Time Management in Sales: Our Top Tips
July 27th, 2023
•Share to LinkedIn
Mastering time management in sales is essential to ensuring you’re making the most of every productive hour in your day. The phrase “time is money” is particularly relevant in the sales landscape, as every moment wasted could contribute to lost revenue.
Unfortunately, many professionals struggle with organizing and managing their time in the fast-paced sales landscape. One study found the average salesperson only spends around a third of their day selling, and the rest of the time focusing on admin and unproductive tasks.
Even the smallest improvement to your time management strategies could be enough to help you achieve your goals, and unlock more opportunities.
So, where do you begin?
What is Time Management in Sales?
Time management in sales is the process of learning how to use your time effectively for different sales activities. It’s crucial to ensure you’re not wasting time on unproductive processes, and that you’re focusing on the tasks with the highest degree of value.
Learning how to manage time more effectively can help sales professionals meet their quota for closing deals, become more productive, and even reduce workplace stress.
Currently, poor time management is one of the major reasons why many sales professionals fall short of reaching their target. Only around 53% of salespeople meet their quotas. The most common reason for this is that they’re not spending enough time actively selling.
Managing your time effectively can improve your performance in the workplace, and help you to reach more of your targets in the long term.
Time Management Strategies for Sales
Effective time management is important for every professional. However, it can be particularly important in the sales landscape. Failing to follow up with leads quickly enough, or using the wrong sales timing strategy could mean you miss out on essential opportunities.
Often, learning how to make the most of your time in the sales landscape is a process that requires experimentation, trial, and error. However, the following tips can help to get you on the right track.
- Reduce Your Number of Administrative Tasks
Too many sales teams spend all of their time on administrative processes that don’t actually help them to achieve their goals. While responding to emails and entering information into a database might be important, many of these administrative tasks don’t need to be managed manually.
There are various automation tools sales reps can access to help them automatically transcribe data from sales calls, update CRM information, and even plan sales scripts. You can use apps to track sales pipelines and manage leads, automate background research into prospects before sales activities, and even send messages to prospects automatically.
The less time you spend on administrative processes, the more time you’ll have to focus on value-added tasks, like prospecting, and connecting with customers.
- Use resources to streamline sales processes
Effective time management often relies on your ability to take advantage of the tools and resources available to you in the business landscape. For instance, if you’re heavily involved in cold-calling prospects, using an automatic dialer to reach out to customers on your list can save you a lot of time.
You can use tools to help you automatically schedule meetings based on the available “slots” in your calendar, and even leverage time-tracking tools to help you stick to a specific schedule. Time tracking tools can give you an insight into where you might be wasting time, so you can adapt your strategy.
Even creating templates for things like email outreach and sales pitches can help streamline the sales process, helping sales reps preserve more of their valuable time.
- Eliminate or delegate certain tasks
No sales professional, no matter how skilled, can accomplish everything in a single day. Sometimes, it’s important to look at your workflow and ask yourself whether you’re being realistic.
Knowing when to say “no” to unnecessary tasks, and when to delegate projects to other team members is crucial. For instance, if you excel at closing deals, you might outsource certain prospecting tasks to other members of your team, so you can focus on getting the “win”.
Structure your day around the tasks that deliver the most value to you, and your business. Ask yourself what the most crucial tasks you need to do each day, and focus on those first, before allowing your mind to wander elsewhere.
- Stop multitasking
The idea that multitasking can actually help you become more productive is a myth. Studies constantly show that our brains simply can’t focus on multiple things at once. If you’re focusing on writing an email for another prospect when you’re talking to a lead, you’re not really paying attention to their needs and pain points. This could mean you end up missing out on a sale.
Similarly, jumping too and from tasks takes a lot more mental effort than simply focusing on one job until it’s done. A good way to avoid multitasking is to evaluate the important tasks you need to do each day, and create a to-do list you can follow.
You can assign a specific amount of time to each task, and turn off all other distractions while you’re working on it. This means switching off your notifications, messages, and emails, until you’re ready to actually assign time to them.
- Bucket and group specific tasks
One of the best time management tips any salesperson can follow is to use time “segmentation” effectively. Start by thinking about your energy levels through the day. This will help you to determine the times you’re most likely to be able to handle things like cold calling, prospecting, or talking to customers effectively.
Once you have an idea of what your energy levels look like over time, you can begin to assign specific segments of your day to different tasks. If you’re most productive in the morning, you might start your day by “eating the frog” and doing the most important, and challenging job first.
As you progress through the day and your energy begins to dwindle, you might assign your time to simpler things, like responding to emails or following up with clients. If you have a number of tasks to complete in the same “category”, such as emailing or responding to texts, group them together.
- Keep Going After a Win
Taking regular breaks is important in a complex and fast-paced sales career. Giving yourself a moment to regroup in-between tasks can help you to refresh your thought processes and unlock new levels of productivity. However, it’s important not to simply stand still after you’ve reached a goal.
Instead of taking an hour-long break after every win, build on the momentum you feel from your success. Use the excitement you feel after closing a deal to keep you motivated as you plow through a few additional tasks on your to-do list, such as following up on an email.
Building breaks into your regular schedule, rather than simply taking them at random, will help you to enjoy a more structured workflow. You could even consider a strategy like the “Pomodoro technique”, which breaks your day into 25-minute increments.
Mastering Time Management in Sales
How salespeople manage their time is crucial to their chances of success.
Every moment you spend “on the job” should be dedicated to something valuable. If you’re not making the most of your hours, then you’re not going to reach your sales targets, or outshine your peers. With that in mind, look at how you spend time carefully.
Think about whether you’re really getting the most value out of your schedule, and don’t be afraid to pivot and change tactics if your current strategy isn’t working.
Need more help getting the most out of your sales career? Join the Hard Skill Exchange today for community-led insights into how you can be the best possible salesperson.
November 1st, 2023
When to Follow Up with Prospects in Sales: The Basics
In an ideal world, every prospect you reached out to as a salesperson would automatically see the value in your product and agree to make a purchase straight away. Unfortunately, in the real world, this rarely happens. The reality is most consumers need a number of nudges, or interactions with a salesperson before they’re ready […]
How to Disqualify Sales Prospects: Step by Step
Do you know how to disqualify sales prospects effectively? Most sales reps are aware of the importance of the qualification stage in the sales process. Making sure the people you’re connecting with are a good fit for your product or service is essential. Not only does it mean you can deliver genuine value to these […]
October 30th, 2023
Handling Rejection in Sales: Top Tips for Sales Resilience
Handling rejection in sales is never easy. For most sales professionals striving to achieve professional goals, reach lofty quotas, and close more deals, “no” can be one of the scariest, most painful words in the English language. Unfortunately, the reality is that no matter how good your product or service might be, you’re not going […]