Question: Has your Sales Organisation has outlined expectations for an environment that limits distractions and interruptions – and does your sales force work in an environment with few distractions and interruptions?
According to our research at ThinkSales Global, only 26.7% of Sales Organisations have outlined expectations for an environment that limits distractions and interruptions.
In addition, 23% of companies rate their confidence as Outstanding that their sales force works in an environment with few distractions and interruptions.
The ‘Constant Interruptions’ Problem
Yes, your sales executives are adults and expect to be treated as such. This means that your sales managers shouldn’t be telling them when and how often they should be taking personal calls or talking to colleagues. Unfortunately, the truth is that workplace interruptions have a major impact on productivity and in the sales environment, loss of productivity equals lost revenue.
According to a recent productivity study conducted by Udemy: “Noisy, interruption-prone offices make employees unmotivated, stressed, and frustrated. Employers could boost morale — and their bottom line — by giving people training for staying productive despite distractions.”
Franck Tétard, from the Institute for Advanced Management Systems Research in Finland, has developed the Theory of the Fragmentation of Working Time (FWT) based on his extensive surveys of working environments. It says that:
- Only 20% of interruptions fall into the critical and important zones
- The remaining 80% are of little to no value.
This wouldn’t be so disturbing if we didn’t take the previous statistics into account, as well as Tétard’s own figures:
- On average, an office worker is interrupted once every 8 minutes, which is about 6 to 7 times an hour.
- That equals 50 to 60 interruptions in an average work day.
- If the average interruption lasts five minutes, at a conservative 50 interruptions per day that’s 250 minutes, or 4 hours out of 8, that are spent dealing with interruptions.
If only 20% of this is spent on important matters, then 80%, or 3 hours and 20 minutes, is spent on interruptions that are not worthy of your time.
How much are these interruptions costing you in revenue, given that for sales executives, time really does equal money?
How to keep everyone productive
Sales Organisations need to assist sales executives and employees to remain productive by fostering a culture that discourages disruptions and supports workflow instead. This is best achieved if you can provide guidelines on how to reduce workplace interruptions, from self-inflicted interruptions to office-related ones.
- Train your team on time management principles
- Implement time-blocking. This is blocked out time when someone cannot be interrupted.
Create a culture where phone calls are not accepted and email alerts are switched off. Even better, sales executives should work offline if they can. This should be done in 2 or 3-hourly blocks, with open times in between to review any urgent emails or assist colleagues.
- Manage interruptions. Everyone should keep a log of who interrupts them the most and why. Once they’ve compiled a week’s worth of interruptions, they can approach the colleague and show them how they’re affecting their productivity with non-urgent matters.
- Encourage discipline and focus. Focus time should be used to complete high value tasks, so encourage minds not to wander to emails, phones and social media.
Top tip: Start talking about ‘money hours’. Colleagues and even sales executives to managers should carefully consider asking for assistance or interrupting anyone based on the rule that they are stealing ‘money hours’ – and it better be worth it.
Assess the health of your sales organisation
Outlining expectations for an environment that limits distractions and interruptions and enforcing an office with few distractions and interruptions are two of 322 measures of a world-class Sales Organisation.
ThinkSales Global is a specialist revenue engineering consultancy.
We assist our clients to deliver market-defying results through strategic and tactical intentions within a Sales Organisation Maturity Model that addresses the five key pillars of high-performing Sales Organsations, namely:
- Competitive Strategy
- Customer Engagement
- Sales Talent
- Sales Management
- Sales Enablement
How does your Sales Organisation stack up? Find out by taking the ThinkSales 5 Pillar Strategic Sales Assessment™.
This first-of-its-kind 360-degree gap analysis report enables your Sales Leadership team to assess its strengths and detect weaknesses and impediments to revenue growth across the five pillars.
Click here for more information on the ThinkSales 5 Pillar Strategic Sales Assessment™.