Looking for ways to be more efficient and effective in your sales and marketing efforts? From eliminating time-wasters to accelerating the sales cycle, these tips will put you on the path to improved sales success for the rest of the year.
When reading these tips, write down two or three on a sticky note, and make them visible during your workday. Begin incorporating them into your daily work habits right away. You will soon reap the sales rewards that come from working smarter – not harder. Ready…?
1.) Focus on ONE Thing at a Time.
It has been proven that multitasking does not work well. In fact, it is a drain on productivity.
- The Issue:
- Reduced Productivity: Research has shown that multitasking can reduce productivity by as much as 40 percent! Because your brain can really only focus on one thing at a time, when you think you’re multitasking, your brain is really just switching back and forth from one thing to another. NOT the best use of your time.
- Short-term Memory Issues: To make matters worse, multitasking can cause short-term memory issues. The result? If you attempt to read an email while talking on the phone, you will be less likely to retain or recall details of either one later on.
- The Remedy: Instead, be mindful about how you spend your time and work to reduce multitasking. Organize your time. Take a block of time every day to tune out distractions – ignore the phone, turn off email and text alerts. You’d be amazed at what you can accomplish when you eliminate all the “noise” for an hour or two.
- Create Work Sprints: Take the first item on your prioritized to-do list and spend an uninterrupted 20 minutes completely focused on that task. Do not check email or answer the phone during this time. When the 20 minutes is up, take a 2-minute break. Get up, stretch, get a drink of water. Then, repeat the process one or two more times to really dig into your work at a highly focused level. You’ll be shocked at what you can complete during these uninterrupted time blocks.
2.) Plan your Work and Work your Plan.
Not enough time in your day? You could be wasting time and energy on unnecessary or “low priority” tasks. You can’t do it all, so you must prioritize your work accordingly.
- First, list all of your to-do’s for the day, then prioritize your list into “urgent” versus “non-urgent.” Estimate how long you think each task will take and double it. (We always underestimate the length of time required for tasks.)
- Make the list visible… Write down key assignments on a whiteboard near your desk to stay on track.
- Ask yourself: What is the highest and best use of my time right now? Time wasters melt away when you hold yourself accountable in this way.
- Reduce Multitasking – (see #1 above!).
- Be flexible to accommodate changing priorities.
- Avoid perfectionism – don’t spend an unnecessary amount of time on any one thing. Set a timer if you have to.
3.) Make Meetings Count.
Corporate meetings can eat up all your time if you let them. Use meetings wisely by following these tips:
- Is it necessary? First, determine if a meeting is really needed. Meetings are a major distraction from work and should not be the go-to method to discuss, debate, and resolve every issue. Of course, today things are a bit different due to working-from-home and the use of Zoom meetings to just reconnect with people. But, still be judicious in the time and nature of all meetings.
- There’s no such thing as a 1-hour meeting. Think of it this way: If you’re going to call six people to a meeting, then that is actually a 6-hour meeting. Ask yourself, “Is this meeting worth the six hours of lost productivity?”
- # Attendees? If you decide you do need to schedule a meeting, how many people should attend? Bob Fritsch and Josh Peck of Bloomberg recommend the following rule of thumb:
- – Brainstorming: 20-35 people
- – Discussion: Fewer than 20 people
- – Agreement/Alignment: 6-14 people
- – Decision making: 3-6 people
- Meeting Length? Optimal length of a meeting is 45 minutes to 1-hour maximum. If you must have a 2-hour meeting, break it into two 1-hour meetings with a 15-minute break to refresh people’s focus. (Remember: Research shows that people naturally begin to lose focus after just 45 minutes!)
- Always have a meeting agenda. An agenda ensures the meeting stays on track and within the time allotted for each agenda item. It provides clarity and controls discussion flow, increasing the productivity of the meeting. Assign a meeting timekeeper prior to the meeting who will be responsible for adhering to the agenda and the allotted meeting time.
4.) Accelerate the Sale.
By accelerating the sales cycle, you will free up time to close more deals. How? Create a sense of urgency, and be sure to work with decision-makers early in the process!
- Ask the prospect, “What is it costing you to NOT implement this solution?” Identify the key issue(s) the customer seeks to resolve with your solution. Probe to uncover details of their situation to understand exactly what pain or need you can help resolve. Now, help them understand the cost of doing nothing. Translate “waiting” into dollars and cents to create a real sense of urgency.
- What will happen if their competitor(s) implements your solution first?
- If they are putting off the decision to buy, ask them specifically what will change in 60 or 90 days that will bring them closer to a decision at that time.
- Use budget cycle and/or quarterly deadline incentives.
- Always work with decision-makers early in the sales cycle! This is critical. Otherwise, you will waste your time speaking with an influencer who will “sell internally on your behalf,” creating a L-O-N-G sales cycle that may never close. Don’t go down this rat hole. Find and work with decision-makers early. Ask, “Is there anyone else involved in making this decision? What does the decision process look like? Are there others we can include in these discussions?” (P.S. If you need a list of decision-maker contacts in corporate training & HR, Mentor Tech Group has exactly what you need.)
- Remember, enthusiasm is contagious. Always demonstrate enthusiasm and full conviction in your solution. This alone will greatly accelerate the sales cycle!
5.) Schedule Time for Cold Calling.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed with daily to-do lists that take up all your time and energy each day, leaving no time for cold calling. This is why you MUST schedule time for cold calling each week…or it will NEVER get done!
- One or two mornings each week, sit down at your desk and DO NOT open email for at least one hour. Simply open your CRM system, and begin making outbound cold calls. This is sometimes the only way you will fit in these critical calls.
- Follow up each call with a quick email. Set up email templates in the system for this specific purpose to speed up your activity.
- Set a goal to reach out to at least 10 people via phone before you move onto your next action of the day.
- Remember this: NOTHING can replace a cold call. Nothing. You can run all the reports you want; you can have numerous meetings, analyze data, etc. But in the end, there is absolutely NO activity that replaces picking up the phone and making an outbound phone call to a qualified target. So get to it. Schedule it. This time is non-negotiable.
If you don’t have enough qualified decision-makers to call on in your target market, WE CAN HELP! We have connections to some amazing list resources, so please reach out if we can help in any way.
- Write down several of the tips above and make them visible throughout your workday.
- Pin them to your bulletin board, tape them to your desk, and make them a recurring “to-do” reminder.
- Start each day with these in focus.
Contact SunStream Group today for a free consultation to explore ways to improve your sales or marketing results. We’re here to help, whenever you’re ready!