Time Management: A Key Element to Optimum Sales Performance

Guest post from Monika Götzmann, EMEA Marketing Director for MHI Global (formerly AchieveGlobal).

In order to improve the performance of their sales team, companies invest a huge amount of resources into sales training. However, while training sessions are excellent for improving people’s practical sales skills, they often overlook one of the most crucial elements required to reach optimum sales performance – time management.

For a business to perform to the best possible level, individual sales reps need to make effective use of their time. Unfortunately, in most businesses this is not currently happening. In fact, according to a study produced by Pace Productivity, Inc. the average sales rep spends just 23 percent of their time on selling activities.

1. The Importance of Delegation in Sales Performance

One of the reasons sales team members spend a comparatively small amount of time actually selling is because they are forced to carry out non-selling activities. On any given day, in most organizations, sales reps may have to attend non-sales meetings, carry out administrative tasks or perform order processing actions.

In reality, many of these tasks could be delegated to support staff, freeing the sales team up to get on with actually selling. Delegating work to others is a skill which is often emphasised in sales managers training, but individual sales team members also need to feel able to delegate work to others when it is appropriate.

2. Getting Small Tasks Done

In his book Getting Things Done, David Allen suggests that one of the biggest ways a business can improve time management and overall productivity is by following the ‘two-minute rule’. Essentially, the rule states that if a task can be completed in under two minutes, it should be done at the first opportunity, rather than being delayed.

“If the next action can be done in two minutes or less, do it when you first pick the item up,” Allen writes. “The rationale for the two-minute rule is that it’s more or less the point where it starts taking longer to store and track an item than to deal with it the first time. In other words, it’s the efficiency cut-off.”

3. Creating Work Schedules

For larger tasks, it is often more beneficial for them to be carried out at set times, based on an agreed schedule. This is especially important for non-revenue generating activities, such as handling customer problems, so it makes sense to put a certain amount of time aside for these every day.

However, scheduling can also be used to improve time management when it comes to things like prospecting as well. In fact, because prospecting often involves cold calling, many sales reps actively try to avoid it, despite it being an essential part of their job. By drawing it into a set schedule, prospecting can become unavoidable and habitual.

4. Time-Based Goal Setting

The final piece of the time management jigsaw is goal setting and one of the best ways to make sure sales reps make good use of their time is to set time-based goals. These goals should be measurable, achievable and realistic and can serve to drive a rep on when procrastination starts to rear its ugly head.

Many of the top sales performers are acutely aware of how they use their time and setting goals helps to breed this awareness. Whether it is having a certain number of meaningful conversations with prospects per day, or making a set number of sales per week, goals should be agreed by both parties and used to assess time management.

Your Turn

Please let us know in the comments below if you have any questions or comments.

Monika Götzmann

Monika Götzmann

EMEA Marketing Director

Monika Götzmann is the EMEA Marketing Director for MHI Global (formerly AchieveGlobal), a global sales training and customer experience company. It specializes in providing exceptional sales training courses and helps organizations develop business strategies to achieve sales success. Monika enjoys sharing her insight and thoughts to provide better sales and leadership training.

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