Time management is one of the key components of a sales career. Because sales is a game of numbers and efficiency, effectively organizing your time is essential for productivity. Many salespeople say there simply isn’t enough time in the day to do it all.
Our team at Kara is made up of former salespeople, and we understand what it’s like to struggle with time management. Luckily, there are things you can do to ensure you maximize your time and productivity. Below, we’ve pulled together nine tips for time management that will help sales reps get more done in less time.
1. Plan early
When you’re starting your week, you’re going to have a lot of tasks lined up to finish. It may be overwhelming to see your whole week’s worth of work, but it can help to see the bigger picture. It’s important to prioritize and categorize each task by importance before you even begin.
It’s also essential to group tasks together to accomplish at the same location or time. Planning early will also ensure that if anything comes up, you can reprioritize and change things up while still finishing everything on time.
2. Delegate non-essential tasks
We get that not everyone is able to hire an assistant. But if you can get rid of some of those non-essential tasks by giving them to someone who can help, you’ll be able to focus on what really matters. This could be a co-worker, intern, or anyone who these particular tasks may be better suited for. Remember, virtual assistants may be the perfect alternative to a regular assistant if the budget is tight. Most of them work by the hour.
3. Be prepared for, well, anything
Scheduling in specific time to deal with problems, situations or surprise tasks will ensure you’re never caught off guard. In fact, Lara Khanafer, CEO of Kara, explains she actually adds procrastination into her schedule. “Finding the right moment to do certain tasks is really important,” she said.
4. Get a handle on your email
Select specific periods of time each day to deal with emails. Doing so means you won’t have to stop in the middle of important tasks to respond to emails. Having a ready-made signature or pre-made email templates can also help you do more in less time.
After all, you have to contact a lot of different people while working in sales. Having different email templates ready will ensure you’re prepared to contact everyone in just the right way.
Whether it’s a cold email, a marketing email, or an event invite, using templates gives you the option to send a note off quickly with just a little bit of tweaking. Remember to personalize each in whatever way seems to best fit the situation.
If you’ll recall our time management tip about using Kara, the app also helps by integrating your CRM with email.
5. Don’t multi-task
As tempting as it may be, don’t multitask. Countless studies have been done debunking the idea that multitasking helps you get more done. Instead, it impedes you from getting certain things done efficiently.
It takes time for your brain to switch between tasks. Switching takes focus away. This means while multitasking, you likely won’t do any of your tasks well. This can really hurt your productivity. Instead, focus one task at a time. And if you’re with a client, make sure your focus is 100% on them — that’s how you close a sale.
6. Break things down
One of the easiest ways to tackle difficult tasks is to break them down into smaller, more manageable tasks. If you’re dreading a specific task, think about why. Maybe it just seems massive, or you’re not sure you can handle it. Breaking it up into easier to-dos will make things seem more feasible. Go sub-task by sub-task, and eventually, your larger task will soon be accomplished.
7. Leverage Momentum
If you close a deal or finish an important task, don’t let that momentum go to waste. Your first instinct may be to take a break. While it may be well-deserved, think of the work you could get done if you keep up that momentum.
This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t take breaks, but consider taking that line of energy and keeping it up to start on your next project.
8. Use past successes to fuel future ones
Don’t start from scratch with every new opportunity. It doesn’t make sense to do so. Salespeople should review both won and lost opportunities so they can see what’s worked (and what hasn’t). Once you’ve evaluated, create a few templates that can apply to multiple situations or clients.
Typically, certain questions always need to be asked, and any leads followed should always be documented in the same way. Certain case studies relevant to specific situations should also be part of the template.
You can even use Kara to analyze these common questions and methods from different emails and documents. With this process documented into a template, you’ll definitely maximize this aspect of your productivity.
9. Schedule meetings together (and shorten them)
Ineffective scheduling can be detrimental to time management. If you have meetings scheduled outside the office, make sure you batch them together. Why not take care of two meetings if you’re already out? Just remember to schedule the times and locations close to each other for maximum ease.
Shorter meetings, especially virtual ones, can also help with time management. Decide if your meeting goals could be accomplished in 45 minutes instead of an hour. If so, schedule shorter meetings. You’ll likely end up with some extra time in your day.
For those looking for a little digital help to organize meetings and other calendar events, consider Calendly. It’s perfect for setting up short calls and internal meetings, with useful features like daily meeting limits, minimum scheduling notice and time zone detection.
Time management is something any business professional can strive to improve. But sales reps have extremely busy schedules, so being able to manage time more effectively will only bring you added success. Getting more done in less time is the ultimate goal, and following these tips can help you do so.