In part one of this article, we discussed the importance of prioritizing sales calls to ensure you get to yes. Prioritizing is a recurring theme throughout the sales world, and one critical area involves how sales reps organize their days. Today we will discuss how you can steer them in the right direction.
One of the most valuable lessons sales managers can teach their team is how to prioritize their work flow and commitments. Here are simple strategies anyone can use.
End each day by setting the next day’s priorities. It may be counterintuitive, but the most important thing you do may actually occur the day before you’re trying to increase sales productivity. Think about what you’ve accomplished during the day, and think about what’s coming up. From there, create a to-do list of your top three to five priorities for the next day. With that information in hand, it’s easy to walk into work and immediately know where to dive in.
Do the hard thing first. As the saying goes, if swallowing a frog is the toughest thing on your list for the day, swallow it first. Often, procrastinating on tough things can drain your team’s overall energy levels as they dread doing something. It could be a tough data analysis, a dedicated chunk of cold-calling, or making a call to manage a difficult client. Whatever it is, teach your sales reps to get it out of the way early and enjoy the benefits of not having to stress over it all day.
Evaluate your activities for 80/20 impact. The Pareto principle is simple, but it’s valuable for sales reps to learn. Often, 20% of the activity generates 80% of the value. Understand which activities, customer segments, or ways to approach sales prospects have the highest yield. Take the time to understand how the 80/20 principle works in your own day. With that in mind, sales reps can always tackle the most important 80% first and reap a high return on investment for the energy expended.
Make priorities clear and achievable. When prioritizing your day, it helps if you focus on goals that art simple, measurable, attainable, and realistic. That’s the essential part of prioritizing your day in a way that will net you better results. Writing a book about sales might be a high-level goal, but realistic day-level priorities would look more like “writing an introduction” or “deciding on title options.”
When in doubt, Operation Money Suck. For sales reps who really struggle with prioritizing, it can help to look at what drives revenue. Copywriter John Carlton calls this Operation Money Suck. Spend your time doing what generates cash flow, and outsource, delegate, or ignore everything else. It’s a hard-line attitude, but if you’re faced with a heavy work flow and limited time, focus on what’s going to add to the bottom line.
How you spend your days is how you spend your career. Sales reps with a strong prioritization plan are more likely to generate high-powered results, even with limited time and resources. Priorities are critical to sales; give your team the insights they need to make good decisions every day.