Time is always too short for a salesperson. Everything we do is based on time and is dependent on us making the best use of it, hopefully more often than not. When you look at your goals at the beginning of a new year, you feel so confident and excited about the time you have to make things happen. Then, you wake up 7 months later and wonder, “What the heck just happened!”
When you look at the numbers, a year is actually pretty short. Most people think it is 12 months or 52 weeks, but as a sales manager you know that is not true. After you account for the 7-10 days of holidays, 1-2 weeks of vacation, 3-5 weeks at conferences, 1-3 weeks of internal meetings, and at the minimum, 1 office day per week to take care of administrative tasks, we're looking at around 8-9 actual months of selling time. Now how long is your sales cycle? 30 days? 60 days? If so, now we're down to only 7-8 months to have an effect on the year.
Wasting time is not an option. Staying focused on the most important things always must be the goal of the day! But it's not easy. As a sales manager, you must keep a lookout for time wasters. And some of the biggest you need to keep an eye out for yourself and your sales team are:
Travel for Travel’s Sake - Face-to-face meetings with prospects are great and can help a sale move forward. However, you can also lose a full day or two on airplanes and rental cars. Make sure the meeting is needed and will move the sale forward faster than a phone call. Visits are nice, but business is business!
Doing Everyone Else’s Job - Due to lack of trust, concern, excitement, or whatever other reason, it's sometimes really hard for us to focus on our own projects. We might find ourselves with a little downtime after a client's contract has ended and go check in on how someone else is handling a sale, or we're building marketing collateral instead of making follow-up calls. Whatever it is, salespeople need to be selling. Make sure you know when to “let go.”
Passion for the Professional Development - Building a solid network is an important part of any salesperson’s job. However, if you find that you're attending more meetings of that industry's "Association," or you're mapping out how many conferences there are across the country instead of mapping out targets for sales calls, it's probably time to put things in better perspective.
As a sales manager, it's always important to keep people motivated and focused. Always ask the question, “What are you working with today... and why?" Sometimes we need a follow-up on ourselves to make sure we're executing the day-to-day properly. Time is fleeting after all. Use the most of it and get stuff done.