We all have our items to check off before the work day is truly done. A sales leader might need to conduct a staff meeting, for instance, or follow up on a deal that may be moving in the wrong direction. Reps have calls to make, presentations to create or in-person pitches.

With all the focus on what you need to get done, it’s easy to forget that there are other things which should be put aside. That’s why some time management experts suggest that, beyond making a “to do” list, sales professionals should also think about writing a “don’t do” list. This will help them make sure their schedule doesn’t get too filled with items that suck time away from things that could get them nearer to a client win.

If you’re too busy to make your own list – and who isn’t? – we’ve got a handful of ideas that may apply to you. Use them as thought-starters to make the most of each minute.

Don’t Spend Hours Searching Online For Background Information

You go to an event or talk to a colleague and learn that a customer’s business has changed and that they may be in need of something new. You start trolling around on the Internet looking up news, checking for the right decision-maker and any other recent updates on its web site. While some degree of research may make sense, it’s not the best use of time if you have a robust CRM system in place where previous purchase history and other valuable data is already stored in an easily accessible way. If what you find in your CRM isn’t adequately preparing you for the next customer opportunity, it’s time to revisit how well it’s being used and if there might be more effective processes to share information within it.

Don’t Juggle Calendars Endlessly To Secure Face-to-Face Meetings

At some point, there will likely be a moment where being in the same room is critical to closing the deal. In some of the earlier stages, however, there are other options to help introduce yourself and educate prospects about how your firm’s products and services could help. This not only includes content marketing assets such as blog posts but also video clips, which more organizations are increasingly using as a selling tool. Making use of multiple channels will ensure you’re consistently nurturing a prospect rather than putting off an opportunity for weeks or more.

Don’t Sit At Your Desk Deciding Whether To Press ‘Send’

Sales is a deadline-driven role, but the pressure becomes even more intense when you’re about to forward on a slide deck or proposal and you’re worried about how a customer might react. Until recently, all most sales professionals had to work with was their memory of a client’s behaviour and their gut instincts about whether what they present will resonate. Today, however, they can use analytics tools to show high-level overviews about what a particular customer or industry sector is likely to do and even more granular details about future activity. Predictive intelligence tools should become a replacement for a “here goes nothing” approach to communicating with customers and prospects.

Don’t Wait Until You Get Back To The Office To Take Action

Sales reps are often on the road. When you’re driving, you have no choice but to pay attention to what’s around you. But before you fasten your seat belt, board an airplane or while you’re standing in line waiting for a taxi, there’s still lots of ways to move a deal towards close. Think about the growing array of mobile apps that allow you to log sales activity or push forward marketing materials to support your pitch or answer customer questions. Chances are you’re already glued to your smart phone. Make sure it becomes as valuable for connecting with your team or taking action on data as it is to play mobile games or make phone calls.

Don’t Try To Do The Marketing Department’s Job

By all means send emails to clients and prospects to keep them up to date on what your company is doing. Definitely pass on white papers or webinars they might find interesting. A better use of your time, though, would be learning more about how marketing automation is handling many of the functions associated with demand generation. Sales teams have a great opportunity in 2016 to work more collaboratively and cohesively with their counterparts in marketing. It might not only free up more of your time, it’ll also probably help you close more deals.

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