Time-Management Techniques for High-Performance Sales Teams

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If you run a high-performance sales team and would like to get the most out of your sales development reps (SDRs), you need to implement best practice time-management techniques. Doing so empowers you and your team to get more done than you once thought possible. Despite the benefits, some people are quick to dismiss time-management methodologies because they don’t think they need them, but this type of thinking is costly.

Coaching your SDRs to organize their day and stick to a plan will not only allow them to make more sales, but it also benefits them by allowing more time to stay focused on the more critical aspects of their sales job. How much time gets wasted on unimportant tasks? You may be surprised when you see the impact time management can have on your sales team’s productivity and your bottom line.

So, what are some time-management best practices for high-performance sales teams? I’m glad you asked…let me break them down for you.

Coaching your #SDRs to organize their day and stick to a plan will not only allow them to make more #sales, but it also benefits them by allowing more time to stay focused on the more critical aspects of their sales job. #SalesTips Click To Tweet

Scrap Administrative Tasks

Most high-performance individuals try to juggle a million tasks at a time, but that approach causes more harm than you might think. According to a Workfront study conducted by Harris Poll, many workers only spend 45 percent of their day performing core tasks. Consider the amount of time you and your team spend scheduling appointments, attending meetings, cherry-picking leads, sending emails, typing reports or doing other administrative tasks. Since your SDRs have dedicated a lot of time and resources to gain the sales skills they have, using them for things other than selling is a waste of time and resources.

According to a study by @Workfront & @HarrisPoll, many workers only spend 45 percent of their day performing core tasks. #TimeManagement #SalesTips Click To Tweet

Take an honest look at your administrative tasks and ask if they are essential. You will often find that you can scrap many of your administrative functions without hurting your bottom line. If you can’t do without some administrative duties, use software to automate some of the tasks, or hire a sales admin assistant so that your team can focus on what they do best: boosting profitability.

Deny the Urge to Multitask

You have tons of emails to read and tasks to complete on top of making sales calls. With a lot to do and not enough time, you feel compelled to multitask. Many high-performance sales teams opt for this path and believe they are getting much more work done than they would otherwise, but multitasking rarely plays out how you hope.

In fact, most experts agree that multitasking reduces your productivity by about 40 percent. The reason for the lost productivity is that you can’t give much attention to more than one thing at a time, and switching gears makes it even harder for you to give each task the attention it deserves, especially when it comes to client-focused duties.

#Multitasking reduces your productivity by about 40 percent! 🤔 #SalesTips Click To Tweet

Set your sales team up for success by giving them the tools they need to manage their tasks efficiently. A sales engagement solution can help streamline their selling efforts while a task management solution can help manage any other projects your reps need to work on. There are free tools like Trello, Wrike, and Asana that can help your sales team get organized and start improving productivity for those tasks that aren’t explicitly related to selling.

Streamline Repeatable Tasks

With an honest perspective and an open mind, make a list of the essential tasks you or your reps must repeat on a regular basis. Next, dig into each task and find ways to do them more efficiently. Look for ways to reduce time and effort when it comes to repeatable processes. Streamlining repeatable tasks gives your SDRs more time to focus on selling.

Dialing prospects is one of those repeatable tasks. If your sales team makes a lot of outbound calls, consider a solution with auto dialing capabilities. While dialing a phone number doesn’t take an exorbitant amount of time, it does add up over the course of a day when your SDRs are making calls all day long. By simplifying this repeatable task, you free up your sales reps to not be bogged down by a small, yet time-consuming task. Combine this little win with other incremental improvements, and you can see big results when it comes to efficiency and productivity.

Use Canned Emails and Voicemails

Professionals spend a third of their day checking and responding to emails. A lot of people hate the idea of using canned material in their daily operations. They believe it’s not authentic and that contacts will notice, but using canned content can improve your productivity if you do it correctly.

Craft generic email templates and voicemail scripts that cover the key points you want your reps to cover. Rather than having them use the scripts or templates word-for-word, allow them to make small changes so that the message is personal and personable.

If you really want to reduce the time your sales reps spend on emails and voicemails, invest in a sales engagement solution that offers email templates and voicemail drop to minimize the time spent on these tasks.

Reduce Distractions

From smartphones and emails to news feeds and push notifications, the modern world is full of distractions that will prevent you from getting the job done. Even if you don’t realize it, this problem will hurt your sales and prevent your team from living up to their full potential.

In a George Mason University study, 96 percent of participants saw a decrease in the quality of their work as a result of being distracted. Turning off your phone, closing your email client, and removing other distractions will keep you in the zone during sales calls.

Distracted workers experience a 96% decrease in the quality of their work. 🤯 Find ways to minimize #distractions for your #SDRs. #SalesTips Click To Tweet

Give your sales reps the freedom from always having to be connected to internal communications platforms, so they can focus on connecting with their prospects.

Keep Sales Calls Short and to the Point

If you spend a lot of time getting to the point on your sales calls, you waste valuable sales time. You also risk losing the prospect’s attention. Create a bulleted list of points you would like to cover when on sales calls, and don’t allow yourself to get sidetracked. Better yet, use a script that will keep you focused and on-message.

Suck It up and Get the Dreaded Tasks Done

Most people have at least one task they put off for as long as possible because they don’t want to do it. If anything popped into your mind when you read the last sentence, take care of it right away. Stop procrastinating and making excuses for yourself and get it out of the way, and you will be glad you did.

“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” – Mark Twain

The frog is your most dreaded task. So, go ahead and eat it to get it out of the way so you can get through the rest of the day knowing the worst is over. Getting it done will give you a sense of accomplishment and boost your confidence to get through the day.

Learn to Say “No”

When you are successful, many people will want you to do things for them. Upper management will try to get as much performance from you as they can, and your team will try to get you to do more than your share. Spreading yourself too thin will stop you from getting things done and harm the quality of your work. For your sake and theirs, learn to say “no” and teach your sales reps that saying “no” is OK when the request harms your ability to meet quota or advance the company toward set business goals.

Reboot and Take a Break

Not giving yourself a break causes you to lose focus and make mistakes. You will get less done than you think, and the quality of your work can sharply decline. If you don’t want to fall into that trap, give yourself plenty of time to rest, relax and unwind. You will then go back to work feeling more energized, and the results will speak for themselves. For the best results, ensure your sales team takes a seven-minute break every 52 minutes.

Final Thoughts

No matter who you are or how much you think you can do each day, taking steps to improve your time-management skills is an essential piece of the puzzle you never want to overlook. Increasing your productivity and cutting tasks from your routine that doesn’t enhance your bottom line will boost your results and let you and your team earn more money and get more sales than you once thought possible.

Putting a system in place that gives you the most from your effort will take some time, but the outcome is worth it if you are serious about improving your bottom line to the next level. Most people are impressed when they see the effect the right time-management strategies can have on their business and sales team, and you will probably feel the same way when you see what you can achieve.

How many sales opportunities are you missing out on because of poor time-management? Share your time-management tips in the comments below.


Darryl Praill

Darryl Praill, Chief Marketing Officer of VanillaSoft, is a high-tech marketing executive with over 25 years’ experience spanning startups, re-starts, consolidations, acquisitions, divestments and IPO’s. He has been widely quoted in the media including television, press, and trade publications. He is a guest lecturer, public speaker, and radio personality and has been featured in numerous podcasts, case studies, and best-selling books.

Praill is a former recipient of the coveted Forty Under 40 Award, and has held senior executive roles in leading companies including Sybase, Cognos (now IBM), webPLAN (now Kinaxis), and CML Emergency Services (now AIRBUS). He has raised over $50 million in venture funding across multiple organizations and consulted with world-class corporations including Salesforce, SAP, and Nielsen. He is a Computer Science graduate from Sheridan College.

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