Everyone struggles to stay productive at work. Salespeople aren't an exception to the rule. However, with the lifeblood of the company (i.e. revenue) in their hands, there seems to be a microscopic focus on every detail of a salesperson's day-to-day life at all times. And even though salespeople are typically known for being driven and results-oriented by nature, many companies dedicate a lot of attention, effort, and money to improving the Sales team's productivity. So, does sales have a productivity problem?
At the root of this question is the role of sales, whose job is to, in fact, sell stuff. The most important part of doing that job is being in customer meetings – focused on building relationships and solving problems. However, a salesperson's daily to-do list likely includes a lot more than just that. The unfortunate reality is, only one-third of an average salesperson’s time is spent meeting with customers. The other two-thirds are spent on other administrative – albeit still very important – tasks that all too often eat up time normally dedicated to customer meetings.
Therefore, we have a ”sales productivity conundrum." A salesperson’s most productive time is spent engaging with customers. But there are also critical administrative and preparatory tasks that need to be done. So, what’s the secret to helping salespeople remain productive while focusing more of their time and attention on relationship-building activities? Here are five tips for staying productive that the most successful salespeople agree on:
Whatever your morning routine includes, it’s important to kick off the day on a productive note. Some salespeople swear by exercise, while others believe eating a good, healthy breakfast is the recipe for success. There are some who believe in the power of some sort of mental preparation (Sudoku anyone?). There's no single best way to start the day. Just do whatever works best for you – and set the tone for productivity from the minute you get your day going. Doing so can and will pay off in a big way throughout the day.
Field sales executives are ideally leaving their desks or offices for customer meetings and oftentimes don’t have the luxury of sitting in front of a computer. Travel or down time in between meetings offers a great opportunity to make progress on important administrative or communications-based tasks. Having the right mobile tools can turbo-charge productivity during those moments, allowing more time for higher value activities (i.e. more customer meetings).
We all love to check in on social media from time to time or engage in a little water cooler chat because let's face it, it can be a real a struggle to maintain focus 100 percent of the time. However, did you know that interruptions like these not only waste time – it can actually take 10-20x longer to get back to being productive – but also can cause your overall brain power and quality of thinking to diminish as well? Finding ways to block distractions and limit interruptions can make a big impact on productivity.
No salesperson has to run through the phone book systematically anymore making cold calls. However, it's just as inefficient to try and tackle other tasks without any sort of logical prioritization. Thanks to the tools we now have at our disposal, we can tap into the power of data to provide insights that help us filter out which leads, opportunities, and activities are the best to focus on at any given time. Besides saving time, we’ll be more successful and happier working with the right customers.
Following in the same train of thought as above, a major key to productivity today revolves around technology (for time-saving, that is, not for creating more distractions!). High-performing salespeople know that harnessing the power of technology can be a true competitive advantage. For example, automation tools can use rules to detect when to trigger tasks, events, or approvals while artificial intelligence can go one step further by recommending actions, uncovering the right insights (automatically), and making sure you don’t miss any important details.
There's a lot more where this came from! To take a deeper dive into these five secrets of productivity, be sure to download the full e-book today.