The last day of the month or quarter is not a good day to invite a sales rep to lunch. Why? Because chances are they’re scrambling to close all the deals they can in order to make their number. And the sad truth is that some will fail.
I’m generally calm on the last day of the month, and recently (not to brag) I beat my quota during a quarter where I took more than three weeks off.
How did I do it? I attribute a lot of my success to running a rock-solid sales process. In addition, during my time in sales, I’ve picked up a variety of helpful sales hacks and tricks that keep myself (and my deals) on track.
If you’d like to take a vacation without worrying about your number, you might consider implementing a few of the following into your sales process.
1) Shorten your meetings.
Time is the most precious resource a salesperson has. There is a misconception that reps should stay on the phone with a prospect as long as it takes to get the sale.
I used to use every minute of an hour-long meeting talking to the prospect. While it was great for that prospect, I gave myself no time to prep for my next call. I would jump from call to call, all day long, and then stay late every night doing my admin work.
After I realized that this process wasn’t working, I shortened my calls to 45 minutes. I even bought a timer to keep myself accountable. Once I heard the timer beep, I would end the call -- period. Then I’d use the remaining 15 minutes as follows:
Not only does this save me time, it also helps me have better conversations with my prospects since I research and refresh my memory immediately before picking up the phone. This also means I start all my meetings on time -- no more calls bleeding into other appointments.
2) Split up your inbox.
Reps deal with a lot of email, and it can be difficult to keep everything straight. But when prospect requests start slipping through the cracks, you know it’s time for a change.
It might seem counterintuitive to set up more inboxes for yourself, but I swear it works. By enabling multiple inboxes in Gmail, you can bucket emails in any number of ways. I personally like to categorize by messages that have to be answered today, this week, or this month. Nothing falls through the cracks, and I don’t feeling like I’m about to crack up every time I open my email.
3) Label your emails.
Enabling multiple inboxes is helpful, but this hack takes email efficiency one step farther.
I also use labels to classify my emails as “hunting” or “farming.” This helps me prioritize what I need to read and respond to first, as well as what approach I need to take in my messages.
If you focus on one area or the other, these labels might not work for you. But I would encourage you to take advantage of this secondary classification system in whatever way would be most helpful for your situation.
4) Pin tabs.
As a sales rep, there are 3 browser tabs that I spend 80% of my day in:
For tabs you want to keep open all day long, pin them in your internet browser of choice to both minimize the amount of space they use and ensure that they automatically open each time you open your browser. You’d be surprised how much time you waste by logging into the CRM and closing it out a thousand times per day.
5) Use the right tools.
Thankfully, we live in an age of technology and sales automation. I don’t even want to think about what my job would be like if I had to do everything 100% manually.
But on the other hand, not every sales tool actually makes reps more effective. The key is to find the collection of apps that empower you instead of bog you down.
Here are the sales apps I swear by:
You Can Book Me: This calendar scheduling tool allows prospects to slot a meeting with me at a mutually convenient time. It completely eliminates the annoying “Does this time work?” back-and-forth email mess.
Slack: Not every question justifies an email. For clients/partners/prospects you communicate with frequently, set up a Slack channel for those quick one-off queries and updates.
HubSpot Sales: Did your prospect miss your email or are they ignoring you? Get real time email open notifications, for free.
HubSpot CRM: Keep all your deals and contacts organized in a centralized location.
Foxclocks: Get a mini toolbar showing the local time in all the regions within your territory. Never send your buyer an email at 3 AM local time again.
Momentum (Chrome extension): Keep your focus squarely on your top priorities with a visual reminder. Motivation is everything in sales.
These are a few of the hacks that have worked for me, but I’m always open to learning and trying new things. What tactics speed up your sales cycle and improve your effectiveness? Share them in the comments.
Originally published Oct 5, 2015 8:00:00 AM, updated February 11 2017