Sometimes when you have a million things to do at work it’s hard to stay on task and hard to make the best use of your time. This is especially true for salespeople as they are constantly engaging with new people, making calls and sending emails, adding new things to their to-do list, and attending dozens of weekly meetings. With this type of lifestyle, it’s understandable why many salespeople find it difficult to optimize every second of their workday. So we put together a few tips to help you reach sales goals.
1. Starting with piping hot leads
The general idea around leads is that the more you put in, the more you get out. But getting leads that are interested can take up a huge portion of your day. It’s a numbers game involving cold calling and emailing in the hopes that one will bite. Starting with hot leads is a good way to make sure you’re not wasting your time.
How do you get these hot leads? Start with referrals! Nearly 91 percent of clients say they’d be glad to give a referral, however, only 11 percent of sales reps actually ask for one. And people who are referred by a friend or colleague are four times more likely to make a purchase.
Another way to find hot leads is to find people who are already interested and familiar with the product; like those who’ve visited your company’s social media platforms. Salespeople that implement social selling are 79 percent more likely to hit their sales quota.
So what does social selling mean? It means connecting with people on your company’s sites, posting educational and relevant content to your own profile pages, and getting involved in the conversation by engaging with your potential prospects. That means joining LinkedIn Groups, tweeting at people who are interacting with your brand’s page and replying to comments on your company’s Facebook posts.
Another benefit to engaging on social media is that the demographics of the decision-makers have changed. Now, 46 percent of decision-makers are between the ages of 18 and 34, which is the largest social media user group. Which means social selling puts you directly in front of your audience.
2. Having a game plan
Now you know where to start with getting your leads, so now what? It’s time to make a game plan for them.
We know it’s frustrating to always log your interactions into your CRM, but this will help you keep track of your client during their sales process. This is where Salesforce (or another CRM system) can be your best friend.
Most sales require five follow-ups to go through, but 44 percent of salespeople give up after the first try. The best way to make it to magical number five is to track and plan. You know you talked to a contact on Tuesday, make a reminder on your phone or Google Calendar to contact them again on Friday. Make sure your customers don’t fall victim to a follow-up fall through by creating “next-steps” for each lead.
Making notes in your CRM of what you and your customer talked about can help you make sure that you’re not repeating yourself and that you’re providing them with new information about your product or sales logistics each time you speak with them.
Only 10 percent of marketing materials are used by salespeople, meaning that 90 percent of that valuable content goes to waste. Use this material and take note of which pieces you’ve sent over to your clients in your CRM, then the next time you interact with them you can send over a different piece. This gives them even more knowledge on the product and helps you customize their experience and address multiple pain points.
3. Tools that you can use
Sales reps spend two-thirds of their time on tasks that aren’t related to selling. And research shows that those who use Salesforce on average spend four hours a week on data-entry alone. Not only are these tasks wasting time and costing businesses money, but these tasks also take away from the job satisfaction of sales reps (not to mention, they’re just plain boring).
There are various tools that can actually save you time by automating those small tasks that come with a sales job (yes, you’re on the website of one of them, right now). These tools use augmented or artificial intelligence to perform duties like creating a calendar event, logging emails into your CRM, or generating new leads.
Doing less busy work will free up your time and allow you to focus on your productive sales tasks, like calling, engaging, and following-up with your clients. Automation is going to become the way of the sales world in the coming years and with these tools you’ll be ahead of the competition instead of being behind. You’ll reach your sales quota easier while working smarter and faster.
4. Prioritizing and not procrastinating
Nobody is ever going to be productive 100 percent of every workday. It’s estimated that people spend two hours each day procrastinating (which is 25 percent of your day). Nobody is perfect and that’s okay. But too much procrastination could leave you with stress and the need to stuff all your sales into the last few weeks of the quarter.
One of the best ways to kick this habit is to set small goals to help you reach your larger goals. Say you have a very daunting and hard-to-reach quota. Break up that goal and make small strides toward it each day. Make a goal of closing one deal each week, or make a goal to add five new qualifying leads into your pipeline each day. Those small goals are much more attainable and easier to grasp than trying to meet your quota all at once.
To keep you from procrastinating, you can take control of your time by blocking out an hour or another increment of time that you will dedicate to one task. An example would be to call five people or respond to 12 emails within an hour, then work on a different task with another block of time.
Another way to take control of your time is to optimize your calendar. You don’t always need to schedule meetings for a full hour or half hour. If you need only 10 or 15 minutes just schedule it for that amount of time. This allows you to optimize every minute of your day by scheduling other meetings or focusing on different tasks with that extra time.
5. Getting to know your prospect
Finally, while it may seem like a customer service tip, you can be more productive with your day when get to know and actually listen to your prospects. In many ways, this benefits both you and your client by creating a bond that promotes trust (which will also promote sales).
When interacting with a client, ask them about their pain points and see what struggles they go through on a daily basis. Your clients will tell you what they need; all you need to do is connect the dots and offer solutions based on what they’re telling you. Your product could be the solution to those pain points, however, you can’t articulate that to them if you never take the time to listen to what those pain points are.
On the other hand, this also saves you from wasting your own time. Listening allows you to make sure that the potential customer is qualified and interested. This way you’re not following-up and pushing a product on a client who may not need or want whatever you’re selling. With the power of listening you can save your time to pursue hotter leads and close more deals.
Not only does this make you more productive, but it also promotes a healthy customer relationship, which will make you a better salesperson. Selling is less about closing deals and more about being a resource to your client as they attempt to solve their current and ongoing problems.