Salespeople spend most of their day selling. They work long hours, travel frequently, and often miss family events because they’re working.
It doesn’t matter how great your product is if you can’t get prospects to buy from you. In fact, many salespeople end up with fewer customers than they started with.
If you want to increase your sales, then you need to learn how to manage your time effectively. This will help you focus on the activities that bring you the most value.
Salespeople face challenges every day. They need to manage their time effectively to achieve their sales goals. The problem is, that they don’t always know how much time they should spend on various tasks.
A study found that salespeople who spent less than 30 minutes per day on emails reported higher levels of stress and lower levels of productivity.
The same study also found that salespeople who worked more than 60 hours a week were less productive than those who worked 40-50 hours.
So, what does this mean for you? It means you have to figure out how much time you should be spending on different types of activities.
Why Is Time Management so Important for Sales Professionals?
Sales success requires constant juggling of multiple tasks. Time management skills are important for any business owner. Sales aces have mastered and incorporated this into their daily routines
The problem may not be a lack of time but rather how you use it. Time management is crucial to your success as a sales professional, but it is one of the biggest obstacles to overcome.
As soon as you start doing it, more opportunities to close sales will come up, and you’ll be able to complete your tasks, and still have some free time to relax.
Plan Your Day Around Your Prospects
Your time blocking on your calendar for calling prospects doesn’t always match their schedule as well as you think. If your timing is inconvenient for the customers, they won’t buy from you.
Researching your audience before reaching out to them will help you determine the best time to contact them.
Plan your day around customers – know their interests and get to know their routines. Create schedules that allow you to reach them when they’re most likely to buy.
Be Prepared For Everything
How do your salespeople react when things go wrong. The quicker they can recover from missed appointments, failed deals, or product line changes, the longer they can spend working on their core tasks.
Salespeople who are able to think quickly on their feet are good candidates for sales jobs. People who are naturally inclined to be organized don’t let hiccups slow their progress.
Batch Your Appointments Together & Save Windshield Time
Poor time management is the number one killer for outside salespeople. They waste too much time doing things they shouldn’t be doing.
If you’re planning to have a meeting outside the office, consider where else you could meet someone else in that area.
It may seem obvious that you should schedule meetings at times when everyone can attend, but you’ve probably wasted time driving out of your route from one place to another for no reason.
Set aside some time to sit down and map out your territory so you can easily meet with high-value leads and check in on current clients all in the same place.
Use this strategy to kill two birds with one stone by increasing your productivity.
If you can effectively manage your time on the road, you can meet with many more prospects and significantly increase the number of sales you make.
A simple, and efficient, way to map out your territory and plan out where you’re going to drive each day is to use route planning and territory mapping software, like Map My Customer.
Route planning software like Google Maps can help you figure out which route is the best one to take to your prospects and customers, find new prospects nearby, and significantly cut down your windshield time.
You no longer need to manually plan your route!
Have a concise value proposition
Salespeople can waste time during introductory conversations by not asking the right questions.
At some point during every sales engagement, your prospective customer will ask you something like, “What do you do?”.
You need to have crisp, succinct answers to all those most commonly asked questions that you get asked every single day.
If you are prepared, then you’ll have extra time to discuss things you care about and understand how you can help them succeed.
Being able to articulate your value proposition clearly reduces the chance that you will stumble through the explanation.
And the better you are at articulating your product’s benefits, the faster your sale progresses.
Managing Email Smartly
Email can be an incredibly simple and effective sales tool. However, it can also become a big drain on both time and resources.
Salespeople can save themselves a huge amount of time by creating email templates that they use when communicating with clients.
Set up folders in your email so that your salespeople can quickly access information when it’ll be useful. And while you’re at it, review best practices for creating the perfect email meeting invite.
Multitasking is a Myth
Salespeople are probably juggling multiple tasks at any given time.
While this may make them feel really productive and accomplished, the fact is that their quality of work and attention paid to detail will likely suffer.
Our brains take time to switch between tasks, and when we lose focus during this transition, we can really hurt productivity.
To get the most out of your reps, they should be addressing one task at a time, not juggling multiple tasks.
Multi-tasking doesn’t make you a successful, productive sales rep.
Doing multiple tasks at once is not good for sales. Your brain can’t do them both at once.
When you attempt to handle multiple tasks at once, your brain constantly switches between them, taking some serious mental blows as it darts back and forth. As a result, your productivity slows down and drops by 40 percent.
Instead of multi-tasking, consider focusing on one thing at a time.
Take fewer breaks
Do you take too many breaks at work, even though you know you shouldn’t? If your answer is yes, then you need to make some improvements in how you live your life.
You should try to take fewer breaks if your goal is to make more sales. However, it may be difficult to enforce. Don’t get into the habit of taking breaks after every call. A short break (usually, 5-10 minutes), right after every 90 minutes would probably be enough.
Time management is your key to becoming a good, productive, successful, less stressful, and more effective salesperson. Instead of letting your time manage you, learn how to manage it.
Encourage sales Representatives
Sales reps hate doing certain tasks—and yours probably do too.
Whether it’s prospecting, writing follow-up emails, or completing their activities log, the temptation is strong to put off these tasks until later.
Encourage your reps by telling them to get started and finish their tasks.
Let them know that if they deal with them now, they can move on sooner.
Eliminate Non-essential Tasks
Administering tasks may be necessary, however, they can quickly grow to consume a large portion of a merchant’s time.
To maximize your sales reps’ high-gain selling time you need to eliminate, automate, or outsource the administrative tasks they can handle themselves.
It may just be some small savings here and there, but these small savings can quickly add up.
As a first step, see if it makes any sense to hand off some tasks to business development reps or administrative staff in your organization.
Streamline Tasks That Are Repeatable
It’s fine if you don’t like sales scripts. However, you must accept the fact that if your target market is a specific type of customer, then more often than not, they will be similar to one another.
Instead of investing the same amount of time on the same kind of tasks, developing a framework is a better choice.
You don’t need to spend any time doing this – just take a quick glance at your previous wins and note down the things that could be useful for future projects.
It will help you automate repetitive tasks and free up more time for other things.
Use Momentum For Your Advantage
After winning a deal or completing an important task, your sales reps’ first instinct might be to reward themselves with some time off.
However, this seemingly harmless practice is really counterproductive. Instead of taking a short break, it’d be better to keep going and start another call.
Momentum is powerful and hard to come by. Salespeople should use the positive energy and confidence they feel when starting an opportunity to get going right away.
Create, Manage & Follow The Process
If you tend to do all the prospecting work yourself, creating a standardized process for prospecting will help you speed up your process and make things more reliable.
Create a 5-minute routine for yourself that you must follow before you make any calls to prospects. Try this and you’ll be able to get things accomplished quickly and efficiently.
time management software in place and you will be able to get more convenient, productive use out of your time every day.
Start With the End in Mind
People who set goals are 42% more likely to succeed than people who don’t. If you set goals, you’ll be motivated and achieve them.
But not just any goal will work. The more specific the objective, the greater the probability of success. A goal without a specific number and time frame is just a wish.
Setting goals is only part of the equation. Feedback is important, too. You should monitor your progress so that you know how much you’ve achieved and what changes need to be made.
Micro-managing is about the person in a higher position having complete control over everything that happens within an organization.
They constantly manage everything under their supervision from the tiniest works to essential processes.
There’s something to say about a team that needs constant supervision about how to manage its time.
If you don’t trust your team to effectively schedule meetings, perhaps consider your entire business process has an issue — or your sales tools might be inadequate.
Managing your people by micromanaging them will only frustrate you and your entire team, so don’t do it.
If you don’t let your team manage their own time and processes, they may end up with low morale.
Trust your staff to manage their own productivity” Ultimately, this will help you get motivated and committed to succeed.
Trust is a valuable gift you can give your employees
Focus on the 20%
You should be familiar with the Paretian principle (also known as “the 80/20 rule”). Here’s a quick summary:
“80% of sales come from 20% of clients” This means you’re wasting time focusing on tasks that don’t have any impact on your success. Focus on the tasks with the greatest return on investment.
Don’t forget that not every name on your contact list will buy or become your high-value customer.
If you’re spending more than a few minutes on an unqualified lead before you decide whether or not to follow up, you’re not selling – and that’s your job!
The sooner you figure out your potential, long-term customers, the better for you.
Batching, grouping together, time blocking, and batched processing. These are simple practices that can help you become insanely productive overnight.
All you need to do is pull out a piece of paper, group similar tasks together, and dedicate a window of your day to each group.
If you give your mind some time to catch up after each change of activity, you’ll be able to perform better at any task.
Be smart With Time Tracking
Time tracking is pretty obvious when it comes to managing your own time. Most of us don’t realize the habits that waste our time and hence our productivity throughout the day.
time tracking software like Time Doctor, Time Tracker,, etc. can really help you recognize and understand such behaviors.
You can track the time you spend on specific activities, analyze your routine, identify patterns, and adjust your schedule if you often feel overwhelmed by too much to do and too little time to do it.
Replicate Past Success
Replicate what has been working for you so far, or what has been working for you.
Don’t start from scratch with every new business opportunity. Have your salespeople evaluate their own performance by reviewing their won and lost opportunities.
They should be able to create a template for where to send people for new prospects, what kinds of questions they should ask, which case studies are relevant to a specific person, etc.
Get to the NO faster
Chasing the wrong lead (longer than needed) is a waste of valuable time.
Yes, it’s hard to let go of a sale, but think about this: what’s better? Nurturing a viable lead or following a prospect that appears to have little or no chance.
Learn how to spot a dud lead, disqualify leads as quickly as possible, and get to NO faster so that you can make good use of your time.
Create Email Templates
It’s vastly inefficient for you to write a new email every time you contact someone.
You should tailor each message to suit the individual and their situation by creating email templates.
You’ll save a lot of time if you start from a template rather than a clean slate.
Find the emails you send repeatedly by looking through your Sent folder.
That includes not just outreach emails but also follow-up emails, scheduling meetings, recap emails, and so on.
Reduce Distractions Around You
It can be really challenging to stay focused when your favorite time-wasting site has been just a click away.
You know what websites or platforms distract you. It can be Netflix, Youtube, Facebook, or any other website.
To ensure you stay focused, you need to get rid of any distractions without any reservations for yourself. It means being restrictive and hard on yourself.
If you don’t want to use a website for your work, block it using browser extensions.
Keep your personal phone away from yourself that has internet and tons of apps with notifications bombarding you.
If you do sales calls, better invest in a landline or have a secondary phone with no apps, just for work.
Set a time zone restrictive for your work only and do not attend any personal calls or people.
Create Your To-Do List The Night Before
It is best to plan and organize your day when you’re not at work, the best time is to do it right before leaving your office after work or every night before.
So that you can start working when you arrive at the office the next day, you just have to set up your desk, open your calendar and to-do list, and get right to it.
Planning and creating a to-do list when you’re burnt out at night is about making the most out of the time you have left.
As Brian Stacy says “ Every minute you spend on planning, you’re saving 10 minutes in execution.”
Break Down Your Time
The Pomodoro technique encourages people to work in intervals of 25 minutes to maximize productivity followed by the 5 minutes break.
There are similar techniques for working in 90-minute intervals as well that share the benefits of these methods.
You can very well customize the Pomodoro technique by deciding your own duration of sprints that you want to do followed by a break as well.
Breaking down your daily schedule lets you find a rhythm and maximize your productivity.
Track Your Progress Towards SMART Goals
One of the best things you can do to improve your productivity and time management skills is to have something specific you’re aiming for.
Write down your goals before you start. Exactly what you’re trying to achieve.
To calculate exactly how much you want in both your revenue and profit, figure out exactly how much you want to sell and how much you want to earn.
Those who set goals, actively monitor their progress, and adjust their plans accordingly are proven to outperform those who don’t.
Setting specific goals helps you stay motivated and achieve them.
Make sure when you’re writing down your goals, they are as specific as possible. The more specific you get, the better chance you have of achieving your goal.
A goal without a number and timeframe is a wish. Make sure to track and monitor your progress too.
This will help you see exactly how much you’ve accomplished, how much is left until your goal, and what changes need to be made to improve your process.
Eliminate administrative tasks
To maximize your selling hours, look for administrative tasks that you can automate. It doesn’t take long to save a few minutes here and a few minutes there.
Over time, these small savings add up. And as an added bonus, you can redirect more energy toward activities that really challenge you, like giving demos or fielding tough questions.
Todoist, an online task management app, uses artificial intelligence to learn your personal productivity patterns and schedule your overdue tasks for you. It means that the app will figure out when you’re most likely to be productive.
The best tools will vary depending on your industry, daily activities, and specific role. The gist is: Automate as much of your non-selling activities as possible.
Improve Your Organization Skills
Do you often find that you’re searching for something scattered across multiple files and wasting tons of your time?
Next, try using a cloud-hosted file management system that will allow you to keep all your critical sales-related files and documents in one location.
Make sure that you can share files easily, that they’re proofed correctly, and that you can download them without any hassle.
Instead of spending so much time searching for files and organizing them, spend more time getting leads and selling products.
Plan Your Phone Prospecting Around Your Customers
Calling or emailing your prospects when they aren’t interested will get you nowhere. You need to be strategic.
For example, calling an extremely busy restaurant at noon during its busiest time of day. So, plan your mobile prospecting around your customers’ needs.
According to recent studies in general, the best times to connect with prospects and customers are early in the morning or late in the afternoon on Wednesdays or Thursdays.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re emailing, calling, visiting their office, or just sending them a letter—it all works.
You may be aware that there is no perfect time for connecting with your target prospects.
However, if you’re not careful, you could end up wasting a lot of time and money. Look at your buyers’ behavior and the way they spend their time.
Calling at times that aren’t a logical fit in your day won’t yield you favorable results, lead to a lot of unanswered calls, and will just end up wasting your time.
Focus on One Thing at a Time
As we established earlier, multi-tasking is a myth. Let’s explain this in much more detail.
As a salesperson, you’re always juggling many different tasks at once on any given day.
It may feel really productive, but it’s not. Quality of work and attention to detail will likely suffer.
Physiologically, our brains take some time to switch from one task to another. If you lose focus during this time, it can really harm your productivity.
Because of this, when you try and multitask, you lose 40% of your productivity because the brain is always trying to shift gears and focus on one task at a time.
To get the most out of your day, focus on one thing at a time.
Another way to do this is to group similar activities into categories so that your brain doesn’t have to switch around all over the space.
For example, take phone prospecting. One way to approach cold calling is to make a phone call, leave a voicemail, write an email, and send it, record the activity in your CRMs, set a new activity in your CRM for your next follow-up with that prospect, and then move on.
It would be a lot of jumping around in your brain and would take a lot of time to accomplish. Instead, break it into smaller pieces:
- Call each prospect and give them personalized voicemail messages based on your research.
- Don’t spend too much time logging calls in your CRM. You should quickly move on to the following prospect on your list. Repeat your list every day.
- After sending the email, set the date in the CRM when you want to send another email to the prospect.
- When it is time for a sales call, pull up the prospect list you’ve researched.
- Grouping activities like these will help you focus on one activity at a time, which will lead to a higher volume of calls during each session and will improve your chances of actually talking to someone. And this means more opportunities for you and your sales teams to earn more money.
- During scheduled admin time, revisit the list of prospects you called earlier in the day and send out the follow-up emails in a block of times.
- If you’re going to spend all your time calling people and leaving voicemails, figure out how many prospects you could reasonably call within your allotted time period. Research that many prospects beforehand so that you can plan for your dial time.
Don’t Procrastinate What You Can Complete In Two Minutes
It’s known as the two-minute rule. If something will take less than 2 minutes, just do it!
You need to do it right away. Don’t schedule it for later and don’t build up a tedious to-do list!
David Allen, the famous Getting Things Done author, recommends using this rule of thumb: If you don’t know where something is, put it in your inbox.
If you’ve got a client who wants you to send them a copy of one of your previous case studies, don’t wait until later—just open it up and send it now.
There is a downside to this strategy, however: We’re all subject to something called “completion bias,” which means we like the feeling of checking items off a list.
If we make our whole day focused on lists, it’ll be easy to check off the easy things, feel a sense of achievement, and then look back at a whole day spent on busywork.
But – and it’s a big but – many simple tasks just don’t deserve the energy that’s expended on them.
Once we start treating these tiny tasks like projects, they become magnified exponentially.
Recognize The Power Of Saying No
The longer you spend pursuing unqualified leads, the fewer opportunities you have to close deals on your qualified ones.
While we’re encouraged in most areas of our lives to be optimistic and look at the bright side, in sales, you’re better off looking at prospects more pragmatically.
Instead of letting one good quality lead you down a path of endless calls, emails, follow-ups, and more, disqualifying the lead and moving on is a better way to go.
If someone says “no,’ take it as a victory because your schedule has been improved.
Checking Your Email Too Much Is A Time-Waster
This is something you already know. In fact, we all are guilty of this! Checking email constantly is the number one time-suck for salespeople across industries, so they need to stop doing it.
Checking your email is not only a waste of time, but it also distracts you throughout the day.
Don’t worry if you don’t immediately know how to solve every problem that comes up. You’re not in operations; you’re in sales.
Salespeople who check their emails too often are wasting valuable time. It’s both a waste of time and also breaks your concentration during the day.
Don’t worry if you haven’t solved every single problem in the very first five seconds that it’s presented to you.
People who take pride in always responding quickly to emails actually have nothing to be proud about. They’re just wasting their time.
Check your email no less than three times a day.
Track Your Time
The first step when it comes to managing your own time is to figure out where your time goes.
Most people don’t realize that they’re killing their productivity.
If you’re struggling with too much to do and not enough time to accomplish it, the best way for you to get it under control would be to acknowledge and understand your own habits. You can track your time by logging your activities.
Use an app like Togggl to track specific tasks. If you think the time has gotten away from you online, use RescueTime to get back on track. If sprints and breaks suit your workflow, Pomodoros can help.
After a week, it should become clear which patterns are working for you. Analyze your log and figure out where you can become more productive, and then adjust your activities accordingly.
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Carol T. Mahaffey is a certified American Author And a creator of Theleaderboy. Carol is a Self-Taught Marketer with 10+ Years of Experience. She brings her decade of experience to her current role, where she is dedicated to writing books, blogs, and articles, inspiring the world on how to become a better Leader.