Time management is one of the costliest challenges in business today. Here are 6 hacks from RevenuePartners to help you optimize your Sales Team’s time and productivity.
‘You’re going to tell us about Time Management. Seriously? Planning our time? We’re all adults here. I think we’ve got this.’
Yes, it’s understandable to see how ‘Time Management 101’ could elicit this sort of response. And yet, in our training courses, for both Sales Reps and Managers, Time Management – or more precisely ‘Me Management’ – has been the most highly-rated module for the past decade at RevenuePartners (formerly ThinkSales).
Time is a scarce resource. And one that is often mismanaged. Once lost, it can never be retrieved. And when it comes to assessing time loss across a sales team, over weeks or months, the costs can be significant. Time management is a fallacy.
There is no such thing as ‘time management’ – it’s not possible to halt the hands of a ticking clock. Managing time is really about managing yourself. Productivity is the outcome of your ability (and discipline) to harness your energy and focus on completing a task.
Basic, right? Well, yes and no. Everyone gets that. The problem is, not everyone does that.
6 Sales Productivity Hacks from RevenuePartners
Here are six disciplines you can leverage to help your Reps build productive sales weeks:
- Understand the difference between urgent and important
Urgent issues get our attention (and therefore time) – clients who require information, problems that require solving, requests by senior management, internal meetings, personal calls, etc. So, the important activities – such as prospecting and lead nurturing to build future pipelines, nurturing prospects to grow accounts, and keeping commitments to close sales – take a back seat to the ‘urgent’. A balanced approach to time management sets time aside to address both.
2. Use time-blocking
Yes, Sales Reps need to be accessible to customers, Managers and colleagues, but they also need uninterrupted chunks of time for getting important tasks done.
Implement ‘focus’ times, where everyone turns off email notifications and gets started on high-priority tasks. Set aside time to update CRM outside of prime selling hours. Allow for a ‘spare’ 30 to 60 minutes each day to deal with unscheduled urgent issues that arise.
3. Prioritise revenue-generating activities
These are the hours when your team should be talking to prospects and customers – they’re the hours dedicated to revenue-generating activities (prospecting, nurturing cold and warm contacts, client meetings, etc). Dedicated prospecting times should be prioritised within these ‘money hours’. Adopt team-wide colour-coding of Sales Reps’ diaries to easily distinguish between important revenue-generating activities and non-revenue-generating tasks.
4. Encourage daily planning
Lists help us reduce stress, because they relieve us of having to remember everything. They also help us to prioritise important tasks. As a Sales Leader, don’t assume your Sales Reps know how to prioritise their to-do lists. Provide training, assistance and conduct regular monitoring.
5. Eliminate non-essential internal meetings
Perhaps it’s because we’re more accustomed to online meetings, and inviting attendees is so easy. Perhaps it’s a control mechanism for Managers to check in more frequently with their team. Whatever it is, it seems that the volume of internal meetings is on the rise. Do a tally of the number of hours that your team collectively spend in non-essential internal meetings. If the number concerns you, it’s time to step in and shield their time.
6. Rinse and repeat
Finally, don’t take it as a given that every member on your team has time management waxed. Use team training to create a shared understanding of these time management principles, and establish ongoing personal accountability through routine monitoring.