised calculations, the average dropped to 150 – 200 selling days in the year. 

However, this was only phase one of our exercise.

Next, was phase two. We had each rep plot out their annual sales target and identify how they could achieve that goal, either with existing clients or new prospects. This activity was an eye-opener because no one had actually taken the time to figure out HOW they were going to attain that year’s sales target.

This helped the team determine where they would get the sales revenue from rather than just think about it. Several of the reps realized that they needed to get more business from their existing clients. Others thought acquiring new clients would be a more effective approach. 

But wait, we weren’t done yet!

In phase three we had the reps look at their existing clients and rate them based on sales volume and profitability. Then we had them look back and calculate how much time they spent with each client throughout the previous year. This is the ROTI factor – return on time invested.

This was a huge eye-opener!

Several of the reps noticed that they spent an inordinate amount of time with clients who generated very little revenue or profit and they realized that spending that much time with these customers was actually costing them money. They started to see that they could improve their results by investing more time with higher-value customers.

Business planning is not just an exercise for business owners, sales leaders, executives and shareholders. Successful salespeople also create business plans to outline their go-forward strategy.

Planning may not be glamorous or fun work. I love it because it improves my self-talk to strategize and have a plan to achieve my goals. It is extremely effective in helping you achieve your sales targets, exceed your sales goals and improve your overall sales productivity and ROTI.

Thought Provoking QuestionHow many selling days and selling hours do you actually have left this year to ensure you achieve your sales goal? How will you maximize your ROTI?

Teneo Challenge: Use this template to complete your own Profitable Client ROTI Analysis, to help you have a successful fall selling season and begin planning for an epic 2019.