In our previous sales blog, we discovered through a survey how manual expense management affected the performance of traveling sales teams. In this piece, we will discuss the time losses which occur due to the same reason.
Here is how a typical sales cycle looks
Lead generation >> Follow up >> Meeting >> Proposal >> Negotiation >> Handshakes & deal closed.
Although the sales cycle looks linear; it isn’t in reality. The time between any two of the above stages is as unpredictable as the stock market.
The primary reason for missing out on any of the above stages, say for example followups is forgetting about them. Although sales teams put their best foot forward, they find it hard to optimize their time.’and hence miss out on something something or the other’
We decided to find out which non core activity was taking up most of their time and could be avoided.
We surveyed 500+ sales executives and found that manual expense filing is an area which demands attention.
Expense filing is the main culprit of time wastage!
The filing of expenses creates a lot of stress for your sales team which might not be always visible. 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.
Here are some testimonials:
Fazil from Capricoast 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 the bills into the excel sheet.
– Fazil, Capricoast
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 how much time does expense filing really take ?
Our survey indicated that most salesmen spend on an average 2 hours per week on expense filing
56% of responders were spending anything between 1 to 4 hours per week only on expense filing.
We decided to work out a basic time study(here) ourselves. The results were startling; even the conservative approach showed grave results.
The survey showed that salespeople waste nearly 3 working days at worst and 1 day at best, every month, on expense filing (apart from stressing over it).
Activities like voucher filling and attaching bills look mundane but they take up a lot of time when done at together. More meetings mean more expenses which translate into more time in the filing of expenses.
These calculations may have nonconservative assumptions but they certainly represent a grave possibility. We suggest you try the sheet and check for yourself how much time your team.View the time study (Click here)
Expense Filing is interfering in your team’s personal life!
Shailesh disappointingly says that when he comes back home tired after work, instead of spending time with his family, he has pending work looming over his head. This bothers him.
He adds that though there may be no direct impact on his behavior of this activity, the frustration of handling so many paper receipts and reports does get to him.
He further says that his frustration continues as he keeps running around wasting time for his reimbursements, from finance team to his manager.
It is exhausting to an extent that he prefers to forego his money and get back to his job.
This is another testament to what we discovered in the previous part:, on how sales people lose around 5%-10% of all the money that is due for reimbursements.
In a role where everything is incentive driven this burden of expense reporting falls at the bottom of the sales person’s priority list. So much so that he pays the price without complaints.
Sales teams together are investing over 20 hours monthly in a process which can easily be cut down to minutes.
As a follow up to this survey, we tried to find a solution to this issue. We have compiled our findings in an E-book which you can download and use it for your reference.(here)
And feel free to reach out to us in case you need help on making such operational processes simpler and faster for your team.
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Find out what stresses your sales teams & how you can help them!