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Time Management for Sales: Boosting Productivity and Closing More Deals

If you find your to-do list constantly growing while you struggle to juggle meetings, we’re here to help with the best practices for time management for sales! No matter if you’re a sales representative or a sales manager, we’ll unclutter your calendar so you focus on what you do best: closing.

In this article, we’ll show you a strategic way to manage your time (while ensuring nothing slips through the cracks).
 

The Foundations of Time Management for Sales

As a sales professional, your time is precious. The more efficient you are with your time, the more sales you can make. However, the average working professional spends 51% of their time on low-value tasks.

So, how do you make sense of your ever-growing to-do list?
 

Step 1. Prioritizing Your Tasks Is the First Step to Powerful Time Management for Sales

Make a list of tasks that need to be done and prioritize them based on importance and urgency. Focus on completing the most important tasks first. We recommend using the Eisenhower matrix to help you make sense of urgent vs high-priority tasks.

Consider the following questions:

  • How much revenue will this task generate?
  • How urgent is this task?
  • How much effort will this task require?

 

Constantly keep your eyes on the prize. Will this task contribute towards meeting your quota or your OKR goals for this quarter? If not, and if it won’t negatively affect them, deprioritize it.
 

Step 2. Configure Your Availability and Work in Time Blocks

Configure your calendar so you always have time blocks for focus time or your lunch break. If you use external schedulers like Calendly, configure your availability so others can only book you when that suits you.

Plus, tools like calendar apps, task managers, and email filters can help optimize your workflow. If you often perform repetitive tasks like forwarding documents, all of those can be automated within your CRM or with the help of external tools.
 

A Note on Time-Blocking as a Way to Improve Time Management for Sales

One of our team’s favorite ways to handle time management for sales is time-blocking. Instead of handling tasks as they’re thrown at you, set aside dedicated blocks to handle different types of tasks. For example:

  • 8:00 AM – 8:30 AM: Morning Routine (check emails, review schedule, prioritize tasks)
  • 8:30 AM – 9:00 AM: Prospecting (research and score potential leads, make cold calls, send introductory emails)
  • 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM: Follow-up Calls (reach out to existing leads, follow up on previous interactions, engage)
  • Mid-Morning Break
  • 10:30 AM – 12:30 AM: Sales Meetings (conduct meetings with clients/prospects or vendors)
  • Lunch Break
  • 1:00 PM – 2:15 PM: Proposal Creation (draft proposals for potential clients, customize presentations, organize opportunities)
  • 2:15 PM – 4:00 PM: Sales Administration (update CRM, respond to emails, administrative tasks, reviewing dashboards)

 

Whenever you change a task type, you’ll experience a context switch. Your brain will require more time to refocus, so avoid switching from emails to admin and then back to meetings.

Additionally, pay attention to when you feel the most focused and schedule your highest-priority tasks for that slot.
 

Apply the 80/20 Rule

Identify the minority of tasks that generate the majority of your results. The 80/20 rule is also known as the Pareto principle.

Focus your efforts on the 20% of activities that yield the highest returns. Typically, this is nurturing high-value leads, strengthening client relationships, or refining your sales pitch.

Of course, sometimes you have to get rid of the tasks standing in your way to be able to perform the revenue-generating task. For example, in order to strengthen client relationships, you might have to log your Gmail or Outlook emails to Salesforce.

It’s an annoying task, but you have to do it – right?

Actually, no. Here’s what we mean:
 

Automate Routine Tasks

Find tools and build automated workflows to eliminate tedious tasks that prevent you from focusing on sales. In our example above, syncing email and calendar data from external providers to Salesforce, there is a simple tool:

Match My Email.

Match My Email syncs your O365 or Google Workspace data directly into Salesforce. And, unlike Einstein Activity Capture, the storage is permanent.

You’ll be able to map conversations directly to Salesforce records, as well as use the information in your reports.
 

Salesforce Appexchange Reviews
 

Match My Email’s permanent storage also allows you to create Flows and use the Process Builder to automate, for example, sending proposals and follow-ups, or assigning specific types of leads to reps that specialize in them.

Interested? Explore Match My Email.
 

Step 3. It’s Okay to Say No

Sometimes, saying no is the best way to manage your time. Don’t take on more than you can handle, and delegate tasks when possible. Your attention should always be on the tasks that drive the most revenue. Everything else, delegate or schedule for the lowest-priority time-blocks.
 

Setting Smart Goals for Sales Success

When everything is a priority, nothing really is. The route to better time management for sales starts at the goal level. In this article, we’ll use SMART goals: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound objectives.
 

Identifying Key Sales Targets to Help Manage Your Time

To set smart goals, you need to identify your key sales targets. These targets should be specific and measurable. For example, instead of setting a goal to “increase sales,” set a goal to “increase sales by 10% in the next quarter.” This goal is specific, measurable, and achievable.

To identify your key sales targets, analyze your sales data. Look at your past sales performance and identify areas where you can improve. Spot any patterns or bottlenecks. If aspects of your sales process block you from reaching your target, add them as a sub-task.

Not only will this help you manage your time, but it’ll also give your team a boost of energy at the start of the quarter.
 

Establishing Realistic Timelines for Improved Time Management for Sales

Once you have identified your key sales targets, establish realistic timelines. For example, if you are a new business, it may not be realistic to set a goal to increase sales by 50% in the next quarter.

Instead, it’s much better to start with the current obstacles and then set a goal such as: “Increase pipeline size by 25%.”
 

Time Management for Sales: Boosting Productivity and Closing More Deals
 

Consider factors such as your resources, market conditions, and competition. You should also break down your goals into smaller, manageable tasks. This will help you stay on track and not get, as we like to say, “side-quested.”

SMART goals will keep you focused, so you know what to prioritize and what to cull. However, regularly review and adjust them according to your forecasts.
 

How to Handle Distractions Preventing You from Efficient Time Management for Sales

The plan looks good and the priorities are clear. But what happens when you battle-test your new approach, only to see dozens of Slack pings, an inflow of demo requests, and troubleshooting this quarter’s projection?

It’s time to handle distractions!
 

Triage New Tasks to Maintain Efficiency in Time Management for Sales

Suppose you’re a sales manager and the following tasks land on your plate out of nowhere:

  • Task 1: An urgent request from a key client for a customized product demo scheduled for later today.
  • Task 2: A Slack message from a team member reporting technical issues with the CRM system that’s impacting sales data accuracy.
  • Task 3: A request from the marketing team to provide feedback on a new sales collateral template designed to target a specific industry vertical.
  • Task 4: An email from the finance department requesting updated sales projections for the upcoming quarter.

 

In this scenario, you would triage the tasks as follows:

Firstly, you’d delay Task 3 and Task 4 for consideration. It’s not highly time-sensitive and can wait until you deal with Tasks 1 and 2.

Then, you’d first focus on Task 1. Prioritize preparing for the customized demo to avoid the potential opportunity from slipping your grasp. Once you’ve assigned the demo to the right person on the team, it’s time for Task 2.

Since Task 2 can create significant sales disruptions, you’d address the technical issues with the CRM system by contacting engineers.

Finally, since Tasks 3 and 4 won’t affect your revenue if not solved within 24 hours, you’d schedule time to review the collateral and update the projections.

Suddenly, you’ll go from four urgent tasks to only two.
 

Managing How People Reach You

While Slack pings and incoming requests are unavoidable, managing communication effectively can help prevent overwhelm.

Set specific times during the day to check and respond to messages. Give yourself focused blocks of time for deep work without constant interruptions.

Similarly, be clear on what they can reach out to you for randomly and what should be discussed in a stand-up meeting at the beginning of the day. If it’s not urgent, ask your team to share their requests with you during that time, so you can prioritize accordingly.

In some of the startup environments we’ve worked in, the busiest managers even had incoming request processes. They’d ask other team members to fill out a quick form detailing their non-urgent requests.
 

Tick-Tock!

Sales is a hectic field, but it’s a wonder what a few time management strategies can do! If you start with prioritization and stick to your time blocks, you’ll find that most “fires” don’t really require a whole fire department, but just one small extinguisher.

When things get hectic, remember your foundations:

  • Start with your business goals
  • Break them down into manageable tasks
  • Use the SMART framework
  • Automate everything you can
  • Apply time-blocking in your daily schedule
  • Manage how and when people can reach you
  • Triage any incoming requests

 

And finally, remember to disconnect. When the day is done, give yourself a treat, kick back, and relax!

Try Match My Email today.