Guest Post by Trishla Tyagi
All of us experience it at some point or the other – that hour in the day where you are sitting at your desk and have lost all focus.
You pick up your phone and check social media, reply to some text messages and surf your favorite websites.
You have a long list of tasks to get done but you just can’t focus on them.
There are different reasons for productivity to suffer, from being distracted due to issues at home, to not feeling fit enough to work.
We have jotted down a few hacks for you to improve your productivity, many of which are used by top sales professionals already.
Prioritizing Daily Activities
Organize your call list
If you are preparing a call list then collating it logically, rather than in alphabetical order or anything else, can help save you time by giving you a clear picture of who you’re calling. Try making your list by industry and then probably by job title – or any other vertical you use to change your script.
Focus on quality leads
The biggest productivity hack for any sales representative is making sure you’re only working with highly targeted and qualified leads. Don’t get into calling sleeping or non-responsive leads who have not shown any buying signals in the past, or who aren’t a good fit and are never going to make a sale.
Automate when possible
Often times a salesperson’s time is not spent on actual selling, so the more you automate tasks, the more time they’ll be able to spend selling. Tasks like follow-up emails can be automated to help your reps save time, and a lot of other tasks can be supervised and documented with timely alerts. A quick audit of your salesperson’s daily schedule can help find the areas where automation can be applied.
Swallow the frog
Every rep has at least one task in particular that they simply don’t want to do. Searching, logging activity, writing follow-up emails, etc. Everyone has one and I’m sure you’ve got yours. We all can find a number of ways to seem productive and avoid those important tasks we terror the most. But lingering and hovering in one area to avoid doing what we do not want to do, wastes time. And at the end of it we only suffer. So instead of running from it, just do the task first to get it out of the way.
Scale back low-value activities
Every sales activity has a cost attached to it, but not every task has a high return on investment. Listing out all tasks and ranking them in order by the return you receive out of it can help prioritize time spent on tasks. Activities at the bottom of the list mean less ROI, and thus, these can be delayed or emphasized less. If low-ROI activities are tasks that can’t be avoided, then look for ways to group those tasks together to minimize the time spent on them.
Time management skills
Training your sales reps to manage their time better can give you time back in your day. Some people are naturally better at time management than others, but it is a skill that can be imparted.
The most effective techniques are:
- Motivate your sales rep with rewards
- Teach them to avoid distractions
- Help them plan and prioritize their day
Streamline time spent on email
One of the most time consuming activity at work is constantly checking emails and replying to them, while we’re in the middle of other tasks. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, the average worker spends 13 hours a week on emails.
To manage your email, try blocking off some time every few hours to go through and respond to emails. This way you’ll be able to work more efficiently and effectively knowing your inbox is taken care of.
Schedule meetings without breaks
Meetings are vital to sales, but there can be a lot of unused time in between meetings. There are times when you have multiple meetings back-to-back with less than an hour in-between. For most of us, that “in-between time” usually means checking our phones, looking at social media, going over notes, etc. One of the things you can do to utilize this time back is to schedule your meetings back-to-back without lengthy breaks in between.
Schedule regular “time off”
Working 8-9 hours continuously at the office can be tough, and if you don’t give yourself time to relax or unwind, you’re going to get tired. Try scheduling specific “time off” periods throughout your day. This could include checking your phone, hitting up social media, going for a stroll, calling a friend, etc. Every few hours you should have at least a few minutes to let your mind relax.
Schedule admin tasks
Sales reps are responsible for a lot of admin tasks, which can become a huge time waster when not organized. If you’re continuously going back and forth between things like phone calls, logging CRM data and scheduling emails, workflow will have endless pauses. If you can divide these tasks into precise time blocks, for example, start your cold calling with a notepad to make notes and then afterward log all of the data in your CRM, it could make completing these tasks more efficient.
Invest in the finest tools
There are lots of apps out there that claim to help boost your team’s productivity. You should collate a list down and think strategically about which you ones you need. The wrong technology can be a distraction, so make sure you jot down what your team needs most.
Take assistance of CRM
At the end of the day, it is all about efficiency so get your sales reps on board with the CRM. It makes chasing goals easier for performance evaluation purposes and also provides exact numbers to help sales rep perform better.
Clean up your CRM
Sales data is one of the most crucial resources for your sales team, so it’s necessary for your reps to consistently use a CRM. But if the CRM data is incorrect or does not include your target audience, your team will end up wasting time trying to find the right info — or worse, make mistakes with prospects and clients. Try and convey to your team the importance of taking some time off every month to go through and clean things up the CRM. This is an investment that will pay off on future deals.
Knowledge management software with close integration to CRM
Have a good knowledge management software in place to store knowledge that is just a click away. This way, you do not have to waste your time looking for the important information from different sources – it can be directly sourced from one place.
For day-to-day tracking and reporting, if Excel is used for a good portion of their work, provide sales reps with Excel shortcuts keys and formulas to make their work easier and save more time.
For example: If a sales rep is working on more than one excel sheet then he can simply use CTRL + Tab instead of toggling with a mouse.
Create a resource library for your reps
Due to the very nature of work, you might feel like you are explaining the same thoughts over and over again to your reps. Make a resource library for them to save you and your reps’ time that will have information about: best practices, sales scripts, sales process, recordings, sales contests, new employee resources, and more.
Utilize flash cards
When training sales representatives, keep flash cards handy. Doing so serves a dual purpose:
- Make training more interactive and engaging
- Make retention of knowledge for sales reps easier
Arrange your workspace
One of the quickest ways to boost your productivity is to make a physical change in your workspace. This will help you focus and provide a much needed lift to your mood.
Other things that you can try are:
- Intermittently move around and work in different places
- Use a private office or conference room when you really need to focus
- At the end of the day, organize your desk so it’s ready for the next day
Let it go to voicemail
Until and unless it is THE call you have been waiting for all day, other calls can sometimes wait. You do not have to answer all calls just because the phone rings! Let some go through to your voicemail. You will be in a better frame of mind and can prepare yourself before you call by reverting back to their voicemail. Try and avoid stumbling through a conversation, and also be strict with yourself and devote yourself by switching your phone to silent during meetings.
Prioritize your personal health
The most important thing you can do to stay productive at work is prioritize your personal health. According to the Harvard Business Review, your mental capability is directly proportionate to physical activity. Exercise is linked to less stress, a good mood, sharper concentration and better memory recall. By exercising and having a regular sleep schedule, you’ll be happier and more productive at work.
In his TED Talk, Shawn Achor, CEO of Good Think Inc., talked about how happiness kindles productivity. He reasons that when we are more positive, we work harder and are therefore more productive. If you make an aware effort to be more positive, then your sales team will also be more positive and will therefore work harder, faster and more efficiently!
We hope these hacks make your life easier and help to make your sales team more productive.
What are some of your favorite productivity hacks? Share them with us in the comments section below.
Meet the Author
Trishla Tyagi is an inbound marketer with KnoBis in Gurugram, India. She received her certification in Strategic Marketing from the Imperial College Business School in London.