December 2, 2019
Do you always have the same reps at the top of the leaderboard? Are you on their team, and wondering what they’re doing that you’re not?
Being a sales rep is getting tougher by the day. Customer expectations are at an all-time high and they’re not answering cold calls and emails like they used to. Your approach has to evolve, and your sales tools are evolving even faster. It seems like they’re there to help you be more efficient, but can cause a lag in productivity if not utilized properly. So many tools, so much data, and so much pressure to perform.
We haven’t even mentioned all of the internal meetings and unexpected emails and calls you deal with regularly.
One of the biggest differentiators between that top rep and a struggling one is time management. They have mastered prioritization, blocking out time for non-negotiables, and knowing the actions that actually lead to their success.
If you can organize your daily and weekly schedule down to a science, you’ll be up on that leaderboard shortly. Here are a few tips on time management, and the best sales tools to get you there:
There are some things that simply have to get done every day or week. There are no if’s, and’s or but’s about it. But how many of those non-negotiables are external? How many are being asked of you by your manager or organization? Maybe that’s entering data into CRM, completing your sales forecasting, or spending an hour every week on a conference call you don’t find valuable.
The rest of your day is up to you. Take time to understand which actions are absolutely crucial to advance your opportunities or conversations with customers. Look into your own performance metrics to find out what is actually driving momentum. If you had the best sales presentation of your life, analyze the attributing factors and make time to do the same actions moving forward. Maybe that’s 15 minutes blocked off before every call to customize your deck in a certain way. Maybe that’s an hour every Monday to complete that for all of your presentations this week. The main goal is to understand your personal non-negotiables and to block them off on your calendar. There are some actions, even listening to your own call recordings or reading a chapter in a new sales book, that are just as important (if not more) to your growth as plugging in your notes to CRM.
What are your non-negotiables? If you don’t know them, take some time to think about your own routine and areas of strength. It may be helpful to take the top rep out for lunch and ask them about their routine as well.
Now that you’ve determined what your non-negotiables are, you must stick to your own word. Self-discipline can be difficult especially in a large team environment. Everyone is passing by your desk, asking you questions about the weekend or unrelated topics. While taking breaks throughout the day is necessary, block off your windows of productivity and remove any and all distractions. If you know the things that will get you where you need to go, you must stick to the schedule and execute on them.
Block off the time(s) on your calendar as a recurring event to ensure nothing gets booked in its place. Remove yourself from a loud or potentially distracting area, and maybe schedule a meeting room for yourself. Buckle down when you need to in a sprint-like manner, and take a break after your time block is up. Buckling down on your non-negotiables likely doesn’t include responding to team Slacks, text messages, or social media comments – turn off your notifications during your time block so you can focus entirely. Tell your manager and team about your non-negotiable block ahead of time, and they’ll respect your time of productivity. I promise everything else can wait.
It’s crazy how many organizations have the most sophisticated technology stack. They spend thousands on the newest and most powerful platforms and share the vision of what these tools can do for their teams. Fast forward to reality, and half the team isn’t using them properly (or at all) and they might actually be slowing their day down.
If you’ve been fortunate to gain an entire stack of technology platforms to assist you in sales, utilize them to your advantage. Take the time to fully understand and become proficient in all that they can do – you’re only reaching the level of potential you’ve put in to learning them. If you aren’t leveraging a sales engagement platform, workflow automation solution, meeting scheduling tool, or even email tracking, your non-negotiable this month should be an hour to train up on tools or see which ones you can add to your sales tool belt.
Smart automation has changed the way sales teams interact with prospects and customers. Half of your time spent scheduling follow ups, coordinating calendars, or writing the same email every day can now be taken off your plate so you can focus on interacting with prospects and building pipeline. After learning your tools, your next non-negotiable should be a time block to create your communication at scale, sync calendar and scheduling systems, and automate any activity you can (like follow ups). A phone call or email should never fall through the cracks, and you shouldn’t spend your valuable time thinking about those. That’s the difference between what your top rep is spending time on, and where you can improve.
Sales isn’t easy. It’s constantly changing and the pressure of quota attainment is very stressful. It seems like no matter how hard you work, there’s always more to be done. The way you manage your time is the biggest influence on your success. Take a note of how you’re spending your day and how you can change your daily behavior to focus on what leads to actual productivity and success. Set yourself up to complete those every day, remove distractions and utilize the best sales tools you have. We’ll see you at the top!