Sales time management: 5 effective tips

5 tips to improve your sales time management

Alexis Lecomte
14 January 2022 - 4 min reading
Updated March 14, 2024

In theory, we all have the same amount of time available to complete our tasks. But why do we often feel that we don't have enough? Do others find it so difficult to use it wisely?

Don't worry: the reason why time management is such a hot topic is that it affects everyone. The good news is that many people have started to address the problem!

First of all, we do not see time passing in the same way: when we need it, it escapes us... but when we want to kill it, it stops. To tame time, let's not let chance triumph: let's be methodical.

As a salesperson, you need to structure and organize your time to fit as many appointments as possible into your diary, while remaining productive and prioritizing the most decisive actions. Similarly, as far as possible, you should avoid multi-tasking to maintain your concentration... and leave yourself time to recharge your batteries and maintain optimum efficiency throughout the day!

On paper, it can be summed up in a few lines... but how do you put it into practice?

Get ready to kick out your stubborn habits, however comfortable they may be!

To achieve this, we repeat: be methodical and implement an action plan. That way, your situation will improve fairly quickly, and you'll enjoy extra motivation, energy... and commercial success!

I have 2 minutes of my time

How do you organize yourself as a salesperson?

Below you'll find details of 5 time-saving tips. But if you're in a hurry, here's a summary of our tips:

  • Determine the impact of your actions: Focus on the tasks with the greatest business impact. Use Pareto's law to identify the 20% of efforts that produce 80% of results, and prioritize these activities.
  • Treat all your tasks as projects: Each task should have a clear objective, specific actions, deadlines and allocated resources. This turns a list of tasks into a coherent, manageable set of actions.
  • Establish routines: Identify the activities that have the greatest impact on your business success and turn them into daily or weekly routines to maintain a constant work rhythm.
  • Define your limits: Learn to say "no" to less important requests so you can focus on your priorities. This is crucial for effective time and resource management.
  • Plan your schedule: Organize your weeks and days in advance, allocating specific time for each task or activity. This helps avoid wasting time and keeps you focused on your goals.

For field sales forces specifically :

  • Prioritize your daily tasks: Start with the most important and urgent tasks, using task management tools to stay organized.
  • Plan your routes: Use applications or GPS tools (integrated into Sidely) to optimize your trips and avoid traffic jams, saving you time and improving efficiency.
  • Use a CRM management tool: A CRM is essential for tracking customer interactions and effectively managing your sales pipeline.
  • Take breaks: Regular breaks are necessary to maintain your energy and concentration throughout the day.
  • Stay positive: A positive attitude is crucial to overcoming challenges and staying motivated. Focus on making progress towards your business goals.

I have 8 minutes of my time

Examine your time management for a week

Before you can change your habits, you first need to identify them! To do this, you need to answer a simple question: which business activities take up the most of my time?

Is it sales tour planning or optimization?

Is it data collection in the field? Or writing reports after appointments?

For one week, divide your time into one-hour blocks and, at the end of each hour, record your progress. This will help you understand how much time each business activity takes up.

To help you, time management applications and tools allow you to easily measure the time spent on each of your tasks. The Pomodoro method is a good example.

At the end of your week, take stock:

  • What have you achieved?
  • Where did you waste time?
  • Which tasks took longer than expected, and why?

On this basis, you can then understand your areas for improvement, set yourself objectives, and reorganize your weekly schedule. You can, for example, dedicate the most time to the most time-consuming tasks at the times when you were least disturbed.

This method of time optimization is the most effective because it starts from your needs, not from a supposedly miracle model. Build a schedule that suits you.

Reduce your low-value tasks

Time management is often complicated by a host of less useful, even counterproductive tasks that pollute your day. To improve your efficiency and get out of this vicious circle, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you focusing on the wrong prospects? Stores?
  • Do you have to deal with too many administrative tasks?
  • Do you have to dig through your emails to find the status of your cases?
  • Are you taking enough time to recharge your batteries and be ready to make more informed decisions?
  • Are you spending too much time on non-business tasks?

Take time to formulate your answers so that you remember them. Getting a reminder at those times when you feel that time is slipping away is often beneficial. You'll be back on track in no time!

Spring clean your schedule

The challenge of time management goes far beyond productivity gains. In the face of increasingly tough, multiple and creative competition, staying one step ahead is vital.

Don't see this imperative as additional pressure... but as an opportunity to gain greater control over the course of events. You'll regain control and serenity, not the other way around. Define your priorities.

Your priorities are twofold:

  • optimise your time;
  • improve the quality of your customer exchanges.

To do this, structure your week around a solid base and leave a little time to deal with unforeseen events and emergencies. At the best of times, you'll be able to breathe. The rest of the time, you're always a winner: you'll have new opportunities to make the difference with your customers!

A little flexibility in an orderly environment is the key to success...

Draw up a schedule and follow through on your objectives

Do you know how to start your day? If you don't, you'll find it harder to get started. Don't leave room for improvisation. Once again, define your priority tasks and sales actions.

The evening before, take a few minutes to review or draw up your To Do list. You'll be psychologically prepared for these tasks, and will approach them with greater confidence.

Know the best times to talk to your prospects. This infographic reveals that WeNDesdays and Thursdays are the best times to call, usually between 11am and 12pm and 4pm and 5pm. This is usually the slack time of the day when people are juggling tasks, so it's not surprising!

For your existing customers, you usually have a clearer picture of their work patterns. Focus on regularity for your recurring points: they will facilitate the development of your business relationship.

These highlights of your week will help you plan the rest of your time and establish weekly routines that will make you more efficient! Organisation is your best ally and will quickly save you from the unexpected as you will have more aspects of your day under control.

Make your productivity a priority: a commercial approach

Prioritizing is essential to gaining priority. You know this, of course... So how do you go about it?‍

Take care of your links with your regular customers

Do you know what your clients like about your approach? Do you have a clear idea of whether they want to continue with you? What offer would make them really happy to take the next step with you?

Probe their intentions, carry out real investigative work to anticipate their desires. They won't leave you if you make their lives easier, especially before their next problem arises. By anticipating your customers' needs, you'll see increased customer satisfaction and a positive impact on your recurring sales performance.

Prioritise effortlessly with your CRM

Efficient monitoring of your sales activity, guided by a dedicated tool, will save you an enormous amount of time. You'll be able to dispel any doubts you may have when planning your rounds, because you'll know exactly who to contact, when and how. You'll also find all your data on a dedicated platform, so you won't have to waste time recording the information that makes all the difference. An appointment cancelled at the last minute?

Dive into your data to bounce back immediately and not waste that precious time.

Thanks to your CRM, you can immediately distinguish the stores and prospects you need to mobilize, the prospects you need to convince and the customers you need to follow up. Model your tour plan to map out the most direct route to sales success... Technology is on your side, so take advantage of it!

Bonus: The power of habits... and more

You have probably heard of this book, a bestseller on the personal development shelves. Its promise: change a little to change everything.

It's a nice promise: a minimum of effort, if done right, will hit the jackpot. Everything counts: take care of your sleep by moving away from screens an hour before bedtime and getting up at regular times. Your body will quickly get used to this rhythm and waking up will soon seem more pleasant. Take the time to prepare yourself, don't be in a rush because you will already feel like you are running out of time.

Look after your physical condition too: a healthy mind in a healthy body - that's your mantra! Here again, don't put too much pressure on yourself. In this day and age, we're driven to control every aspect of our lives, as if it were self-evident. The important thing is to aim for this "healthy lifestyle" while still enjoying doing what you love. Don't chase after a lifestyle that doesn't suit you, embrace the one that does. In any case, give yourself special time to do what you love.

Life must remain a game, otherwise it's not much fun.

Think of podcasts, walks or just the pleasure of discovering something new to take your mind off it. And if it doesn't come to you right away, persevere and let the unexpected surprise you... Remember:

A little flexibility in an orderly environment is the key to success...

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