Salespeople devote nearly 11 hours a week to administrative duties. That’s 11 hours of a 40-hour work week! And how is this time spent? Typically, it’s spent on organizing calendars, setting up last-minute calls, browsing through CRM, and other miscellaneous housekeeping functions that aren’t the meat of your sales process.
Think about how much time you could save throughout the year by simply cutting that average in half? Instead of only doing 1,508 hours (the equivalent of a year's worth of 29-hour work weeks) of actual selling, you’ll have nearly 1,800 hours. How do you get there?
Here are a few ways you can be better organize and prioritize every week.
Don’t Go Overboard With Calendar Details
It’s good to be meticulous with pre-call planning, cold calling, and remembering important details from a face-to-face meeting; it’s not good to waste time and energy fluffing up your calendar with unnecessary information.
Let’s say you’ve got 20 prospects targeted for the week. All their names are assigned to a date and time. But you use the ‘Notes’ section to go overboard with notes, suggestions and other fillers that offer nothing to prospecting. Don’t get me wrong - you need some notes to help you know what to target when the time comes, but don’t go over the top.
If you have a call with Bob, the VP of Sales of a major trucking company that you want to sell engine parts to, don’t spend time writing down their entire company history and how both of yours intertwine somehow.
Write the name, their title, the company and the top needs analysis question:
“Bob Smith, VP of Sales for ‘X’ Company. Ask how much they currently spend on maintenance and repairs and what engine parts they seem to cycle through the most.”
That’s it. Don’t go any further unless that information realistically increases your chances of making a sale.
Control Sales Meetings
We’ve practically clobbered this meetings about meetings topic, but that doesn’t make the point any less relevant. Meetings that run over, meetings that are a 50/50 mix of off-topic and topical, meetings that have no moderator, meetings that don’t have a process - they must be cut down immediately.
Yes, you have to have meetings to go over sales goals, what your targets are for the next month, and how you plan to hit them. But limit the amount of time each person talks. Say - and write down on the meeting agenda - that each person has 5 minutes max to get their points across. Anything over that and it should be discussed off the phone.
Give yourself time to make more money. It’s that simple.
Stop Mismanaging Your CRM
It’s critical that you learn everything about the CRM, but it’s even more critical that you use it wisely.
Do you go into the CRM looking for prospect Jane and come out having looked at the company leaderboard, what your sales funnel looked like in 2013, and other areas that have nothing to do with prospect Jane? Some might argue that reviewing the leaderboard helps motivate sales reps, but if you’re mired in numbers that don’t directly affect prospect Jane and how you’re going to cold call/email her shortly, then you’re making poor use of your time with the CRM.
Even worse is waiting too long to log a contact’s information into the CRM - their LinkedIn profile, job title, phone numbers, last time contacted, and information stating where you and the prospect currently are in talks. Once you end a conversation with ANY contact, you must immediately go to the CRM and enter in all the information that helps put together that person’s B.A.N.T. (Budget, Authority, Need, and purchase Timeframe).
Identify (And Eliminate) Procrastination Habits
What’s the biggest roadblock to a sales rep's administrative duties? Some argue it’s workplace distractions, but every employee has that. For sales, there’s a different kind of procrastination present: Deviating from your 9 to 5.
Things like putting off your morning habit of cold calls, saying you’ll get to it in the afternoon. Getting lost in off-topic emails or internal phone calls to other employees. Taking too long to fill out a sales proposal. Waiting an extra day or two to follow up because you want there to be some “breathing room” for the prospect to think about your last call. Talking more to a prospect to avoid hearing a potential “No” when you’re better off hearing it and moving on.
There are plenty of missteps, and each one throws off your calendar for the day and forces you to reorganize when you shouldn’t have to. Clamp down on these bad habits that ruin your day and your schedule.
Routines are necessary. You have to plan your days, weeks and months around how to open up more opportunities and close. But a lot of that time is spent poorly. Trim down your times, become more efficient with the extra hours and become more productive as a result.
Learn more about efficient organization soon with our 35-part series, Territory Development! With courses like “Utilizing CRM” to “Personal Management Tracking” to “Prioritizing Your Territory” to "Building the Sales Plan," we give salespeople the best blueprint to control their territory, their time and make the sale.