As a busy sales exec you’ll be used to working hard and playing even harder. You’ll be hungry to land deals and see your sales figures soar. But what if you could make your efforts go even further, by making some simple changes to the way you work?
Here are ten productivity hacks – from quick wins to tools that can help you get ahead of the game – all designed to help you streamline, refine and get smart with your time.
1 Optimise your CRM use
A CRM is something you’re likely to be using on a daily basis, so the more streamlined your processes can be the more you’ll benefit. When did you last take a critical look at what you’re doing and how you’re doing it? Review your usage to try and spot every opportunity you can for optimising your activity. For example, are there tasks you can group together and then fly through first thing in the morning or the evening, leaving your peak activity hours completely clear? Planning and scheduling are good places to start.
2 Streamline your note taking
Recording notes for all calls and meetings you have is always easier (and will be quicker too) if you can do it right away. You may have had a long day but get it done and out of the way. The key is to be precise and not to do any more than is necessary. For all other admin tasks related to calls and meetings, hold off and instead schedule a regular time to batch process them – i.e. store them up and then get them done in one hit. Also make sure your emails are automatically passed into your CRM, if that doesn’t already happen.
3 Streamline your call list
If you are preparing a call list then ordering it logically, rather than alphabetically or similar, can help save you time by giving you a clear focus. It will stop you having to reset your mind all the time by switching about too broadly with what you are doing. Try sorting your list by industry and then by job title – or any other vertical you use to change your script. Ideally you will then keep all calls with similar scripts together.
4 Refine your research process
When you research a company and lead what do you look for? It is likely there will be patterns within your research that are very similar. Spend some time analysing your process to see how you could improve on it. For an easy win, the web is a fantastic resource for sales teams and has made it very easy to find information about just about anyone, so make the most of it! Use information from social media status updates, or other information gained from online sources, as ice-breakers in your conversations.
5 Stay focused when an appointment gets cancelled
When an appointment gets cancelled it can be tempting to move on to the next best option on your list. However, you’ve spent time and energy getting into the right frame of mind so don’t waste that. Stay in the same space. For example, if an introductory meeting gets cancelled then work on preparing for your next introductory meeting. Don’t make a big switch instantly and jump over to your follow-up calls. You need a very different mindset for the different activities you have to do. Jumping between them in this way only wastes time, so try to keep focused on similar tasks.
6 Blitz through your call list
When you have phone calls, email follow ups and admin work to do, try and batch the similar tasks together and get clever with how you prioritise them. Do all your phone calls first, taking and recording notes for each one as you go along. Make a call, take your notes and then move on to the next one. Then once they’re complete, get on with doing any necessary email follow ups. It is far easier to achieve a goal for calls if you stick to doing one after another, without too much time in between. After that do your other admin work.
7 Use the right tools and set alerts
Are you taking full advantage of what innovative new technologies and software can now offer you, when it comes to securing more sales? Clever digital tools could prove to be a (highly lucrative) game-changer for you. Start by analysing everything you are doing to find ways you could up your productivity. For example, are you using all relevant apps and have you set up alerts, rules and triggers? Make sure you are immediately being made aware of any buying signals and trigger events. If you’re using Lead Forensics then you can easily do this. An alert will automatically go out to you the moment one of your prospects, a ‘wish list’ business, or even existing clients visit your website. That way you can get straight to work on it.
8 Who to call next
Automate everything that you can, this includes letting machines do the thinking when it comes to who needs a call next. That way you can concentrate on the call itself. Investigate tools and software that can help you decide this and who you should be calling next.
9 Let it go to voicemail
Unless it is THE call you have been waiting for all day, then all other calls can wait. You do not have to answer the phone just because it rings! Let them go through to your voicemail. You will be in a far better frame of mind and can prepare yourself mentally before you call them back. Have a quick look through your notes first to refresh your memory. This will lead to far better results and avoid you stumbling through a conversation or needing to blag it. Also be strict with yourself and focus your full attention by switching your phone to silent (and turning vibrate off) during meetings – particularly if you’re with a client.
10 Have a content library
One of the hugest time-wasters for sales teams is needing to search for documents. But making sure all sales reps have all the necessary content they need available at the click of a button is not always an easy task. The simplest way to manage this is to create a content library that everyone can assess and to make sure everything is in there that may be needed – importantly, also make sure that the documents are up to date and checked regularly. It may be a pain initially, but the rewards you reap could be huge. The time wasted by not having a system like this can be staggering.
11 Bonus tip! Focus on quality leads only
Probably the biggest productivity hack of them all for any sales executive is making sure you’re only working with highly targeted and qualified leads. Don’t waste time calling dead leads who have shown any buying signals, or who aren’t a good fit and are never going to make a sale. It is a huge no-no in a world where digital information is at your fingertips.
Look at your sales funnel and spend time optimising it. Let marketing nurture the lower qualified leads and move them up the sales funnel. They should only be handing over the hot leads. This one hack alone could see your productivity and results quickly soar.
The sales team is the lifeblood of any business, but sales productivity can nose dive for all sorts of reasons. The good news is, we’ve got you covered. This eBook can help you get things going at full tilt… and keep it there!