Tracking Time for Business Development

For many agencies, seeking out and bringing in new clients and work is an important activity. We are regularly asked how best to handle time spent on this activity. Below, we've outlined the two most common practices for tracking and managing time spent on business development at your agency.  

Which method you choose, will likely depend on the amount of prospective clients you deal with on a daily/ weekly basis. If you have staff who are pretty dedicated to cold calling, lead chasing and the like, method 2 is your better bet. If you are more strategically seeking out work with a handful of prospects, then method 1 may be preferable.

Method 1 - Make a time-trackable Job for each prospect company

Have staff begin by inputting the Company and Contact details for their new prospective client.

On both the Company and Contact add pages, required fields are marked in blue, and as many Custom Fields as you wish can be created.

Once the Company is created, go ahead and create the Estimate. This can easily be done from the Company page, and the Add New button.

You will land on the Add Estimate page. Required fields are marked in blue.

  1. Give the Estimate a name. For these business development kinds of jobs, you may want to establish an easy to remember naming convention, that would be used across your sales team. This name can be changed later.
  2. Pick an Estimate Type. This selection can be changed later. I have a type called "Business Development", and you can choose to create names for this menu under Admin > System Set Up > List Maintenance.
  3. You may want to get into the habit of entering a value into the Close Probability field. Out of 100, what is the percentage chance of your landing work with this prospect?
  4. You will need to pick at least one Service from a Service Group. I have a non-billable ($0/ hour) service called Business Development, but you could use any other non-billable service in your system. Click here to learn more about adding new services or service groups to your system.

Click Submit when ready.

On the resulting Estimate page, you can enter an estimated number of hours for this business development cycle, or just leave blank and click Save.

As we want to be able to track time to this business development time, we need this Estimate to be a live Job. Click Add Job.

Notes, related links, files and even new company contacts can be added to the system as your work through your sales cycle.

And the Job is available for time to be tracked.

Should you land "real work" with the prospect, you have a couple of options - (1) Create a new Estimate and Job for that work, or (2) Edit the current Estimate/ Job to include the new time trackable Services and/ or work related expenses. You can always edit the Estimate/ Job name and Estimate/ Job type to reflect that this is no longer just a prospecting job.

Regardless of if you make a new Estimate/ Job, or edit the current Estimate/ Job, you have easily captured the time records for how long it took to land this new client.

Method 2 - Move (unposted) time to a different Job when the prospect becomes a client

Begin by creating an estimate/ job to which staff can track their sales cycle time. Required fields are marked in blue.

  1. Give the Estimate a name - perhaps something to make it clear this is the catch-all bucket for time spent prospecting.
  2. Pick an Estimate Type. This selection can be changed later. I have a type called "Business Development", and you can choose to create names for this menu under Admin > System Set Up > List Maintenance.
  3. The Company should be your agency/ office.
  4. As I want this to be the catch-all job for the calendar year, my dates reflect that. Dates are optional, but can be handy to input these values so you can search by them later.
  5. You will need to pick at least one Service from a Service Group. I have a non-billable ($0/ hour) service called Business Development, but you could use any other non-billable service in your system. Click here to learn more about adding new services or service groups to your system.

Click Submit when ready.

On the resulting Estimate page, you can enter an estimated number of hours for his business development cycle, or just leave blank and click Save.

As we want to be able to track time to this business development time, we need this estimate to be a live job. Click Add Job.

Clicking Add Job will bring you to the Job Summary page. From here, choose the Contacts tab.

Choose Manage Job Contacts.

Make any staff members who might be regularly adding time to this job as Job Contacts. Doing so will mean that this Job will show on the Jobs dashboard tile, when the staff member filters by "My Jobs" - aka, jobs on which they are a Contact. Submit (save) changes when ready - the Submit button is in the bottom right of the page.

When staff track time to this catch-all job, they need to be certain to always name the prospect company in the timesheet description.

If/ when you turn a prospect into a client, begin by adding their Company record to your system. Required fields are marked in blue, and you can create as many Custom Fields as you wish for the Company and Contact levels.

As you want to associate time tracked to land this client, to this client, you'll need a live job for that time to move to. From here on the Company page, from the Add New button choose Estimate.

It's up to you if you want to make a stand-alone job to which you'll move the business development time, or if you want to make the real work job, and move the business development time there. There's no right or wrong way. For this example, I'm going to make an Estimate/ Job that will just be where I move the time we've tracked up until now landing their business.

Required fields are marked in blue, and you will need to pick at least one service from a service group. Click Submit when ready.

Click Add Job.

We now need to move the timesheets. From the main navigation bar, hover over Timesheets, and choose

In the Description field, we add the name of our former prospect/ new client. Click Find Timesheets.

We have 4 results. Click the first one.

Click Edit Details.

Edit the fields for Job and Service Group. We want to move this time to our new Job for this client. Click Submit to save your changes.

Click "Timesheets" on the main navigation bar. This brings you back to the last search page for this module.  We can see that the first timesheet in the list is now on the new Job, but 3 more remain to be moved. Click the next one in the list, and repeat the same steps.

Once you're done, take a look at the Financials tab on the new Job. All our timesheets are now stored here, and are no longer in the catch-all job for all business development.

Important Note - Posted Timesheets

If a timesheet has been marked as Posted, you will not be able to move it to another Job. The Job field will not be editable in edit mode.

Should you have certain permissions, you may see the button to Unpost the timesheet, which would mean you could then move it. Be certain though that doing this will not interfere with some other internal routine at your agency before proceeding.

We'd love to hear your feedback if you have another way in which you track and manage time spent seeking out new business, and we welcome your questions or concerns: support@functionpoint.com

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