I’m constantly hearing salespeople say, “I simply don’t have enough time to make the calls, to schedule appointments, to do what I need to do in order to make more money in my job.”
But the reality is that every single person on this planet has the exact same amount of time to do what they have to do.
It’s not just about what you have to do; it’s also about what you don’t have to do.
In this video, I’m going to walk you through how to be more effective with your time in sales.
Here are the 7 keys to sales time management. Check it out:
Our good friends at Pipedrive have a solution that shows you exactly how to keep your pipeline organized and on track. Use this link to get a 30-day free trial of Pipedrive, and 20% off any services from them in the first year.
1. Say no to non-selling.
This is the most important point of focus for sales time management in general. There are so many forces pulling us away from what we should actually be doing, which is selling. The key is to clearly delineate selling tasks from non-selling tasks, and stay firm in your resolve to say no to non-selling activities.
An easy way to make this distinction is to ask yourself, what activities actually make you money? The answer is, anything that has to do with selling: generating more appointments, prospecting, conducting meetings, etc. And what doesn’t make you money? All of the non-sales stuff: operational tasks, paperwork, helping out people in the office, or procrastinating on social media. Whatever it is that’s not making you money, you’ve got to remove it from your plate. That way, you’re focused completely on what actually makes you money—the sales activities.
One of the most critical aspects of sales time management comes down to eliminating the old-school selling mentality of persuasion. You see, most salespeople have been taught that they need to persuade and convince every single prospect to buy from them. In fact, this idea is so ingrained in us that we tend to think the ultimate compliment we could receive is that we can “sell anything to anyone.”
But in reality, not all of your prospects are created equal; not everyone’s a fit for what you do and what you offer. And if you spend all your time trying to persuade everyone to buy from you…well, you’re going to waste a lot of time. This means that you need to actually disqualify the people who aren’t a fit.
The biggest time-suck in sales is being in front of people who aren’t going to buy. The faster you can end your interactions with non-buyers, the better off you’re going to be—and the more time you’ll have to spend with people who are actually a fit.
3. Use a CRM system to organize your process and your pipeline.
It should come as no surprise that organization is paramount to sales time management. And yet, I see salespeople all the time who are truly disorganized with their process. As a result, they spend an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out what they have to do next. Don’t let yourself fall into this time-sucking trap.
By using a strong CRM system, you can organize your entire sales process while keeping all of your information about prospects in one place, so there’s no going back and forth.
Our good friends at Pipedrive help you do exactly that, providing a system where you can keep all the components of your process organized, so nothing slips through the cracks. You can also hold all of your prospects in one place, so you know exactly where they are in the process and within the pipeline. Based on research of Pipedrive’s user base, their customers had the following improvements, on average, within their first year with Pipedrive:
- 28% increase in conversion rates
- 21% increase in average deal size
- 49% acceleration in their sales cycles
You can get a 30-day free trial and 20% off on any purchase during your first year with Pipedrive by clicking right here.
4. Bigger is better than more.
Let me unpack that for you. In sales, we often have two choices: bigger or more. We can either make a volume play, where we just make lots of sales and focus on quantity (more); or we can make bigger sales—maybe fewer of them, but larger in size (bigger). In my experience, bigger is always better than more.
Now, there are obviously some exceptions to this. But, as a general rule, if you want to improve your sales time management and make more money, going after bigger sales is a more efficient use of your time than making more sales. In fact, our research shows that making a bigger sale doesn’t actually take up that much more time than making a smaller sale. In the same amount of time, that one big sale can have the same impact from a profitability and revenue perspective as many, many smaller sales would.
So, focus on those bigger sales. I’m not saying that you should turn away smaller deals that come your way. But you should focus the majority your time on going after larger deals.
5. Stop following up.
Follow-up is one of the biggest time-wasters in sales. When I tell you to stop following up, I’m not saying you should just give up on leads that slip through the cracks. Rather, I’m challenging you to stop letting them slip through the cracks in the first place.
Don’t put yourself in a position where you have to follow up—ever. Instead, get obsessed with scheduling next steps. Every time you’re on the phone or on a Zoom or in front of a prospect in a meeting, schedule the next step right then and there.
If you have a concrete step scheduled with the prospect, you never have to follow up. You’re always just following the next step. Everything’s already in the calendar, so sales are moving along more efficiently. This sales time management approach will enable you to use your time much more efficiently than the average salesperson who’s out there following up on every single lead.
6. Systematize your outreach.
When it comes to sales time management, most salespeople are making the mistake of using a haphazard outreach approach. This means that there’s nothing process-oriented about their prospecting activities. One day they walk into the office and say, “I’m going to make some calls today,” and the next day they say, “Now I think I’m going to send out some emails.” This hodgepodge of haphazard activity is one of the best ways to waste your time in sales.
Instead, you should systematize every single bit of outreach that you do. When you get to the office and start to work, you should know exactly who you have to reach out to, how to reach them, and exactly when to do it. It should all be laid out in front of you in an easy-to-follow prospecting plan. The more you can systematize this process, the more efficient you’ll be. And what’s more, you can actually automate a lot of those prospecting activities, too.
7. Use strong tools.
There are some really incredible sales time management tools out there today. You can, and should, leverage as many of these tools as possible to make yourself more efficient with your time. Through automation, organization, and systematization, these strong time management tools can support your activities, so that you don’t have to do everything manually anymore.
One of the things that I love about tools like Pipedrive is that it takes all the busywork out of your hands. You can have campaigns in process with emails going out, reminders being set, and tasks kept organized, all in one place. Leverage tools like this to make sure you’re not doing any manual labor that you don’t absolutely have to be doing.
So there you have it. Now you know 7 keys to sales time management. And I want to encourage you again to check out our friends at Pipedrive. Their amazing CRM system can make you far more efficient with your time in sales. In fact, within the first year of using Pipedrive, clients have typically seen a 28% increase in conversion rates, a 21% increase in average deal size, and a 49% acceleration in their sales cycles. As a special offer just for people in our community, click here to access a 30-day free trial, as well as 20% off anything that you purchase with Pipedrive within your first year.
More Must-Know Keys to Sales Time Management…
Sales Time Management – The vast majority of salespeople waste their time on the same 7 daily activities that have a terrible return on time invested. Watch this short video to learn exactly how to avoid this time-wasters so you can sell more than ever before.
By far, the most common question I get from salespeople is this: “What are some of the best sales time management tips or advice that you have?”
My response is actually always the same. It’s not what you need to be doing; it’s what you need to stop doing in sales that will determine whether you’re effective with your time—or simply wasting it.
In fact, there are countless activities that waste salespeople’s time every day.
By removing these time-wasting activities from your daily routine, you will see at least a 2X return on the time you spend selling. In this video, I’m going to show you the top 7 time-wasters of most salespeople. Check it out.
8. Checking email.
Chances are, you saw this one coming. Constantly checking email is the number one time-suck for salespeople across industries. Not only is checking your email a waste of time, but it also breaks your focus throughout the day. Remember, you’re in sales—not operations. You don’t need to solve every single problem in the first five seconds it’s presented to you.
Email. You know what? You probably saw this coming, but there is no greater time suck for salespeople than constantly checking email. It’s not only a waste of time, but it also breaks your focus throughout the day.
You’re in sales, not operations. You don’t need to solve every single problem in the first five seconds that it’s presented to you. Salespeople who take pride in always immediately returning emails in fact have nothing to be proud of. They’re just wasting their time.
Sales Time Management Tip: Check your email no more than three times a day at scheduled intervals and make sure that the rest of your day is spent doing things that are actually making you money.
The most valuable person in an organization is a person who can generate revenue. Operations people are a dime a dozen. Now, that may piss some people off, but it’s still true.
Great salespeople, though, are diamonds in the rough. It’s critical that we, as top-performing salespeople, understand that the time we spend on operational issues is a total waste.
Sales Time Management Tip: We are so much better off outsourcing any operational activities except for the absolute most critical tasks. Stop wasting your time in operations.
10. To-Do Lists.
Now, we’ve all been taught to make to-do lists, but the problem is that they tend to fill up with lots of tasks and no clear prioritization.
What’s more, there’s no deadline for each task. It’s time to throw out that old to-do list and use an objectives list instead. The key idea here is that every objective should be both time-bound and clearly prioritized in terms of what’s most important.
Sales Time Management Tip: Realistically, there should be no more than a couple of objectives in any given week that you’re focused on. The rule of thumb is that, if you ultimately push back an objective’s completion date more than three times, it’s obviously not important enough to do. Delete it and move on.
I know a lot of people are going to be really annoyed that I just said research is a huge time-waster. But it’s true. I will acknowledge that every good salesperson needs to do some research. There’s no question about it.
Whenever we’re talking to an important prospect or client, we need to know what we’re talking about. And just as important, we need to know who we’re speaking to. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to spend hours each day researching your prospects.
Sales Time Management Tip: In fact, a good chunk of research can actually be outsourced to an administrator or some type of a virtual assistant who can do 90% of the research for you, and then simply present you their findings. Of course, you can fill in any holes. Don’t waste your time spending hours and hours each day researching.
Strategizing is similar to research. Of course, we all want a good sales strategy in place, and that’s critical. But strategizing is not something that you should be doing on a daily basis.
Sales Time Management Tip: A top salesperson is clear about what the strategy is going to be with key prospects, and once that strategy is laid out, there’s no need to rehash what it’s going to be.
Most salespeople fall into that rut of waiting for the perfect strategy or approach for each prospect, when they should really just be spending that time implementing a simple strategy. Keep it simple and take action.
One of the biggest time-wasters of all is spending time with a prospect who is never going to buy from you. This isn’t just a time management strategy, it’s also a sales strategy. Right?
The typical salesperson, according to my data, spends at least 15 to 20 hours each month with prospects who will never buy. That means they’re losing about a quarter of every week to those tire-kickers.
Sales Time Management Tip: You must be willing to disqualify prospects early on in the sales process so you don’t waste your time with people who are never going to buy.
14. Selling to “buyers.”
By “buyers,” I mean those people that actually have the title of “buyer.” Many salespeople waste a lot of time selling to low-level prospects who lack the authority to make buying decisions. Those are usually the people who have titles like “buyer.”
Sales Time Management Tip: It’s time to step outside of your comfort zone and sell higher up the organization. You want titles like VP, CEO, COO, and director. “Director.”
Buyers rarely have the authority to say “yes.” They do, though, have the authority to say “no” and they’re going to beat you down on price and ultimately make difficult clients.
So there you have it. Now you know the top 7 time-wasters of most salespeople. I want to hear from you. Which of these sales time management tips did you find most useful? Be sure to share below in the comments section to get involved in the conversation. I’ll respond to every comment I possibly can.
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About the Author Marc Wayshak
Marc is is the best-selling author of three books on sales and leadership, including the highly acclaimed titles Game Plan Selling, The High-Velocity Sales Organization and his forthcoming book, Sales Conversations, Mastered.
Marc is a contributor to Inc, HubSpot, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Huffington Post Business. He also hosts a popular YouTube channel on sales strategy with over 103,000 subscribers.
Marc helps thousands of people his data-driven, science-based approach to selling that utilizes all the best tools available to sales organizations today.