Do We Spend Enough Time Selling? – The Cost of Chaos

We have and need salespeople in order to sell, that is, in order to move deals forward.

  • But, how much time do our salespeople really spend selling each week?

Rick McPartlin, the CEO of The Revenue Game (and someone with whom I have worked in the past), has researched this question. His provocative answer:

  • For the average company, the typical salesperson sells for 1 – 2 hours per week
  • For best in class companies, the salespeople sell for 10 hours per week

Combining this with the fully burdened cost of a salesperson (salary, commissions, supplies, car, travel, etc.); Rick calculates that the cost for an hour of selling at an average company runs between $1,500 – $3,000. At a best in class company, it is still a hefty $300!


At first glance, this may appear shocking. But, on closer inspection (and if we are really being honest), this rings true.

All too often, our salespeople (although very busy and working hard) are not selling; they are not moving deals forward. Instead they are:

  • Taking orders
  • Processing orders
  • Following up on and solving customer problems
  • Meeting and greeting
  • Collecting money
  • Preparing PowerPoint presentations
  • Giving PowerPoint presentations
  • Filling out credit apps and other paperwork

Yes, each one of these tasks is important, maybe even essential. But, they are not selling.

Rick McPartlin calls all these tasks and the cost associated with them – the cost of chaos.

  • For a business to consumer company, this cost can amount to 10% of revenue
  • For a business to business company, this cost can amount to 20% – 30% of revenue

To grow our revenue, we need to figure out how to reduce this egregious cost of chaos (what Rick also calls the “sales prevention bureau”). In short, we need to get our salespeople out there in front of the customer, moving deals forward, and driving sales.

To better explain this “cost of chaos” and offer insights into how we can more effectively grow revenue, Rick has created a free video series called: 21st Century Revenue Roadmap. This video series is located at

I encourage you to take a look. I found the videos to be quite insightful in focusing my attention on the key goal of generating revenue by:

  • Reducing the chaos and making it easier for our salespeople to sell.
  • Focusing our salespeople on solving customer problems that no one else can solve
  • Ensuring that our organization says “no” to anything that is not in our “sweet spot” and a part of our revenue strategy

At the very least, look at the first video; I believe that it will be a useful use of 15 minutes and 33 seconds of your time.

Thank you and happy selling.


About David Shedd

David has been a President - CEO - COO of an up to $350M group of manufacturing, distribution, specialty retail and services companies, having led 22 different businesses from turnarounds to start-ups to fast growth companies.
This entry was posted in Business Acumen, Improve / Turnaround, Sales and Marketing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s