Monday, December 19, 2011

Assistants -- The Pendulum is Swinging (Again)

Have you gotten rid of clerical/administrative assistants and required your execs and sales people (and perhaps yourself)to handle their own correspondence, phone answering, order entry, etc.? That's now becoming "old school".

As email, voicemail and office automation swept through companies worldwide, many clerical and administrative jobs were eliminated with the thought that people could just do their own administrative work. Turns out, savvy business owners and CEOs are discovering that's not consistent with the highest and best use of their scarce resources.

A Chief Executive Boards International member has learned that he can increase productivity of his top sales producers by adding a "Sales Assistant" to help with the many time-intensive tasks of order entry, order acknowledgement, order changes, shipping information requests, etc. There are a lot of heartbeats and keystrokes needed to manage a customer relationship and many of those are not the best use of a sales person's time.

This is an easy return on investment (ROI) calculation. Just look at the incremental gross margin a sales person could produce by selling full time, rather than doing his own paperwork. Compare that to the cost of an assistant. For simplicity, if the assistant costs, say, $50,000 all in and your gross margin is 50%, it takes only $100,000 in additional sales revenue to break even. If you can split an assistant between 2-3 people, so much the better.

Take a look at your highest producers and see if they could run faster if you hired someone to carry their briefcases. You might find yourself part of a new "leading edge" of management thinking.

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Terry Weaver

Chief Executive Boards International
Chief Executive Boards International: Freedom for business owners & CEOs -- Less Work, More Money, More Freedom to enjoy it

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