Successful Sales Managers & Time

Pay NOTHING until you meet interested decision makers

According to a recent study on marketing and sales management, the one thing most sales managers would change if they could was the amount of time they have in a day.* 72 percent said they would add some time to their business day so they could accomplish more in their many responsibilities. Successful sales managers learn early on that even a slight improvement in time management can translate into substantially improved sales production. And, more importantly, the proficiency they demonstrate in effective time management is emulated by their sales team.

Anyone who has been in sales for any length of time has been exposed to a plethora of books, seminars and course on the subject of time management, and anyone who has seriously wants to make more time in their day needs to invest some time in these resources. But even after the last notes are taken or the first steps are implemented, a time management plan can easily fall by the wayside with old habits resurfacing unless you have the proper mindset for permanent change. Before implementing any aspect of a new time management approach, it is critical to create a priority framework that enables you to optimize each valuable minute of your day.

Empower your Salespeople

While they are your priority, salespeople can be your biggest timewasters. It’s not uncommon to find successful sales managers micromanaging several aspects of their salespeople’s business, sometimes on a daily basis – checking their numbers, asking about appointments, looking at schedules. However, that’s not the job of successful sales managers. It’s the sales person’s responsibility to make sure they are hitting the numbers and filling their schedule. Your job is to set the expectations and create a system that enables your sales team to hold themselves accountable. As a sales leader, you then provide the coaching they need to achieve the incremental improvements in their activities and production. Sales performance improvement occurs through coaching, not micromanaging which can also be very time consuming.

Successful Sales Managers have a Clean Desk?

Sales managers, who leave behind piles of paperwork and other desk clutter at the end of the day, usually find themselves rehashing yesterday’s priorities when the current day requires a fresh perspective and new priorities. That’s doesn’t mean you shouldn’t leave unfinished business behind, but it should be prioritized in the context of the next day’s priorities. Unfinished business should have its own block of time on your schedule each day or a couple of times a week. Each day should begin with a clear mind, a clean a slate, and a whole new allocation of time.

If it’s Important, it’s not Worth your Time

Huh? Let’s put that in the proper context: It’s easy to get consumed with important things, such as tracking the sales numbers, and, while that needs to be done, it’s not what really matters to you as a sales manager. You can’t develop your sales people by focusing on the numbers. That’s like focusing on the unemployment numbers to determine what’s wrong with the economy. It’s too late to do anything about it. You can’t control the numbers, so they shouldn’t be the focus of your time. But you can control the performance of your sales people through training and coaching. It is almost guaranteed that, when your sales people’s sales performance improves, the numbers will follow.

*”Improving Sales Manager Effectiveness: A survey of Sales Managers’ Time Utilization,” Sales Management Association 2011

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