There has never been a better time to be obsessed with productivity. Startups and veteran companies are churning out tools to help with time management and to-do lists. Some businesses are even encouraging their teams to observe mindfulness and learn about zen practices in the name of productivity.
As a sales rep though, when to work and actually sell vs. when to focus on admin and other tasks is tough to know. Tools like Base help eliminate mundane tasks like data entry so you can focus on selling and research has revealed some patterns for the best times to close deals.
According to Pace Productivity, on average, selling hours add up to 10.8 hours per week or just 22% of the work week. This is quite surprising to sales managers who expect their reps to be actively selling for at least 50% of the time. The reality though, is that other activities like travel time, customer service and administration infringe on selling time.
So what can you do to make sure you’re focused on sales productivity at peak times?
Know Yourself (and Know Your Work)
Working is sales does require keeping to a general schedule, but you might be surprised how much range you have within the usual 9-to-5. And depending on your company, even night owls might be able to have some flexibility about making their best hours their most productive ones.
Start with a little self-reflection. Consider your energy arc during the day: are you raring to go at sunrise or do you kick into high gear in the afternoon? Do your best, most inspiring ideas come to you during the day or in the wee hours of the night? What do you tend to do in the times you’re not being productive during work? When do your breaks in concentration occur?
It might even be worth looking at a bigger time frame. According to a survey by Accountemps, human resources managers ranked Tuesday as the most productive day of the week, while Thursday and Friday were the least productive. Is that how you operate? Or is Monday the roughest day for you, ramping up to a flurry of activity by Friday?
Once you have that basic understanding of your strengths and weaknesses in regard to scheduling, then you can make better choices about how to plan your workday. Put your major meetings with clients at a time when you know you’ll be on the ball so that your customers get the best experience. Make your cold calls when you’re at your mental peak. Catch up on paperwork or data entry at your quiet, low energy times when you’re best suited for repetitive work. By matching your tasks to your best times of day, you can improve your baseline productivity.
Learn How to Be Better (Listen to the Data)
While your body, your mind, and your job may have certain preferences built in, the goal for and sales professional should be to actually sell. That means understanding what times of the day you’re more likely to be successful.
For example, an MIT study reveals that:
- 4-6pm is the best time to make contact with a lead (114% higher than the worst time block)
- 8-9am and 4-5pm are the best times to qualify a lead
- Wednesdays and Thursdays are the best days to make contact with a lead (Friday is the worst day)
- Thursday is the best day to contact a lead in order to qualify the lead
- The worst times to contact and qualify leads are during lunch/crunch time (11am-2pm)
While the numbers in this study can prove helpful as a jumping-off point, it’s important to pay attention to your actual track record. Base Voice, for example, automatically collects the data needed to generate reports on call length vs time of day, call outcome vs time of day and call volume vs deal value. Use the insights gleaned from your call reports to make customer calls at strategic times or compare the number of calls you made against the value of a deal.
The next step is building up good habits.
Think about the people who are the best in their field. The superstar athletes, the phenomenal musicians, and the elite sales pros all have something in common. They work hard and they practice smart. They don’t aimlessly try new ideas or they don’t let themselves stagnate at “good enough.” The best of the best are always looking for how to improve, and being able to work well at any time is one step toward improvement. Research has shown that this type of dedicated, focused practice yields good results.
If you want to reach your top potential, then any tools or apps that you use should be helping you to practice smarter and work better.
See how Base can amplify your sales productivity with a no-risk 14-day free trial.
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