Is this the situation in your company? Your salespeople spend only a small percentage of their day-to-day selling. Apparently according to LinkedIn’s State of Sales report, which surveyed more than 2,500 sales professionals around the globe, salespeople spend only 37.67% of their time selling.
So, the crucial question for salespeople is:
- How can they be more productive?
- How can they make the time they spend selling be more efficient?
Here are 13 tips that you can use to get your salespeople doing what they should be doing.
One – Just say no
Only 31% of people say no at work. Extremely productive sellers say no
- unnecessary meetings,
- co-worker interruptions,
- accepting tasks that aren’t theirs
they can get out one more call, one more email, and one more value-added touch to their buyers.
Playing hard to get means that you can:
- 8 times more likely to not be distracted,
- 8 times more likely to turn off alerts,
- 4 times more likely to signal “do not disturb,”
Two – Be focused.
This is your personal responsibility nobody else can do that. What you should do is at the end of the day, set up what your top three priorities are for the next day. Always make time to do this, so that you walk into your office with an idea what to do next. If your software helps you stay organized, as some sales engagement platforms do, use that to help you get your work done. Find the holes where things can slip through the cracks and fix them.
Take breaks, and especially a creativity break when you feel overwhelmed or not accomplishing what you’d planned to. Look at those around you who get things done and learn what they do, because success leaves clues.
Three – Prevent yourself from jumping from one task to another.
Most salespeople believe that their most valuable resource is time. It’s not, attention is by far the most important thing. It’s critical that salespeople learn how to focus that attention.
It starts with:
- putting time in your schedule at the end of the week to plan out the next one.
- Amalgamate similar activities (prospecting, email correspondence, research, etc.) into blocks of 30-90 minutes,
- Plan out only 60% of the day to allow for spontaneous opportunities and meetings that pop up.
This will prevent you from bouncing around from task to task and never finishing one. And you’ll be less reactive and more proactive.
Four – Have clarity about your Ideal Customer Profile
To use your time more efficiently you need to have absolute clarity about your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). So that you can understand the buyer personas you seek to engage. Buyers expect us to know them, and we must create a relationship that provides them with value in a conversation. No talking about our product, service, or solution yet. We all need to focus on the customer and what we can do to get better results for them. Not bang-on about us and attributes of what we offer.
Five – Spend more time on the things that work
This may appear to be a simple answer, but how many of us get involved in things that don’t work? Ideally you should track where every lead and close originated, so you know where to focus your time.
Six – Own your calendar
The number one thing that separates high-performing sales professionals from the rest is their ability to own their time and their calendar. By having a strict focus on what you need to accomplish during your day, week, or month, you avoid falling into the trap of wasting time doing busy work, which most of the time doesn’t lead to closed business. Focus on those things that provide you with the highest ROI first.
Seven – Task tools are essential
To ensure you use your time efficiently you must have a calendar. If the activity is not in there, it’s not happening. Most calendars now have several apps and extensions that work with it calendar to make appointment setting easier on both sides. Other tools to use for reminders and tasks are essential to getting everything done include iPhone’s integrated Reminder and Task apps, Text Expander on Chrome and Text Replacement on my iPhone to auto text your replies to invitations and messages on LinkedIn and through email. Any tool, app, or extension you can use to save me even a few minutes adds up—giving you back your most asset—time!
Eight – It’s not the sales funnel
In past times it used to be said that Activity = Productivity. Nowadays it is Customer Activity = Sales Productivity. Even that is not quite correct we should be saying sales activity and productivity geared to the customer activity and productivity.
So, todays sellers need to develop what could be termed a “playbook”. This will address the customer journey. As it turns out this is not linear, and it’s not about the salesperson’s sales funnel. There are five components in a playbook, namely:
- The media
- The content
- The touches
- The timing
- The stakeholders
Consequently, modern sellers should arrange their time around those five components. It’s about a diversified time and energy engagement process with specific time allocation strategies and on the playbook’s five components. So, it’s not about how you manage your time, it’s about how you invest it in the customer journey!
Nine -Have a morning routine.
Instead of watching the morning news or reading the newspaper, you should do a few of the following activities, which take about an hour.
- Set an intention for each day: I will book five appointments today or I will close at least one new client.
- Have some personal time by exercising, reading a book, or listening to motivational programs or podcasts that will put you in a positive mindset.
- Check your message for new opportunities.
- Scan your saved accounts to see which accounts are in the news or are sharing new content.
- Reach out to your key contacts in those accounts and congratulate them when they make the news. Share their new content if the content is worth sharing to your network.
Ten – Avoid unwinnable opportunities
The single biggest productivity drain is spending time chasing unwinnable opportunities because they are unqualified. High-performing reps continuously qualify all their opportunities. They are rigorous and understand that qualification is a process and not an event. Too many sales reps think of qualification as progression through their own sales process. Checking off activities and milestones to advance a deal. Unfortunately, that is incomplete. To best qualify opportunities, the process must reflect the buyer’s process, not the sellers. Qualification is best when we understand and are completely knowledgeable on the four questions buyers answer when making a purchase:
- Should I buy this?
- Is it worth the investment?
- Have I involved the right people to authorize the purchase?
- What must happen for me to be convinced and when will I execute this purchase decision?
Eleven – Create an email-free zone
Email is a big distraction getting between you and your clients. Turn off the sound and visual alert that appears on your computer screen signaling you have a new email. Only check your email at scheduled times. Only respond to the emails that involve a follow-up for a client. Get clear on what is a revenue-generating activity for your sales process.
Twelve – Use modern selling techniques
You as a sales professional can boost your productivity by integrating modern selling techniques into your workflow. It’s critical to target the right decision makers at the right time with the right information. Leverage your networks to look for warm introduction paths and leverage personalized insights to increase outreach response rates and build meaningful relationships.
Using many, if not all, of these techniques will make you a better sales professional and increase your sales and therefore your income.
In this modern, pandemic world, we all need to make our presentations better, more personalized and putting the customer first always.
Just do this and you will see great results.
Now go and do it!