5 Proven Productivity Methods That Salespeople Can Use
Have you ever wondered why some salespeople are able to be wildly productive while others sit and spin their wheels, unable to buckle down and move the ball forward no matter how busy they may seem?
We all strive for productivity in today’s fast-paced and distraction-filled world, and a role like sales is especially demanding, requiring hours of continuous effort day in day out, with little room for shortcuts or workarounds.
But productivity is no coincidence, it’s a conscious choice borne out of habit and process. This means that productivity can be learned, whether through sheer will, or by adopting proven methods.
The latter is a great place to start if you want to be more productive, and the following proven productivity systems can help you make better use of your time:
1. Time blocking
Time blocking is a simple and popular productivity method. It works by breaking your daily schedule into pre-planned, time-controlled blocks, which then prescribe your activity throughout the day. For instance, you could set a thirty minute block for responding to emails first thing in the morning, followed by a forty minute block for completing proposals and then a two-hour block for outbound prospecting, and so on.
The benefit of this approach is threefold. First, you’re able to hold yourself accountable for activity throughout the day. Second, the set time constraints force you to be more productive when completing individual tasks instead of drawing them out. Lastly, you can adjust blocks to prioritize the most important tasks, ensuring you don’t waste a minute.
2. The Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique was created by a productivity guru named Francesco Cirillo, and is popular among writers, coders, and those whose work requires sustained activity. The technique is simple: you break up tasks into 25-minute segments called Pomodoros. In between each Pomodoro, you earn a 5-minute break. You keep track of each Pomodoro with a timer.
This method is likely to be most effective for time-intensive tasks like prospecting. Setting aside two hours for prospecting every day, then using the Pomodoro Technique will likely help those who have a hard time staying focused. By breaking up difficult work into smaller tasks, then adding a timer for accountability, difficult things become a bit easier.
3. The Eisenhower Principle
Named after the 34th President of the United States, the Eisenhower Principle has also been referred to as “eating the frog.” Here’s how it works: always focus on important tasks instead of ones that are most urgent or have the closest deadlines.
The benefit of this technique is that we replace busyness with productivity. On any given day, there are a myriad of distractions for salespeople, and while there is much competing for our attention, the most important things we can do usually involve finding new prospects and closing existing ones. If you apply the Eisenhower Principle to your day-to-day, then closing deals will always be a priority, and secondary considerations will cease eating up your time.
4. Don’t Break the Chain
This method is credited to comedian Jerry Seinfeld, a major success in his field. While it generally focuses on creative success, it can be used by salespeople to develop consistency and accountability, and to form better habits -- never a bad thing.
The way it works is simple: buy a calendar, decide what you want to accomplish every single day, then mark an X over each day you accomplish your goal. That’s it. For salespeople, the goal might be to make a certain number of contacts, or to follow-up with a certain number of prospects. Make sure to pick a goal that can impact your bottom line, and then, most importantly, stick to it and don’t break the chain.
5. The 80/20 Rule
Also known as the Pareto Principle, the 80/20 Rule is another which encourages people to do more of their highest-value work. As the name implies, the 80/20 Rule posits that eighty percent of our output usually stems from twenty percent of our efforts.
In practice, a follower of the 80/20 Rule would identify which activities are responsible for most of their results. In sales, it’s usually prospecting, following-up, or seeking creative ways to source new business. The second half of the rule encourages followers to minimize ineffective activities: usually busy-work and administrative tasks (Dooly can help with that). So figure out what’s working and do more of it, then do your best to cut everything else.