Being a father of two young adults, my son being 17 years old and my daughter hitting the ripe age of 21, I am more than aware of this generation’s use of screens versus face time. This recent study from UCLA confirms that face-to-face interaction is critical in developing our ability to read people’s emotions, in turn helping us gain a better understanding of their situation.
I had the opportunity to visit several clients and prospects this week and spent high-quality time conducting sessions relevant to both Indix and their agendas. It reiterated the credibility of the old sales process and aligned with one of the key aspects we added to our go-to-market mix at Indix during our field team launch in 2014.
Face time matters.
It also highlights a direct correlation to our recent success. Our objective at Indix is to emerge as the leader in Product Intelligence. As it was recently announced, with record Q1 billings, we are on our way! One of our core sales values and reporting metrics is “Face time.”
A major contributor to the success of a sales team is the amount of face time they spend with potential and current customers versus web conference or screen time. At least twice a quarter, I measure the percentage of an individual’s work week spent in face-to-face meetings to compute an aggregate percentage of time checks.
I will not lay a claim on the origination of this methodology to work with field teams on the value of understanding, tracking and improving face time spent with target accounts versus phone and/or web sessions. The insights I gained were from a former Board Member at the time when I ran global sales and support at NetScaler. In 2004, my mentor asked me a simple question: How many hours a week do your sales executives spend with their prospects?
During my tenure at Netscaler, I learned firsthand the value of face time. During my first pass at auditing face time, I interviewed 20+ account executives and simply asked them to share their calendar over the past four weeks to compute their weekly percentage of face time, and ran the numbers.
Amazingly, there was a 100% correlation between the amount of time that account executives spent in front of customers and overall quota achievement.
Highest ranking face time results in success. Period.
The interesting part is what everyone’s notion of face time percentage really was, and how wrong they were about the idea. Before we would jump into the actual face time percentage review or the number of hours per week that account executives spent in front of their targets, I asked the question: If you used the number of hours per a 50 hour week to compute the percentage of time that you spent in front of your account, what is the percentage of time that you averaged over the past four weeks?
As you might anticipate and as my mentor suggested, the typical guess was 35-40 percent. Now, let us do some math. If you take 40 percent of a 50-hour workweek, you would spend 20 hours in front of customers per week, selling! Show me the person that hits this stride and I will hire them on the spot.
Here’s the reality – Once I dug into the numbers, I realized that the average rep spent 8 percent of time selling directly. The top dog spent approximately 22 percent of hours on average. Overall, a solid performer will spend approximately 18 percent or 9 hours per week in front of their target accounts.
By spending actual versus speculative face time in front of a customer, you can work through a lot more learning. You can then adjust your efforts to increase from sub approx. 10% to more, resulting in success.
Good luck selling and the next time you schedule a web conference, think twice.