In our previous part, we discovered through a survey how manual expense management affected the performances of travelling sales teams.
How a sales cycle works?
Lead generation >> Follow up >> Meeting >> Proposal >> Negotiation >> Handshakes & deal closed.
Only if the sales cycle was that linear and simple. It is the opposite. The time between any two of the above stages is as unpredictable as the stock market. And sometimes, negative responses from prospects wipes the efforts.
Although sales teams put in their best effort, they find it hard to optimize their time. The primary reason for missing on followups is forgetting about them i.e. under stress and several things to manage, followups just slip from their minds.
As a result, we decided to look closer into their schedules to find out which activity was taking up most of their time and could be easily avoided.
We surveyed 500+ sales executives and found that manually expense filing is an area which demands attention.
Expense filing is a main culprit of time wastage!
The time lost in filing of expenses doesn’t even begin to portray the actual amount of stress it creates for your sales team. Very similar to a plane taking off, the actual time to get off the ground may be about 6-8 minutes but the whole process of taxing around, waiting for clearance and checks takes the total time to say 40 minutes. Expense filing works in the same way.
Fazil from Capricoast adds,“If I create expense reports regularly, I take 2-3 hours per week. If I do it in one go at the end of the month, it takes me an entire day.”
He further adds, “The biggest bottleneck in the entire process is the manual entry of the expenses.” He says it takes up to 15-20 minutes to enter all the company mandated details from a bill into the excel sheet.
Jayant from HVL who primarily reports fuel expenses used to spend 20-30 minutes filing his fuel claims. He would normally stop at the ATM, withdraw the money and at the end of the day fill vouchers to reclaim the money spent.
So exactly how much time does it really take?
Our survey indicated that most salesmen take around 2 hours per week on expense filing (on an average).
56% of responders were spending anything between 1 to 4 hours per week only on expense filing.
We decided to work out abasic time study(here) ourselves. The results were numbing, even the conservative approach gave grave results.
It shows that salespeople waste nearly 3 working days at worst and 1 day at best, every month, on expense filing (apart from stressing over it).
One can see (in the above sheet) that though the sub activities like voucher filling and attaching bills look mundane and easy, they take up a lot of time when occur in bulk. The more no of meetings mean more expenses which translate into more time in filing of expense.
These calculations may have nonconservative assumptions but they certainly represents a grave possibility. We suggest you try the sheet and check for yourself on how much you as an employer are losing on time.
When office problem interferes with personal life!
Shailesh says in a disappointed tone that when he comes back tired after a long day, instead of relaxing or spending time with his family in peace, he has a pending work looming over his head. This bothers him.
He says further that although he hasn’t noticed any direct impact of this on his behavior but the frustration of handling so many paper receipts get to him.
He further says that his frustration doesn’t end with bills, he hates running around wasting time for his reimbursements, from finance team to his manager. It exhausts him to an extent where he prefers to forego his money and goes back to his job.
It is a testament to what we discovered in the previous part, on how the sales people lose around 5%-10% of all the money they are due for reimbursements.
In a role where everything is incentive driven this burden of a work falls at the bottom of the sales person’s priority list. So much so that they pay the price without complaints.
Sales teams are investing over 20 hours monthly in a process which is left mid way by many.
As a follow up to this survey, we dug up some more to find if there could be any solution to this thing.We compiled our findings in an E-book.You can download it and use it for your reference.(here)
And feel free to reach out to us in case you want us to help you, we will be glad to have a discussion on this.
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