Put Planning Time in Your Sales Schedule

Grow Sales by Accomplishing the Big TasksWhether you are a sales leader, company executive or you have your own sales territory, the common denominator for us all is in planning.

I recently wrote about Q4 and how connecting with prospective customers is something everyone should be hustling now to do instead of waiting – assuming you want to hit the ground running with new revenues in 2013.

In the crazy digital-and-in-person business world we live in now, there are dozens of distractions and requests of our time. Only by making time to plan ahead will you stop feeling like you are never getting everything done.

Ode to Covey – Q2 Planning Time

I’ve written about Covey’s Quadrants of Time before, and am sure I’ll be writing about it again since it is a timeless idea which always seems to help employees as we talk through how they spend their days, weeks, months, and quarters at work. This post is geared toward sales staff – and since you cannot recoup your lost time going after the wrong sales opportunities and on non-sales focused activities, how you plan your time is of critical importance. It is one of the most important things you should be thinking about in the course of your week.

The Big Rocks Theory

As a former Franklin-Covey facilitator, I gained a great appreciation for Dr. Covey’s analogy about how your biggest tasks this week should be thought of as big rocks. This is a simple idea that merits some of your mindshare because most people are in reaction mode at work. There are only 1-3 big items, “big rocks” that fit into a week – much like a bucket could only hold a few big rocks. These are the most important things that will need to get done this week. Write down now what your 3 big rocks are.

Once you have your biggest rocks labeled for the week, you can now think about some smaller tasks – perhaps some next actions with prospective customers (unless they were part of your big rocks already). Continuing with the rocks in the bucket, you’ll come up with 5-7 smaller rocks to put into that bucket. Make your list now.

Next you have pebbles going into the bucket – lots of ,little things that normally tie a sales professional up from getting those bigger rocks (tasks) accomplished.

Finally some sand is poured in – this represents the minutia – all those emails and messages and calls and notes – while some are critically important, others are not. Since workers are spending on average 28% of their day reading and responding to email, there are definitely ways to help streamline to focus on highest value tasks in a seller’s week.

What are your little pebbles and sand that is filling your bucket up so that you can’t get to the big rocks and accomplish your sales goals?

IBMThis post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet.

Lori Richardson - Score More SalesLori Richardson is recognized as one of the "Top 25 Sales Influencers for 2012" and one of "20 Women to Watch in Sales Lead Management". Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside and outbound sellers in technology and services companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog and the “Sales Ideas In A Minute” newsletter for tips and strategies.

Topics: B2B

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