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Practice Management > Marketing and Communications > Social Media

3 overlooked productivity tips for sales reps

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It’s always about time, isn’t it? We have a choice on how we spend it. We can waste hours immersed in social media, sending emails, and surfing the Web.

Sounds like fun, but it’s not the way to excel in sales. More often than not, it’s a waste of time and has nothing to do with engaging our prospects and customers.

Sales leaders have always known that top sales reps engage in open, honest conversations with their clients. They make the time to build solid, long-lasting relationships, and they continue to expand their professional networks.

Now there’s proof.

How should your team spend their time?

“If salespeople have 15 hours available to spend with customers in a week, focusing that time on five accounts at three hours each, rather than 15 accounts at one hour each, is likely to lead to better outcomes.” This is what VoloMetrix CEO Ryan Fuller wrote in a recent Harvard Business Review article.

His company conducted a study that asked respondents: What behaviors drive successful salespeople? Using six quarters worth of data on thousands of sales reps, VoloMetrix identified the behaviors that most highly correlated with outstanding KPIs.

The top three answers include:

  • More time spent with customers: Top performers spend up to 33 percent more time with customers per week. Depending on the company size, this amounts to two to four additional hours.

  • Internal networks: Top performers have 30 to 40 percent larger networks within their companies, meaning they regularly interact with 10 to 20 more people.

  • More time spent with sales leaders: As Fuller puts it, “Generally speaking, more exposure to senior leadership correlates with successful sales outcomes.”

Fuller then goes on to suggest four simple changes that could turn mediocre sales reps into top performers. (Read the rest of his article for more.)

My best productivity tip is: I do what’s “closest to cash” first every day. This could mean writing a proposal, following up on a referral, scheduling a meeting with a prospect, caring for current clients, or chatting with potential referral sources.

Yes, I spend a little time checking email and social media, but when my timer pings at 30 minutes, I sign off. I used to clean out my inbox every day. Not anymore. Unless an activity contributes to building my business, it’s a waste of my prime business hours. I can research, read, and listen to podcasts and webcasts when (or if) I have time.

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