Is Your Sales Team Drowning in Work?

BY: Daniel M. Savage

As a business owner, imagine that you and your sales team have assumed additional responsibilities and/or have fewer team members.  You’re tasked with generating significant new business while continuing to deliver first-rate service to your ‘best’ clients.  Sound familiar?

With no relief in sight, it’s natural to wonder about how to make it work.  Here’s the good news:  Better time management just might be your solution.

Here are a few suggestions.

First, analyze how you and your team members spend time.

Most of us waste time engaging in activities that we mistakenly believe are essential but, in truth, are nothing more than busy work.  These time-suckers include mismanaging email, visiting irrelevant websites, and pouring over non-essential reports.  Since ‘time is money’, poor focus can cost you dearly. 

The solution?  For one week, carefully record what you do every 30 minutes.  Write it down.  Review the results, and you’ll see how wisely (or not) you’re using your time.  This will present opportunities for constructive change. 

Second, stop doing things that are not driving business.

This means…

  • Save personal web activity, including LinkedIn, for non-office hours.
  • When considering lunch, ask yourself if it will lead to additional business or materially improve a best relationship.
  • Make telephone calls and set appointments with only two purposes in mind:  either to make money…or…strengthen a relationship with a valued client.
  • Focus on the bigger picture by engaging in profit-enhancing activities rather than becoming engulfed in routine daily tasks.
  • Re-assess your networking activities.  If you’re attending events simply for the sake of ‘getting your name out’, that may not be optimal. In addition to creating awareness, measure your results in terms of opportunities to submit proposals, revenue generated, number of quality leads, or some other relevant metric.
  • Spend half your time (or a percentage appropriate for your situation) servicing clients and the other half (another appropriate portion) on business development by making calls and smart connections.  Be sure to make your best clients a priority.
  • Revisit former (good) clients and explore how to win them back.
  • Re-assess your paperwork flow.  Odds are you’ll discover an abundance of unnecessary reports.

Finally, don’t be afraid to make changes…to run your sales function differently. 

Rather than doing something because it’s always been done that way, look for opportunities to make smart changes.  Even one new idea has the potential to improve results.

Lost time is never found again.

Benjamin Franklin

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