There are things you can’t control in sales.
You cannot control volatile markets, the economy, competition, unpredictable regions, product releases, and dodgy customers who change their minds.
But there is one thing that you have complete control over – your time. The good news is that the way you spend your time will have the biggest impact if you reach your quota.
How do you make the most of your time? Here are the main areas to focus on.
Let’s start with amazing stats – most salespeople spend a fraction of the day selling.
In an 8-hour day, do you know how much time a typical rep spends actively selling?
Ninety minutes, according to the latest research.
However, there are many non-sales activities that must be completed such as:
- Reply to email.
- Talk to a field partner or vendor.
- Entering notes into CRM.
- Research questions.
- Build a new spreadsheet.
- Writing suggestions
- Make sales reports
- Even honing your skills, which is one of the most valuable ways a salesperson can spend their time.
The key is to make sure you still devote a good part of your day to it Actually sell.
How can you focus more on selling? straightened out.
I’ve found that blocking time on your calendar is the key to creating a proactive selling space. That is why I highly recommend all delegates to ban non-negotiable “energy hours” three times a week where you focus solely on mining.
Here are the rules I encourage reps to follow when scheduling these power hours:
- First, despite the name, I recommend scheduling 90 minutes, not an hour. Ninety minutes is the magic number that you can pay attention to in any one task, without having to take a break.
- Choose a time that suits your prospects. What time are your prospects likely to be available? Schedule it then.
- “Non-negotiable” means exactly: You must do it. Learn to say “no” tactfully to requests and interruptions such as meetings, calls from sales partners, or last-minute requests.
- Set up everything – CRM, scripts, jobs, email templates, whatever – Before of these energy hours. This time it’s not about looking busy, it’s about real nose-to-floor drilling.
- Advertise this time and tell everyone about it so you don’t get off track. Soon, who knows – others may follow suit.
If you stick to this at least three times a week, you will see results within a month.
Proactive and strategic planning for your territory is key.
Exploration is a numbers game. The higher your prospects, the larger your pipeline.
However, the ideal actor gets paid by setting the right goals. This makes strategic planning for your territory equally important.
I recommend designing a quarterly district plan that you revisit and revise often. What should this plan include?
- Top 25 accounts in your area. Who are the people you want to communicate with the most?
- Area summary and overview. What macro trends are affecting your area?
- Trends and early adopters. Who are your target customers who have adopted your solution early on?
- Competitive profile and market share. What does the competitive landscape look like in your area? Are you ready to respond?
- Basic SWOT analysis. Do an analysis of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and where you might be shocked. You should do it for yourself as well, and write down your strengths and weaknesses to guide your development.
A daily tactical plan that keeps you focused. This is what your day could look like.
And then, there’s your tactical plan. Unlike your strategic plan, which focuses on who you sell to, your tactical plan focuses on what you need to do to build a stake.
For example, let’s say you start meaningful conversations with 15% of the people you send InMail to on LinkedIn. Of those beneficial conversations, 20% close, and your average position size is $10,000 within three months.
This means that for every 100 InMails you send, you’ll close $30,000 in business within three months. If your share is $90,000 for a quarter, that means you should send 300 InMails.
This is a bit simple, but you get the idea. The goal is to break down all the actions required to reach your number, broken down by week or day.
Here is an exact example of a tactical plan:
- 75 outgoing calls per day
- 5 high-level, meaningful conversations daily
- 50 new email submitters per day
- 5 presentations/web per week
- 5 new calls to partners per week
- 3 conference calls per week
- 3 new quotes/proposals per week
The point is, if you can get really clear about your numbers, you can start making better predictions. Not only will this give you more peace of mind, but it will also make you a more consistent seller, which is what sales leaders look for most.
One word to the wise about these tactics – be conservative in your equations and round the number. This way, the baseline is your stake. And if all goes well, tell the family to pack up to Bali.
In my experience, good actors do one of these things. The best actors do all three.
I’ve met actors who are genuinely enthusiastic, who can smile and call all day. They may not even know who to fish for, but they hunt relentlessly, multiplying their numbers that way.
This is great, but these delegates are generally not good forecasters and not as strategic in their time as they should be. For this reason, they are valuable, but they often cannot be promoted and tend to boom and bust.
Conversely, I’ve seen other actors who are master planners. They can tell you all about their region, market conditions, your particular product, and the latest trends, time and time again. They know when to cut their losses given the low odds.
But they don’t pick up the phone and call. This can be very frustrating because while they have all this great information in their head, they just don’t get carried away.
The best actors commit to trying something new every day to make better use of their time. They are tough, and they show the grit it takes to be a great salesperson. But they also have a clear picture of their territory and have a strategic business vision and sales tools of their own.
They really understand what it takes to get to their number, and therefore they are very reliable.
These are the delegates who ultimately have long and successful careers, moving up to the management level if they so choose. You can become one of those delegates – it really starts with controlling your time.
Are you looking to become a better actor? Check out my new course on LinkedIn, inside sales.