Categories Articles, Sales and Marketing

What does a successful quota-carrying sales rep do every day? It’s no shock to learn that the best reps in the business are incredibly focused, organized, and clearly plan out each day with a set goal in mind.

Here I wanted to share what I believe to be some highly-effective activities of my team’s best Inside Sales Reps. Keep in mind that every day is different and this is just a generalized example, but these are the types of sales activities you’d want to see your sales reps do throughout their week. There will always be breaks in between meetings and this isn’t a representative of each day, day-in and day-out. A number of these examples are based on my personal experiences throughout my sales career both as a quota-carrying sales rep at IBM and as a sales executive running OEM Sales at Acronis, as well as global sales at StarWind Software and here at InsightSquared.

Oh, and by the way, you may be surprised to see a 5:30 am wake up below and I certainly can’t expect everyone to wake up that early but I like to remind everyone what Benjamin Franklin said, “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”

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The Day of a Highly Effective Sales Rep

5:30 am –

Wake up, get a good workout to get some energy for the day, have breakfast.

7:00 am –

Get into the office early. Begin to plan out my day. Understand my appointments for the day and create a plan for each. Prepare thoroughly. Review the opportunities in my sales pipeline that I need to work on to hit my number this month.

8:00 am –

First call of the day – a discovery call. Talk to the prospect about her business pain, what her challenges are and understand if our product can solve her headaches. Ask questions. Listen actively, talk less and listen more. Schedule next steps and a follow-up call before getting off the phone.

9:00 am –

Take this time to write a follow-up email (the Champion Letter) to the prospect I just spoke with, summarizing the main takeaways and confirming the business pain and that we can indeed solve it. Summarize the next steps too, including a calendar invite confirming the upcoming meeting. Input the notes and data from the call into, including all the information necessary to track my opportunity’s progress. Then move onto preparing for my next call at 10, researching the new prospect and reviewing what I need to accomplish.

10:00 am –

This is my first product demo of the day for an interested prospect with whom I did a discovery call last week. Start off the call by asking a number of questions confirming his business challenges. Begin to present only those aspects of the product that directly link to solving those business pains. I don’t talk about features and I don’t offer random things hoping that they stick. I only work off of the responses of the prospect, showing the relevant aspects of the product and explaining how they solve the pain points mentioned by the prospect. I end the call by discussing next steps, and scheduling the next meeting with the prospect if he’s interested.

11:00 am

As I do with all of my calls, I write a follow-up email to the prospect, again summarizing what we discussed and confirming what we agreed about the next steps. And obviously, I input all my notes into Salesforce. If during this call we met the exit criteria of the opportunity’s current stage (per our sales process), then I will change the opportunity stage in the CRM. Now my forecast will apply a higher probability of % Win Rate from this stage to Closed-Won, and the expected value of my forecast for the month is higher. I feel the day started well.

11:30 am

I do a quick review of my personal sales forecast for the month, taking a look at how my opportunities are progressing down the sales pipeline so far. I assess which opportunities should have stages adjusted in the forecast because they will close sooner, or later, or won’t close at all. This helps me know my business, and not knowing your business is the cardinal sin in sales.

Also, I notify my manager of the changes to the forecast based on my previous call, as I want to communicate this in real-time. I never want to surprise my sales manager with news at the end of the month, whether good or bad.

Learn More About the Metrics Sales Reps Must Track»

12:00 pm –

Grab lunch with others in the office. I never eat lunch alone, so I catch up with people from marketing and product to see what’s happening across the company. Sales is a contact sport and I am all about connecting with people in the office too (after all, it’s important for teamwork and who knows if someone can refer a friend as a prospect). After a 30 minute lunch, I also take a stroll outside to catch some fresh air, break up the day, and get ready for the second half of the day.

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1:00 pm –

For an hour, I focus on strategic prospecting activities. Prospecting for quota-carrying reps is different than what junior Sales Development Reps do. This is not just cold calling – I prospect by calling existing customers to check on them and ask for referrals. I also do some social selling through new connections on LinkedIn. Finally, I reach out to my Closed-Lost opportunities and try to revive them. This type of prospecting is necessary because my quota is entirely my responsibility and – whether I get enough marketing leads or not – I will prospect hard to hit my number.

2:00 pm –

I have a call to work a late stage opportunity. We are getting closer to the finish line on this particular opportunity and will be discussing the prospect’s buying process and doing a final negotiation. During the call we discuss who puts pen to paper and if their CFO has any remaining questions about pricing so that’s not a blocker for us. We also cover any legal questions in our Terms & Conditions document. The prospect keeps asking for a discount throughout the call, but I explain we don’t give unilateral concessions. In the end we negotiate a win-win by giving a little discount in return for a prospect signing up for not just one, but three years. Finish the call with solid next steps to ensure the deal is closed before the end of tomorrow.

3:00 pm –

Meet with my manager for personalized, one-on-one sales coaching. This session is focused on improving my product demo skills. My manager listens to a recording of one of my demos, we analyze what went well and what could be improved. We role play. We discuss the next session, which will work on a different sales skill. We also immediately schedule the next sales coaching meeting next week. My manager and I spend at least a few hours a week in coaching meetings, which are in addition to our team-wide training. These coaching sessions are extremely helpful and I prepare for them each time so that they can help me become more effective in my job.

4:00 pm –

I get a copy of a new eBook from my marketing team, which has great thought leadership that will be interesting to my prospects. I forward it to many of my new prospects because my philosophy in sales is “Always be Helping” and I try to educate them to build bonds, rapport and my own credibility as a trusted adviser. This strategy helps me win deals.

During this time I also help a new sales rep who had some questions. I enjoy helping others on my team – we have a great culture, great chemistry and we learn from each other.

5:00 pm –

I join the entire sales team in a group training session on this week’s topic, which is about new product features and how to position them in our demos when needed. These training sessions are different from coaching and it’s another tool in our sales toolbox to help us be more effective as sales professionals.

6:00 pm –

Finish up a few odds and ends before I leave for the day. I take time to analyze what happened over the course of the day, review my own sales metrics and then I head home.

8:00 pm –

At home, after dinner, the work hasn’t quite stopped. I pick up a book from the list of the top 10 sales books from 2014. The most successful sales professionals are always reading to educate themselves and improve their game. I never stop learning. I want to be the best in my job.


As you can see, a successful sales rep is always planning, always strategizing, and always learning. So what does your day look like?


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Showing 19 comments
  • Louis Gudema

    Interesting. Surprised more time isn’t customer facing, especially during the second most useful time to reach prospects, the 4 pm and later slot.

  • Jay Smith

    7am – 6:30pm? Doesn’t sound like much of a work/life balance whatsoever. I think you just described the day of someone who will soon be incredibly burnt out, miss breakfast with family, and rarely catch dinner with them either.

    In my opinion, to be a successful sales rep, you actually shouldn’t be putting in such hours. You need to be calm, refreshed, and focused at the right times… and working 55+ hours a week will take away from that and burn you out. Sales is high octane… and we need a daily balance just as much, if not more, than most other types of careers.

  • Zorian

    Hi Louis, thank you for bringing this up and allowing me to clarify. This blog post is meant to be about quota-carrying Inside Sales Reps who sell over the phone and typically do not go to customer-facing meetings.

    Additionally, these are “quota-carrying ISRs” so they are not the ones doing cold-calls and thus don’t need to optimize for the most effective times to dial out. Thus majority of their meetings are pre-scheduled, these are appointments with prospects over the phone so they are not cold-calling. However, as for prospecting time at 1pm then this time is OK as well and, as mentioned in the blog post, it’s not a cold-call but “Strategic Prospecting” to existing customers, to previous prospects with whom the ISR already has a relationship, etc.

    Hope that clarifies it and apologies if it wasn’t more clearly laid out above.

    Thanks again,

  • Zorian

    Hi, thank you for your comment.

    You’re right and if this was a real-life scenario then this rep would not have a good work/life balance but, as I wrote in the introduction above, this is merely a fictional blog post that is just meant to demonstrate variety of effective activities all squeezed into a day but which would typically not be done back to back the way this example shows.

    However, with that said, a lot of the Inside Sales Reps I’ve managed in the past are typically ones whom I hired right out of college and they are in the very early stages of their careers and indeed put in many hours each week. I myself typically work 60+ hours each week (although I am not suggesting this for everyone and it’s my own personal approach).

    Indeed, as Jack Welch once said, “There is no such thing as work/life balance” (

    Thank you,

  • Trish Bertuzzi

    If you could write a version of this for women who are married with children and work full time as successful sales reps I would hug you!

    PS – How do you get the customers and prospects to fit so neatly into your time slots? Just kidding…

  • Zorian

    Justin, good question. This is actually a blog post about “quota-carrying reps” who are presumed to do fewer dials and more conversations/meetings that were already scheduled for them by a separated team of SDRs who are the ones measured on actual calls per day rather than on running sales cycles (qualifying opportunities and closing deals). Thus quota-carrying reps are not measured on calls per day while their SDR counterparts are (but that’s a separate blog post).

    Please let me know if this clarifies your question.


  • Zorian

    Hey Trish, yeh, I agree and that is a challenge. This goes back to that Jack Welch quota that there really is no true work/life balance. Even excellent time management skills will only help a partially.

    PS – to your point indeed customers and prospects don’t fit so neatly into time slots in the real world …but fortunately they fit very conveniently in a blog post 🙂


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  • Lewis Preston

    As a person that is new to sales, I found this information to be insightful. I look forward to reading more.

  • Justin

    What’s wrong with 55+ hour weeks? If that’s what it takes to be successful and to be the best there is nothing wrong with that.

    The article is geared towards people who want to be the best. Not for the avg performers.

    If you’re passionate about what you do then you don’t get burnt out.

    Sales is high octane but it’s also about results.

  • Danny Tremblay

    Thank you Zorian. Even if it could look challenging as you said, I think that it demonstrate your introduction description “incredibly focused, organized, and clearly plan out”

    I think the learning of your post, as for ANY other frameworks, cookbooks, out-of-the-box solutions, even very technical stuff like server installation, er even life realities like children education, we should use it to guide us, inspire us, makes us find the way to integrate, or not integrate a part of it.

    Ask any good chef, the don’t follow recipe, they don’t even follow their own recipe! They change it as time goes. As for their crew, even if the chef wants them to follow the recipe, again, it depending on the context, the chef will be glad to see initiative of its crew he make the recipe a success.

    So may you be a chef, or a teammate, I would say, read, learn and take what you think is good for you, don’t be a robot! Work what fits for you, listen to you and your environment.

  • Jason Withers

    With current technologies all of this could be accomplished at home thus not missing any family time nor would it interfere with running errands. I love it!

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