According to Miller Heiman 2003 Sales Effectiveness Study, over 60% of sales organizations are being pushed to increase results with reduced budgets and fewer salespeople compared to last year.
If you’re in sales, this statement doesn’t surprise to you.
Simply put, the current business climate demands you work smarter, not harder. It’s about being organized enough to put your best foot forward in order to close business. Sales pros rarely disagree when I say that time management is not only important, but a critical core competency for being successful…in any profession, but especially in something as self-directed as sales and sales managers need to be.
When I break down the most important components of this need, here’s what I find:
No matter what else, focus daily.
Your time management habits need to include the ability to focus in order to proactively identify what’s important in any given day, week, month or quarter. It’s not about working with any customer or prospect, but the right customer or prospect. Otherwise, you’re wasting time and opportunity.
The ability to focus quietly each day also helps you become creating in solving those challenges you ultimately run up against. Protect this time on a regular basis.
Also read: How to Create Flow at Work
Shifting priorities and demanding workloads have become the norm in most organizations. Being able to shift quickly can mean gaining the competitive advantage you need. But it also can leave an employee feeling confused and overwhelmed.
To remain flexible, re-visit your priorities several times during the day. Try working on them first thing in the morning BEFORE getting into your email. This approach is effective but difficult to develop a habit around because we tend to place a sense of urgency on email. Take a step back and focus on your priorities first. Every day.
Your system and process.
Selling is a process. It requires being effective (doing the right thing) and efficient (at the right time) and that’s what time management is all about.
But the first rule is to overcome personal disorganization. How do you handle incoming information? Is the pile on your desk stressing you because you fear something might have fallen through the cracks? Can you access electronic and paper-based information quickly and easily? Paper and time management are interconnected, so a roadblock in one area usually leads to a challenge in another one, so taking the time to develop a system and stick to your process is critical.
If your systems and processes are already in line, ask how you can make them even better because little shifts can make a huge difference in improving productivity and results, while reducing stress levels.
Hope is not a strategy
‘Hope is Not a Strategy’ is one of my favorite book titles. The sentiment is also true for improving your time management and productivity.
Action is what makes the difference. Doing something that moves you forward helps you feel you have more control of your day and your workload. Just thinking about doing something is…well…a hopeful state. But it’s not a strategy. If all else fail, get an accountability buddy and help each other stay on track in taking the actions you need.
Don’t’ be a slave to poor time management habits. They’re in your control…just sell yourself on taking the actions you need to reap the benefits you can experience!