The Surprising Reason Why Business Services Professionals Only Spend 28 Of Their Time Actually Selling

Published on September 14, 2023 by David Zhang

The Surprising Reason Why Business Services Professionals Only Spend 28 Of Their Time Actually Selling

The world of business services is complex, involving intricate client relationships and nuanced problem-solving skills. Sales professionals in this sector are often regarded as the key drivers of growth and customer satisfaction, which raises an interesting question: why do these individuals spend less than a third of their working hours on actual selling activities?

The Surprising Truth

Research has shown that, on average, business services professionals only dedicate approximately 28% of their time to selling. This statistic is both surprising and worrying, especially considering that maximizing sales time should logically lead to better results. However, the reality is not always aligned with such straightforward expectations.

Unpacking the Non-Selling Hours

To understand this paradox, we must consider what these professionals are doing with the remaining 72% of their time. A significant portion is consumed by administrative tasks, such as data entry, report generation, and managing emails. But are these activities merely distractions, or do they fulfill a significant role in the holistic approach to sales?

Internal Coordination: Sales professionals often find themselves in a cross-functional role, coordinating with marketing, finance, or product development teams to align strategies, which takes up valuable time.

Customer Relationship Management: Sometimes, the administrative burden is associated with maintaining strong client relationships. This includes scheduling, preparing for, and following up on meetings.

Training and Development: Keeping up with new product offerings, market trends, and sales techniques requires regular training, further diminishing the time available for direct selling.

Travel and Downtime: For those in roles that require visits to clients or prospects, travel time cannot be discounted, and while necessary, does not count as selling time.

It's clear that non-selling activities, while often not directly generating revenue, play a substantial role in the sales process. The issue then becomes not the activities themselves, but the balance and efficiency with which they are executed.

The Impact of Inefficiencies

A closer examination reveals chronic inefficiencies within the non-selling quotient of time. Administrative tasks, for instance, could often be streamlined or automated. The problem of inefficiency is twofold:

Redundant Processes: Many organizations fail to regularly review and optimize their workflows. This leads to a pile-up of obsolete practices that consume time without adding value.

Lack of Automation and Tools: Sales automation tools and CRM systems are designed to save time, yet in some companies, they are either underutilized or not used to their full potential due to lack of training or resistance to change.

The Strategy to Reclaim Selling Time

The goal is not to eliminate these supporting activities—they're indispensable to a well-rounded sales strategy—but to perform them more efficiently. Here's how:

Leverage Technology: Tools like Aomni can minimize the time spent on account research and sales content creation. By automating these tasks, sales professionals can reallocate their focus to direct selling.

Process Redesign: Regularly audit and refine your workflows. Identify bottlenecks and redundancies and seek input from those affected by these processes for practical improvements.

Delegate Non-Sale Tasks: If possible, shift administrative responsibilities to dedicated support staff or virtual assistants to free up your sales team's bandwidth.

Sales Training: Investing in comprehensive training on CRM systems and other sales tools enables professionals to use them more effectively, reducing the time spent on managing data and more time engaging with clients.

Cultivating a Balanced Approach

In the grand scheme of things, a balance must be struck between selling and supporting functions. The indirect tasks are part of a broader, client-centered strategy in which the following are essential:

Relationship-Building: Time spent learning about clients' emerging needs and industry shifts is invaluable and can't always be hurried.

Strategic Planning: Long-term account planning might take away from daily selling activities, yet it remains fundamental to sustained success.

Post-Sale Service: Engaging with clients post-sale ensures customer satisfaction and retention, which can lead to repeat business and referrals, indirectly affecting sales performance.


The figure of 28% is a prompt to revisit how business services professionals spend their time. It’s a wake-up call to evaluate the necessity and efficiency of non-selling activities that, if not managed properly, can eclipse the very essence of their roles—selling.

Adopting a strategic, balanced approach where every task, no matter how indirect, supports the end goal of sales, is essential. In doing so, sales professionals may not necessarily spend more time selling in the traditional sense, but the time they do spend will be far more impactful.

For companies like Aomni providing intelligent automation solutions, there's a clear mandate: continue developing tools that liberate sales professionals from the quagmire of time-consuming tasks, enabling them to do what they do best—sell.

Remember, the purpose of introspecting the time-use of sales professionals is not to chastise the quantity of selling hours, but rather to maximize the quality and impact of these hours for sustainable, value-driven business growth.

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