Beginning today, ask your sales personnel what they do each day. You want to know how much time they spend either on the telephone or email with customers. Ideally you want a mix of time with current customers and time with potentially new customers. Ask this to be documented every day over a week or two and then gather up the answers and tell your sales people their jobs are changing so they can make more money.
Discover how much your people are not selling. Isolate and identify how much time was not selling. How much time did your sales guy spend talking to existing or new potential customers? The real amount of time in front of customers will be disappointingly low compared to the amount of time the sales person is recorded at work. For all of the time he is not speaking with a customer, ask that he detail all of the menial clerical jobs he must do each day. You want to get so much of this reassigned as possible.
Assign grunt work to support staff. Gather the tasks and assign them to the support staff which stays in the office. Have your sales personnel use an assigned person for all their travel needs so they are not sitting on the telephone getting plane tickets, returning cars and doing irrelevant things when they could have someone do this while they go back to spending time with customers.
Get what you are paying for. You want to maximize the time your sales people spend talking to new and potential customers. This is their strength and the key to more sales orders, not sitting at a keyboard. You want to cut non-customer time (non-productive time) down as low as possible. You want to get your money’s worth with your sales people so find out what they are doing and what they are NOT doing.
Increase customer time. You want to increase the time your salespeople are seeking and obtaining new purchase orders for your firm. You could not care less about their quick ability to enter orders on a computer, arrange flight schedules or find cheap hotel rates. You do not want them filling out dozens of computer forms or spending days in the office handling paperwork. The question lies in what you hired them to do for your company.
Hand in the order and go back to selling. You want them to get the order, bring it to the office, hand it to a clerk, and then go back to meet and greet new potential customers, something they do better than anyone else in your organization. This is your daily goal and that of each of your sales reps. Tell them you want them to make more money. If they are doing anything not related to getting sales orders, it is a waste of their talents. Doing these things is not increasing their value so cut out this clerical work to focus on that for which you hired them.
Earn more bonuses. In exchange for taking away all these menial duties from your sales reps, you must tell them they will now make more money because of more time in front of customers. You are giving them the opportunity to earn larger incentives each month now that they have more time to procure orders for the company. Once you reassign their non-sales duties, ask them now to produce a newly revised sales order forecast so they have a higher goal to attain. This is available and possible because now they will have more free time to sell.