For sales reps, chasing unpromising leads can be like choosing to record a TV show on your DVR that you know you’ll never watch. It seemed like a great idea to start recording that new documentary series on NOVA, but you’re probably going to spend most of your time watching Breaking Bad anyway.
Your DVR only has so much space to record shows, and your team of sales reps only has so much time in the day to make calls and pursue opportunities. You don’t want reps to waste valuable time on a lead that isn’t going anywhere, or forget to nurture new leads and let the sales funnel empty out. Bad time management is the cause of both of these problems, but there is a way to help reps perform more efficiently and effectively.
So how can sales managers improve their team’s time management?
Analyze your team’s daily activities
Sales reps need to be making the most of each day, and not be overwhelmed by a full DVR of shows waiting to be watched. The first step in improving time management is looking at an activities report to show exactly how your sales reps spend their time each day. You can track the number of dials, connects, meetings and demos set up each week, month, or quarter. More importantly, you can see which rep’s activities are leading to the most deals.
By analyzing this information, sales managers can coach reps to adjust and adapt their activities to make more efficient use of time every day. Look at your top performers and find out what mix of actions makes them so effective at moving opportunities from call to demo to deal. Then, you can turn to the reps that are falling behind on their numbers and help coach them to success. If one rep is just not making enough dials each week to close a high percentage of deals, you can help her improve performance and watch more shows on that DVR.
Don’t waste dials
Did your rep spend too much time on the phone with someone without purchasing power? Is this deal languishing for weeks and going nowhere fast? One of the best ways to manage time is to prioritize the best deals and know when to walk away from a hopeless opportunity. A bad lead is like a show that you’ve decided isn’t worth watching. You gave it a couple episodes, but it isn’t holding your attention. Rather than continuing to waste valuable space on your DVR, it’s time to cancel the series recording once and for all.
Unpromising leads in your sales funnel need to be purged like bad TV shows. You can look at the data to see, historically, how a won deal behaves in comparison to a lost deal. The data may show that won deals usually take about 10 days to close, whereas the deal your rep has been working hard this week has been open for more than two months. Based on that information, you can tell the rep to move on and focus on a better, more promising lead that they have a greater chance of closing.
Feed the funnel
Another time management pitfall is focusing too much on deals at the bottom of the funnel. It’s tempting for reps to focus the most on these leads since they will see the most immediate results. But if your sales team doesn’t work enough new leads at the top of the funnel, you run the risk of falling short of sales goals in the near future when your reps have no new opportunities in the pipeline. This is like watching all the shows on your DVR, but not recording any new episodes next week. If you have no shows recorded, very soon you’ll be stuck watching live TV and commercials.
Sales reps should devote at least one day a week to top of the funnel activities, to make sure the DVR is never empty. As a sales manager, you can set expectations so that reps make these funnel-feeding activities a part of their routine each week. Once your entire team focuses on funnel building, you’ll see how quickly the sales funnel can grow. And with more opportunities in the pipeline, your team will have more chances to close deals.
Don’t make resolutions to organize your sales team and your DVR, and then let it all get backed up again in a few weeks. By prioritizing effective sales techniques each week, your team will save time and be able to close a higher percentage of deals. Focus on the great shows, delete the garbage and always make room for new recordings.
Get your reps and your DVR in order, and your sales team will be ready for prime time.