Time Management for Salespeople

Let’s face it. 100% of your time is not spent in sales presentations. The truth of the matter is that there are many different activities that go into making a sale. You have to prospect to keep your sales funnel full. In complex sales, you need to get to know the players and establish a relationship. You need to log your activities in Saleforce.com or other CRM systems. You need to return phone calls and check the 200 unread emails waiting for you in your inbox.  You have weekly sales calls with your team or one-on-one calls with your manager. There’s travel time. There’s mandatory company training. Lunch. And more.

4 Tips for Better Time Management

All these activities can become overwhelming, if you don’t have a plan. Here are tips in 4 areas of Time Management for Salespeople to help your sales team manage their time more effectively.

Outlier sales calls

Sales calls can mess up your whole schedule quickly if they’re not managed. The biggest culprit is the outlier sales call. You know this call, it’s the one visit that is on the fringe of your territory. It’s a 3-4 hours to drive. And doesn’t seem like it’s always a small opportunity? Instead of seeing this call as a 6-8 hour travel investment to make a deal that had better be worth it, see it as an opportunity to visit others. Do you have other clients in the area? Why not stop in, but have a purpose to the visit. Bring a cheat sheet. Drop off info about a new offering. Meet the new owner. Discuss training options.

If you have no clients in the area, then turn it into a prospecting road trip. Check the route to see how many prospects are on the way. Contact them and map them out in advance of your trip. Salesforce.com offers various mapping tools to view your prospects and accounts visually on your Smartphone or iPhone. Even if you don’t secure a sales meeting, you can introduce yourself and set the stage for a future meeting. Now that sales call to one outlier account could multiple into opportunities with 4 of 5.

Scheduled prioritization

Most sales people can honestly say there are “dead days” or “dead times-of-day” when getting in front of a prospect is next to impossible. Use this time to get your other sales related tasks done and remember to assign time limits to these tasks. If your mornings are dead, use this time to cold call and set up appointments – from 6am to 11am. If no one gives you the time of day on Fridays, use it as your office day – check and submit your deals, go through emails, complete expense reports, return all those non-prospect phone calls. There will be exceptions, when you schedule a sales visit on an “office day”, but it’s far easier to manage exceptions than have everything working in disaccord, and taking far longer to complete than it should.

Use your resources

Top reps know they can’t do it all, especially for complex sales, and they lean heavily on their resources. If you have an account manager who takes care of the day-to-day tasks with your clients, then let them do it. If you have various product specialists, leverage their expertise in your sales calls. Bring them along, or join them in by webinar or by phone. Be sure to stay in the loop, so you don’t lose track of your prospect. Use your sales support team to answer any questions you have, instead of trying to find the answers yourself. Listen and take notes during team meetings or kickoff events. Presenters are usually informing you of tools that are out there that can help you in your job. Make note of which ones to use when, and where to find them – or at a minimum, of the person who can get you the tool.

Managers – survey your team

Sometimes a sales person needs outside time management help. Here are some benchmarks from a recent CSO Insights Sales Optimization Survey on time spent on various sales related activities. See how your team measures up. Create your own benchmarks. And don’t forget to share with the whole organization, not just sales as many other departments contribute to the sales process and sales productivity.

Sales Time Management today – where is time spent?

41% Selling by Phone or face-to-face

24% generating leads and researching accounts

19% meetings or administrative tasks

16% on other tasks – service calls, training, etc…


Authored by Yvette Montague, Director of Salesforce.com at SalesForce Training.

SalesForce Training & Consulting is a professional services firm and Salesforce.com training firm based in Toronto, with training centers in Boston and Chicago, helping sales teams get the most from their CRM program…and their prospect/client interactions.