We’ve all been through it: attempting to meet our all-important sales targets while wading through an ever-growing stack of paperwork and administrative tasks. Both need attention – but how do we prioritize them?
You have stumbled upon an age-old challenge that plagues most salespeople.
So, how did we get here? The issues are rooted deep in corporate cultures, where sales managers are expected to multi-task, juggle priorities and over-deliver. However, as sales managers we need to ensure that our main priority is keeping the ‘sales’ in our sales culture. As sales guru Dean Mannix would say, “if we don’t sell, we don’t eat.”
So how do you manage your priorities? I found myself asking Dean that very question a few weeks ago.
Here are a few techniques they suggested my team put in place, which has led to an immediate improvement:
- Plan for tomorrow – End each day by writing out tomorrow’s priorities so you have a clear understanding of how you need to start your day. You’ll be surprised how simply listing your priorities will clear your thoughts, lead to a great night’s sleep and kick-start your day each morning.
- Set realistic goals – Set realistic goals for every week, month and quarter and be proud of your accomplishments. Setting unrealistic goals and being overly critical will lead to frustration and demotivate you.
- Set a specific time of day to focus on selling – Lock yourself in a quiet room, close your email client and dedicate time and energy to connecting with your key accounts or top prospects. By eliminating distractions you enable yourself to enter a state of “flow,” which is when you complete your most productive and highest quality work.
- Set a designated time for administrative tasks each week – Set aside time every week to focus on administrative tasks. To avoid unnecessary distractions, pick a time that your prospects are usually not available. Grouping these tasks together will often save time and frustration and allow you to focus on selling.
- Track off-task behaviours – Each week, keep track of administrative tasks and off-task behaviours that are competing for your selling time. If you are honestly struggling keeping up with the demands, use the list as a structure to discuss your challenges with your manager, who can prioritise your responsibilities or find you the help you need. Two of the greatest characteristics of a leader are knowing when you can’t do it all yourself and being able to ask for help.
As sales managers we also need to ensure we are not enabling our salespeople to procrastinate and make excuses. So from today forward, I challenge you to consider enabling your team to be more productive part of being a successful sales coach.