The average sales rep may rarely come into contact with the CEO where they work, but they can still steal one of the most common productivity secrets of business leaders everywhere.
Much like a sales rep has to juggle different accounts in their territory, along with following up on leads and potential prospects, CEOs tend to have a lot of priorities in front of them at any one time. In some organizations it seems almost superhuman that they could manage it all. That’s why many CEOs compartmentalize the various tasks and goals that lead to business success by assigning “themes” for each day of their week.
Look around online and you’ll see a number of articles about how the CEOs of major tech firms and even startups develop the right flow of themes that keep them on track. This is just one example:
Monday: Update on financial performance, shareholder information or CFO-related issues.
Tuesday: Oversee questions and concerns related to product development.
Wednesday: Check in on marketing initiatives, from brand awareness to demand generation, and from paid media to content marketing.
Thursday: Customer visits or major service-related problems and HR issues.
Friday: Hiring and talent development of other managers and leaders.
The big difference between a CEO and a sales rep? Apart from the fact that bosses may work straight through the weekends as well, CEOs have to get intelligence from a wide range of different sources, including a sometimes-dizzying array of technologies and people. For sales, the key data that can be used to not only create their daily themes but manage them successfully is likely to be found in a single place: a CRM like Sales Cloud.
Even though they’re technically responsible for one area, sales reps can leverage the boss’ approach to be more organized, more productive and ultimately less stressed.
Like most CEOs, you may not spend your entire day focusing on each theme. The trick is to make sure you carve out enough time that you move the needle forward in a positive way.
Start with these suggestions and then, based on what your day-to-day looks like, make them your own.
Some might think the best time to do a weekly look back is on a Friday, when things are theoretically) quieter, but why ruin your weekend? Starting off your next cycle of activity by checking the metrics on what opportunities remain open, what hasn’t been touched and where your most likely “wins” are will ensure you feel a sense of accomplishment early in the week.
Besides looking at CRM data the traditional way, this is where you can also begin to weave in the benefits of artificial intelligence technology like Salesforce Einstein. Until recently, there was no telling what the future might hold in terms of business growth. That’s all changed.
The marketing team may have collected a whole bunch of interesting contacts via its efforts with white papers, e-mail newsletters, blog posts and other assets. One of the most common frustrations in many firms, though, is when the marketing team feels the sales team isn’t acting on those leads, or acting quickly enough. Sales, meanwhile, might complain they lack the necessary time to go through those leads and identify what’s worth putting into their pipeline or not.
Try to reserve some time in your calendar on Tuesdays to do at least some of that lead scoring in CRM. This won’t just satisfy the marketing department but will make sure the time you spend calling or following up with an e-mail message will only be devoted to the leads you truly believe represent a significant chance of turning into a buying decision in the near term.
You’ve got an important customer meeting but you didn’t get a chance to update your deck! Without the most recent pricing, answers to questions from a previous meeting or other elements, though, reps run the risk of looking less than 100 per cent professional when they’re standing in front of decision-makers.
Get over “hump day” by giving your pitch slides a little TLC. Then take out your smartphone, run through your key arguments with the video recorder on and take a look at the results. Double-check the CRM to make sure your data is accurate. Coach yourself before someone else does.
Sometimes customers just need that little nudge. It could be sending them a spec sheet or buyer’s guide that shows how your company is differentiated from the competition. Maybe a phone call will remind them they were going to let you know one way or another.
In the typical rush of a week, reps can be forgiving for hoping customers will make the last step to a signed deal a little easier, but the truth is it doesn’t often work that way. Think about what paths you haven’t already taken or any missing ingredients that could take a sale from “possibly” to “definitely.”
Even when they know “social selling” has become the norm, some reps feel the time they spend on social networks is time they are taking away from something more important.
You’ll never be sure, however, until you start trying to start and participate in conversations on Twitter, LinkedIn or other appropriate channels. Just take a few minutes before the work week ends and see how it goes. Take a few more minutes the next week, and so on.
Social selling isn’t just a matter of doing all the talking, however. There should also be a lot of listening, or simply reading what customers are saying. Don’t stop there, though. Read industry magazines, tune into a webinar or anything else that will make you more knowledgeable in your next customer conversation, whether it’s online or in person.
Hopefully by the time Saturday and Sunday arrive, the way you’ve themed your week mean you’ll be able to enjoy some well-deserved downtime. If not, don’t worry. You’ll soon have a new week to refine your approach, until you’re managing yourself -- that’s right -- like a boss.