To advance in the world of sales, productivity is the name of the game. You need to consistently make the most of your time in order to pull in the big deals. If everyone knows that being productive is so important, then why are some people more successful at it than others?
It all comes down to knowing what real productivity is. Many of the tasks that fill the work day aren’t doing anything to improve your performance, but they create the illusion that you are working hard and getting ahead.
These are the three ways that you might not be working up to your full potential. But don’t worry, staving off those productivity killers isn’t as hard as it might seem.
1. Doing the Wrong Jobs
It might seem like the most productive people on a sales team are always busy, so you might do whatever you can to always be working on something. While this certain makes you busier, it doesn’t mean that you’ve made a savvy choice.
The trick is that the most productive people aren’t doing unnecessary tasks. They quickly decide which jobs are in their own wheelhouse and which ones should be tackled by somebody else. Then they pursue their assignments with total focus.
Delegation isn’t just the purview of executives. Sales reps at any level can make better choices about whether a job would be best handled by an assistant or a person in another department. It’s not shirking your work to recognize those situations. Quite the contrary. If you spend your time doing the things that would be better suited to a customer service rep, then you aren’t doing the best thing to help either your company or your client.
Say an existing client has an issue with your company’s service. They’ll probably get in touch with you, since you were their contact through the sales process, but you’re not trained in customer service. That client could have a routine question that your support team could remedy in minutes, but if you try to work it out yourself, you’ll take much longer. That’s not the best use of anybody’s time.
2. Sales-Adjacent Tasks
Most frequently, the tasks that you’ll want to distribute to other people on your team are ones that have no bearing on sales. But like any profession, sales reps do need to shoulder some tasks that aren’t directly related to what they do best. Closing a deal requires some preliminary steps. You need to research prospects, drive to visit potential customers and prep for phone calls. And then there’s email. Obviously, when you hear from customers, they need a prompt and thorough response. But it’s easy to get buried in your inbox, and maybe check out that funny link your colleague sent over, and then spend an hour watching YouTube videos.
These are all necessities, but they shouldn’t monopolize your day. They are all sales-adjacent tasks. If you spend too much time on the periphery, you’ll lose focus on making sales and your performance will start to suffer. We recently wrote about the best times for sales productivity.
3. Administrative Busywork
It’s easy to create a false sense of activity by taking the analog approach to tools that are available digitally. For example, if you want to see a report tracking the percentage of your deals that closed in each of the past six months, you could spend hours with a calculator and an Excel spreadsheet crunching the numbers yourself. Or you could take time to reorganize your file folders and desk, trying to bring order to the piles of paper that dominate your work space.
Just as with the sales-adjacent tasks, administrative work isn’t the thing you were hired to do. Don’t get bogged down on those jobs. If you’re really stuck, we wrote about 5 easy ways to be more productive at work.
Combat the Killers
The fastest way to see if you’re stuck in a bad situation is to put a clock on your day. Make a list of everything you do in a day, and how long those tasks take. An honest work diary will quickly show your habits, good and bad. Be critical of what you see, especially if activities that aren’t directly part of sales are monopolizing your time. Once you understand how your average day goes, you can start taking steps to ensure that every day is a productive day.
A great way to boost your productivity is to have a tool that helps keep your focus on sales. For example, my company, Base can help sales reps fight all of these productivity killers. With the Tasks feature, you can collaborate with teammates on any assignments, both large and small, that crop up over the lifetime of a client relationship. You can also keep a close eye on all the jobs that are your responsibility, such as followups and meetings.
Sales productivity software also helps those sales-adjacent tasks take less of your time. Your CRM lets you keep notes and research about any client or deal in a central place. This also makes Base a great approach for dealing with unneeded administrative tasks or busy work, by storing and digitally updating your information. Plus, the best CRMs can automatically generate reports, taking the work load off you and your colleagues.
Don’t let your sales game falter. Get the tools to make you ten times more productive.