Make the most of your day with super time management skills
Time management is one of the foundational skills every sales rep needs to master.
Before you roll your eyes and think, “Yeah, I’ve heard that one a million times,” consider this: Good time management skills are vital if you want to succeed in anything, not just sales.
Life isn’t supposed to be one endless run on the hamster wheel. When you learn to manage time and tasks well as a sales rep, those skills translate into other areas and can make your entire life better. Here’s how to wield that power like a pro.
What is Time Management?
Let’s start with what time management is not. It’s not a fruitless “herding cats” pursuit where you try to cram every task into the limited amount of time available in a day. Rather, it’s a set of processes and skills that make it possible to organize and plan intelligently. You come to an understanding of how to allocate your time to high-priority activities with the goal of reaching specific objectives.
What Are the Benefits of Time Management?
Learning time management basics before you step into a sales development rep role unlocks some pretty cool benefits:
All of this contributes to better outcomes in every area of your job. You’re more focused, so you contact more prospects, move them through the pipeline faster, and close more sales. That means more commissions -- and more revenue. It’s a positive feedback loop that makes your boss happy and has some pretty good perks for you, too.
How to Ace Time Management Without Stress
Now that you know why time management is important and not just some cliché experts like to throw around to make it seem like they have it all together, it’s time to put the relevant skills and processes into practice.
Don’t worry: It’s not overwhelming, and you don’t have to bend the time-space continuum to make it work. You just need to follow a few basic tenets of sales time management.
Learn to Plan
Making the most of your time starts with well-defined goals. As a sales rep, you have targets to hit each month, which contributes to the larger goals of the company. Then there are your personal and professional aspirations, like getting a raise or being promoted to a higher position.
Create your plans for each month, week, and day around these goals. Use the hours where you’re most productive to knock out the biggest, most demanding tasks, and plan your sales calls around your prospects’ schedules to avoid conflicts and delays. Once you have a basic plan, translate it into specific to-do lists so that you have a specific focus for every day.
Recognize Real Priorities
How do you know which tasks should be at the top of your to-do list? Here’s a hint: Anything that contributes directly to accomplishing your goals should get done first.
In sales, this often means making calls and following up in pursuit of closing deals. Study your sales pipeline to identify the most promising prospects, and make them top priority. Honing in like this removes the false sense of urgency that tells you it’s imperative to call everyone and do everything right now and lets you focus on closing sales.
Say No to Pointless Distractions
Distractions are the arch nemeses of time management in sales. Some of the worst include:
The bottom line here? Don’t do more than one thing at a time. Stick to your daily plan, and use a time management app to block your biggest productivity killers (like those TikTok videos…).
Streamline, Templatize and Automate
This three-in-one tip tackles the question of how to be organized in sales from several angles. A lot of the tasks SDRs do every day are related, like making calls, sending emails, and recording or updating client data. You can make it all go faster by:
With more tasks running in the background and fewer incidences where you have to reinvent the wheel to get something done, your days will start to roll along like those tumbleweeds in old Westerns (only with much more purpose and direction).
Take Real Breaks
You know that moment around three in the afternoon when it starts to feel like your computer screen punched you in the face? That’s the signal it’s time for a break.
A real break, not, “I just finished this thing, so now it’s time to check my email/scroll through Facebook/laugh at those TikTok videos.”
A real break means gets you away from work and screens to take a walk, stretch, grab a coffee, or chat with a coworker who’s also on break. Unlike context switching, taking breaks helps you stay more alert and productive, so give yourself wiggle room in your schedule for brief moments of refreshment throughout the day.
After a few weeks of planning and prioritizing, you’ll realize you can’t do all the things. It’s just not possible. And part of learning sales time management is giving yourself permission to not feel guilty about leaving a few things undone.
Nothing is 100% predictable, so there will be days when you get thrown off or just can’t manage a full workload. When that happens, reorient your priorities for the next day and keep moving forward.
While these tips can be a big help, keep in mind that time management isn’t something you learn overnight. It’s a process, which is why it’s smart to start learning now, even if you’re not in a sales role yet.
SDS Sales training is here to help you master time management and other essential skills you need to succeed as an SDR. Check out our Sales Leadership Training Course and YouTube Channel to get a head start on acing time management skills and becoming the most productive sales rep -- and the most productive person! -- you can be.