The average salesperson spends just one-third of their day actually selling -- the rest of their time is spent on data entry, content creation, and administrative work. To crush your quota, you need to reclaim your time.
Fortunately, you can do that without staying later or getting in earlier.
Most reps waste hours every day on distractions, inefficient processes, and unnecessary tasks. Eliminate these eight common time-wasters -- and free up more than four hours of your day.
1) Diving Right Into Your Work
Cost: 30 minutes
It might feel efficient to sit down and immediately start working, but this will cost you precious minutes throughout the day. Before you tackle a single task, create a game plan. How many meetings do you have, and how much preparation will you need to do for each? Are there any deals you should prioritize? Where will you fit in important but non-urgent projects, such as posting content on LinkedIn or catching up on industry news?
With a plan in hand, you’ll have an easier time staying focused and transitioning easily from task to task.
2) Calling Your Prospects at the Same Times
Cost: 5 minutes
According to InsideSales.Com founder and president Ken Krogue, most sales reps make follow up calls at roughly the same time every day.
This strategy may be easier to plan for, but in the long run it’s typically a waste of time. If your prospect didn’t pick up the last three times you called them at 9 a.m., that’s probably not the best time to reach out. Try calling at different times to improve your odds of reaching them.
3) Writing Down Too Many Notes
Cost: 7.5 minutes
Research from Krogue and his team also shows the average rep spends seven and a half minutes taking notes after a call.
“Many reps recorded unimportant information,” Krogue adds.
Stop writing down irrelevant or extraneous information. Review the notes you took for your last five deals. Which information came in handy? Which information was already recorded automatically by your CRM (like the content you sent your prospect or the date you scheduled for follow-up)?
Once you’ve refined your note-taking strategy, it’ll take less time to wrap up after calls.
4) Manually Booking Meetings
Cost: 20 minutes
You ask your prospect if they’re free on X date and time. They say no and suggest an alternate date and time. Unfortunately, you’re busy then -- can they do Y date and time? If you’re lucky, they’ll say yes, and you schedule a meeting and send them an invitation. If you’re unlucky, the cycle continues for a few more emails.
Interactions like these are time-consuming, inefficient, and annoying. They’re also unnecessary: Tools like the Meetings app in HubSpot Sales Pro let your prospects instantly book time on your calendar. Skipping the back-and-forth is more convenient for everyone. As an added bonus, removing the friction from the process makes your prospects more likely to schedule meetings.
5) Leaving Your Cell Phone On Your Desk
Cost: 25 minutes
Is your cell phone close at hand? If so, you may want to consider turning it on silent and pocketing it. A study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance revealed that simply hearing your phone buzz more than triples your error rate.
It’s neither fun nor productive to redo your work because you messed it up the first time. So do yourself a favor and keep your phone out of sight (and hearing).
6) Allowing Distractions
Cost: 120 minutes
Minor distractions add up to a huge chunk of time. Every time you drop what you’re doing to check your phone, answer a Slack message, read social media notifications, or talk with a coworker, you’re not just losing four or five minutes -- it takes the average person 23 minutes to re-focus after a single interruption.
Over the course of a day, you waste roughly two hours being distracted and recovering from those distractions.
Eliminating interruptions takes some discipline. If your team uses Slack or another internal chat system to communicate, turn on “Do not disturb” while you’re in the zone. Politely shut down talkative coworkers by saying, “I’d love to talk, but I’m actually in the middle of something,” or “Let’s catch up later -- I’ve got a call I need to prepare for.” Switch off desktop notifications for Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks, and consider programs like RescueTime or StayFocusd to block time-wasting sites.
7) Typing Out the Same Emails
Cost: 20 minutes
Do you get the same questions from your prospects over and over? Instead of typing a new response each time, use the templates feature in HubSpot Sales to create email templates. You can instantly grab your standard reply, adapt it as needed, and send it off.
Answering your prospects will take half as long as usual. Not only will you have more time, but they’ll appreciate the quick response.
8) Not Having a Plan B
Cost: 20 minutes
Prospects frequently don’t show up to scheduled meetings. Whenever they flake, you’re left with a gap in your schedule. Make sure you have a productive way to fill it -- it’s better to do something than sit and twiddle your thumbs. Some of the most productive reps I know keep a running list of small tasks for situations like these. As soon as they realize their prospect is a no-show, they’ll start on their list.
Working hard is important, but so is working smart. Don’t simply chug away each day -- spend your time intentionally.