When working on commission, time is money. Nobody wants to waste hours and hours on tasks that generate little or no revenue, but it can be difficult for even the most seasoned sales reps to know where to invest their energy throughout the day. Reps are under constant pressure from prospects, customers, managers and other departments to focus on vastly divergent priorities. Since you can’t clone yourself or add extra hours into your day, one of the most effective ways to manage your time is to learn prioritization strategies. Here are some tips to help you better allocate your most precious resource: Your time.
Eat Your Peas
What is the one task that you must do that you hate doing? Does that task always get put off until the end of the day? Does it frequently go unfinished? Do you find yourself making up things to do to avoid that dreaded task? Eating your peas first – doing that one, awful task before everything else – frees up your day and clears your head to focus on your remaining tasks. It’s a hard technique to adopt, but it can have a positive impact on your productivity.
Schedule Block and Time Block
Outside salespeople should organize their weekly travel by location. That way, you aren’t spending unnecessary time in the car, and if someone stands you up, you can simply pop into visit a prospect or client nearby, rather than wasting time at a coffee shop or going back to the office until your next appointment.
Inside salespeople can use a similar tactic. If a prospect flakes on an exploratory call, use that previously-blocked time to engage in pre-call prep for your next scheduled exploratory call rather than totally switching gears and attempting to tackle something like cold calls. Making a major shift in focus requires you to get into the right frame of mind, gather up new materials, etc. Block time based on activity, and stick to that time block.
Automate Whenever Possible
Most CRMs allow you to store email templates, so take advantage of that feature. Create templates for the types of emails you write most frequently like check-ins, follow-up, deal announcements, etc. Make sure to add personal touches to each one and double-check them before you send. When all you have to do is add a sentence and click send directly from your CRM dashboard, you’ll give yourself back countless hours each week. If your system does not offer this feature, create templates in Microsoft Word. Modify them slightly for each person you email, and simply copy and paste.
You can also develop a list of core questions you ask each new prospect throughout the exploratory phase. Keep that list handy, and simply add or remove questions as-needed based on a prospect’s unique circumstances. Not only will this save you the hassle of creating a new list for every call, it will also decrease the chances you will forget to ask something critical. Look for other areas where you can apply these “automation” techniques throughout your day.
Even if you are a master of time management, you will struggle to get things done if you are unhappy in your current position. If you are a sales professional seeking out new opportunities to grow your career, contact an expert sales and marketing recruiter at CSS today. We are a leader in sales recruiting and our experts have the experience to connect you with an employer and a position where you will shine and thrive.