According to Salesforce research, sales professionals spend only 34 percent of their time selling. Administrative tasks, internal meetings, paperwork – a.k.a. busy work – consume a significant amount of time for the average sales person. This is especially true for sales teams that spend their time in the field, prospecting and communicating deal flow to the company.
For most, the sales team is the most important driver of revenue, but many cross-functional departments place demands on their time. Everyone wants a piece of the sales team’s time to gather information needed for a 360-degree view of customers and prospects from the C-suite to marketing to finance. That time could be spent building relationships, better understanding customer needs, and actively selling.
In addition, sales representatives are often expected to keep track of progress in the CRM and focus on achieving quota. Handling their business and tracking deals are always top of mind, in just about everything they do. And getting the payout statement – on time and accurately – is a major motivator.
Administrative details, such as commission calculations, should not be a hurdle that sales teams need to worry about – not in today’s age of software as a service. Here are three ways sales leaders can immediately increase active selling time and decrease administrative tasks, all while continuing to motivate their sales people:
1. Clearly communicate how sales people track progress to quota.
The ability of a sales team to do its job is often predicated on how fluid its workflows are. Deals have many moving parts and removing friction from the process should be a priority. If you’re a results-driven, high-growth revenue organization, your teams should be able to understand how they are tracking against plan in real-time.
Effective commission tracking tools help sales teams remain incentivized to achieve targets and maintain a clear picture of their progress — and tools that simplify mundane tasks, such as questions about statements, are a bonus. Companies that prioritize simplifying time-consuming and complex tasks through sophisticated technology will be more efficient by default.
2. Create an effective feedback loop between finance, operations, and sales.
When it comes to their performance and commission payouts, sales reps can have a lot of questions. An ongoing and effective feedback loop between operations, finance, and sales can be hard to facilitate — between messaging back and forth and following up on email and Slack threads. Implementing a system with automated and detailed payee statements where the sales team can quickly understand where commissions originated — from which deal and when—will eliminate many of those questions. And when those inquiries do arise, asking them alongside commission data saves hours for the operations and finance teams. They don’t have to dig through spreadsheets or black box systems to track down the information. The audit trail is easy to follow and mistakes are quickly rectified so sales can get back to what they do best.
3. Ditch the spreadsheets and get it right the first time.
Unlike most forms of compensation, such as salary, commissions involve complex calculations and require input from multiple data sources and cross-functional stakeholders — and they change as frequently as every quarter each year. With all of this complexity, you might be surprised to hear that over 70 percent of the market continues to manage commissions in spreadsheets, driven by its flexibility and familiarity. However, one formula error can cost the company in more ways than one. Everyone likes to get paid accurately and sometimes the traditional spreadsheet doesn’t allow for that to happen, hurting both the sales teams and the corporation.
Sales people have complex and forever changing compensation plans and these plans are the very things that motivate them to seek more revenue opportunities. When deploying an incentive compensation process that gets sales teams paid, transparency and accuracy are the most important factors. Leadership needs to be clear about the payment plans, sales need to be on top of deal flow, and administrative teams need to track and calculate the right percentages for payment.
Sales people shouldn’t waste time on busywork: it can slow down progress to goal and disrupt workflows. There’s no reason to be stuck in the past using outdated systems. When a company deploys a modern, scalable commission platform that people can depend on, it often pays for itself in terms of time savings and happier sales teams focused on selling.
Learn more about how CaptivateIQ can streamline your organization’s sales teams.