Guard your time - a bit of advice given to me years ago by a wise sales manager that I've always worked to remember. In a world of distractions, sound bytes, lists of important things to accomplish, and “noise” -- you need to focus on activities that lead to revenue before you do anything else.
Because of everything you do in your sales career, time is the one thing you cannot recoup.
Lost time is never found again.
Do you ever audit the time you spent today or last week? Think about it?
- Time you spent going after a deal you never really qualified and won't get
- Time you spent doing "research" because you really are reluctant to get on the phone
- Time you spent doing "research" because you are not clear on who your buyers really are
- Time you spent in the office with your colleagues talking about the problem with your territory, your CRM system, your personal issues
The challenge for professional sellers is that an individual contributor position is very entrepreneurial. That means that you are not watched every minute - and most of us in selling are not micro-managed. We like that, right? But the price you pay for that freedom is that it's up to YOU and only YOU to make the most of it.
It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?
-Henry David Thoreau
The time for action is now. It’s never too late to do something.
Here are some ideas sales professionals employ that help them be more productive:
• Come into the office with your list of top 3 things to accomplish today
• Be "revenue-focused" - in other words, start your day with the tasks closest to revenue.
• Make 10 calls to potential buyers before your first cup of coffee (if you are a coffee drinker)
• Read about David Allen's "Getting Things Done" GTD system - the best system I've ever worked with sales reps and sales leaders on to be more focused and organized.
• Take the How Productive Are You Quiz - and get ideas and tools to improve
• Start timing tasks - how long does it take you to write three emails to prospective buyers?
• Determine if you are doing the same work that someone else is on your team or at your company - and find a way to become less redundant. Can your task be offloaded to the person also working in the same area / on the same issue?
• Have a brainstorming session with your peers, team, or colleagues - find 3 ways you can leverage tools or others to do less mundane, non-selling work.
• Stop attending meetings that don't involve growing or keeping business. It's easy to get sucked in at work.
• Use the rule of thumb on all things - If this task does not lead me or the company to finding, keeping, and / or growing revenues, can someone else do it?
What ideas do you have?
If you are going to Dreamforce 14, please join us for a talk on productivity for sales I'm giving with David Ambrose of Smarsh on "5 Ways to Be More Productive" - join us or watch the live tweeting going on at the session on 10/14, 9AM Pacific / Noon Eastern . We'll have more tips, ideas, and strategies to help you gain hours in the week - my promise.
Lori Richardson is recognized on Forbes as one of the "Top 30 Social Sales Influencers" worldwide. Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside sales teams in mid-sized companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog and the "Sales Ideas In A Minute" newsletter for sales strategies, tactics, and tips in selling. Increase Opportunities. Expand Your Pipeline. Close More Deals.