Sales are rapidly moving from face-to-face to online or to sales with minimum contact. This is the reality of our new normal. And in many key areas, such as pharma, medical products, tech, and media, sales are on the rise. Sales managers have to carefully pick their targets and manage their time and productivity. The best sales managers often have good habits to ensure this.
As the sales function is a key engine and a main driver in most businesses, productivity losses within the department not only impact the organization in question, but also wider economies such as those of states and countries.
That’s why it’s imperative that sales managers focus on improving their own productivity and that of their teams.
Here are five essential time management skills every sales manager can use to boost productivity and put do more deals.
Schedule your core functions
Whether you’re dealing with a last-minute request from management or coordinating your sales team across borders, sales managers must frequently contend with tasks that fall outside of their core responsibilities. That's time that could be spent finding prospects and closing hot leads.
While you should never ignore these tasks, you can stop them from dominating your day by scheduling time for your core functions. Focus on completing your most important tasks within these scheduled periods, then move on to handling non-core issues.
Time blocking helps those who are easily overwhelmed and/or distracted. Apps can help with time blocking.
Take it easy on the email
While email is an important communication tool, it can become a significant drain on your time. Rather than responding to each email as soon you receive it, check your email at a few scheduled times per day – and keep it closed at other times.
This will help you maintain focus on other tasks without the interruption of new email messages constantly popping up on your screen.
And when you are dealing with email, take an action with every mail. Delete it, reply to it, forward it or make a task for someone else, take action based on it, or archive it if it has information you may need. Letting the Inbox pile up will just add to your cognitive load.
Find new ways of prospecting and managing leads
Cold prospecting is the old way, and while it's still a powerful way to reach those whom your inbound marketing won't reach, it has its time and place. But it takes up its time, too. Not to mention the constant rejection.
Better is warm introductions through a go-between person. This may be a friend, someone in your social networks, or someone in your company. Using a tool like Sansan, you can find who knows who and seek prospects without leaving your office (or home).
Check our white paper on this powerfully simple, and quite fun, approach.
Make your staff accountable
While it’s important to support your sales team when required, creating a culture of accountability will empower them to solve some problems on their own without the need to come running into your office.
Also, learning to delegate non-core tasks where appropriate will free up more time to focus on higher-value projects.
Use technology to manage tasks, people, and...sales
Technology can be a sales manager’s best friend. Task management apps (compare them on G2) help you to track and visualize your productivity. Meeting planners such as HubSpot's Meetings can automate appointment bookings and eliminate time-consuming email chains.
Likewise, a business card and contact management tool like Sansan puts an end to the need to manually enter business card details for new contacts and consolidates all your clients’ information in a central database.
As a busy sales manager, you must learn to manage your time better to boost your productivity. This will give you more time for your core responsibilities, resulting in better business for your company.