Plan Time to Boost Sales
How to improve timekeeping to ignite your selling potential
Time is a precious commodity, especially for salespeople. Time is money, and yet a 2018 study found that an average of two-thirds of a sales rep’s time is spent on non-revenue-generating tasks.
Carrying out admin tasks, sending and replying to emails, navigating sales technology, and contacting and managing prospect lists are all drains on the time that could be spent selling. All such tasks are essential, and must be completed in a timely fashion. However, research by InsideSales.com found that only 28% of sales reps follow a structured time management system.
When your sales reps spend so much time on non-selling tasks, your revenue generation suffers. Coaching your sales reps to manage their time more effectively could ignite more sales of greater value.
Here are seven time-management tactics that your sales reps could use to improve their timekeeping and sell more effectively.
Track time to understand time use
To manage time more effectively, it is necessary to understand how you use your time. Poor time management habits destroy productivity, and tracking time will help identify what those habits are. You can track time manually (with pen and paper) or by using a time tracker that makes it easy to collate and analyze data on time use.
Multitasking doesn’t work. A 2013 study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) shows that multitasking impairs performance. As your brain moves from one task to another, the loss of focus costs as much as 40% in productivity.
Employ task batching in your routine
Batching similar tasks together reduces the amount your brain needs to switch between modes. For example, instead of checking emails constantly, set aside two periods during the day for checking, reading and responding to incoming emails. You’ll find your workflow improves as your mind is focused, with faster and more accurate results.
Batch customer meetings
Batch external customer meetings so that you visit customers in the same area on the same day, and ensure that you reduce the time it takes to travel between appointments. If a lead cancels (it happens), you can quickly arrange to meet another lead in the same area rather than waste time waiting for your next appointment. If this is not possible, make sure that you have organized ‘emergency activities’, such as prospecting or meeting preparation, to fully utilize any spare time.
Plan according to Pareto
When planning your time, follow Pareto’s principle: 20% of your time produces 80% of your outcomes. Focus on the tasks that have the greatest impact, and the customers who provide the maximum ROI.
Automate and streamline your tasks
There are many tasks that can be automated and streamlined in your daily routine. Here are a few examples:
Using technology to pull in data from your CRM into templated emails and letters reduces the time it takes to prepare proposals, and ensures fewer errors.
Using AI bots to plan your sales meetings removes the need to engage in lengthy email discussions as you seek mutually convenient appointment times with your customers.
Developing a research routine to search for prospects, identifying the best questions to ask and the most productive resources to use.
Using scripted questions with similar customers
Using copy and paste templates for your customer communications to reduce the time it takes to write personalized sales copy. You can use these templates for scheduling meetings, following up, recapping, and so on.
The more you can streamline and automate tasks, the more time you will create to focus on the 20%.
There are many distractions that pull your focus away from your current task. A phone call. An email. A visit to your desk by a colleague. Each time your focus is distracted, even if for only a couple of minutes, it takes time to refocus on the task you were doing. Here we return to understanding how you use your time, and develop good time management habits, techniques and strategies.
One way to remove distractions is to use distraction blocking apps, turn off your email and social media notifications, and put your phone on silent.
Embedding good time management into your daily routines will help you work smarter, not harder. Salespeople who spend more time on productive activities are more focused and benefit from improved sales. To learn how Forward Focus can improve your sales capabilities, contact us today.