If you look across the dynamic startup landscape, while all are very different, they have one thing in common: their successful salespeople understand the importance of every minute. At any given time, top salespeople know exactly what they need to be doing to crush it.
Although this might sound obvious and simple, it can be difficult to remember that time is a valuable and finite resource — one that should be maximized. To combat this, I came up with a way to keep this top of mind early on in my sales career. Instead of looking at my day in minutes, I look at it as putting together the pieces of a puzzle. For example, instead of thinking about one — two p.m. as the hour after lunch — one that’s slow and lackluster for many people — I think about it through the lens of the desired outcome and backing into the results from there. My guiding force is if you do all of the right ‘things’, success will always follow. That mantra has yet to fail me and is the way I plan my day/make the most of my time.
This little trick has worked for me and then some, but it did take time to develop and I continue to fine-tune my approach to this day. I find effective time management is one of the hardest things for salespeople to understand and truly master — especially in the fast-paced startup world. I see the majority of people managing tasks really well, but there is so much more to it than that.
More importantly, it’s worthy to mention that I made sure I was aligned with the right role/company. I took the time to carefully evaluate every and any opportunity I got myself into. My mindset has always been, “if I’m going to invest my time and energy into something, it better be worth it to represent a brand/product/service I could truly believe in to do great business and solve the important problems of my customers.”
With all of this said, want to know my tried-and-true ways of making the most out of your valuable sales time? Keep reading…
That Thing You Dread Doing Every Day? Yeah, Do It First!
When I growing up and still under the roof of my beloved parents, I dreaded anything to do with the dishwasher (amongst other chores). Seriously, I’d complain every time my mom reminded me it was time to wrangle the dishes and I’d put it off for as long as I could before/after dinner.
Although I saved the worst for last when I was younger, this is a habit I’m thankful to have ditched early on in my sales career. Regardless of how excited I was about the job, I found that my to-do list always had a few items I wasn’t thrilled to tackle. This is a reality I face to this day.
So, I reverse engineered my approach. Instead of putting them off until the end of the day or the distant future — wishing I didn’t have to do them with every passing moment — I’d take care of those items first. If you resolve to attack the tasks you dislike as soon as you start your day, you can move beyond them to do the things you enjoy. Ironically, I found that my sense of accomplishment was heightened and set me up for a better day/stronger results.
Automation IS Your Friend
I’m going to date myself here…For years I had a Franklin Covey Planner that included information about all of my leads and customers. This rather large apparatus was key to my success, as it contained critical information about who they were, reminders, important takeaways and what they wanted — all information I’d use to bolster my sales process. I eventually supplemented some of this with a wide-range of spreadsheets, color coded sticky notes hanging out of said apparatus, emails, and word documents.
Although I sometimes miss that planner, I understand that it’s no longer conducive to my productivity. Today’s sales stack is sensational and only getting stronger. My CRM (ProsperWorks), countless chrome extensions, sales enablement solutions and the list goes on has ultimately taken my sales game to a whole other level. I’ve saved a TON of time to truly concentrate on the most important task at hand — doing business that matters.
If you work in startup sales and are looking for an effective way to free up more time in your day, automation should be one of the first things you embrace.
Focus: One Task at a Time
According to Salary.com, 89% of employees admit to wasting time at work. WOW! Whether they are distracted by their own personal technology or sidetracked by their co-workers, the fact of the matter is that wasting time is an epidemic in the modern workplace.
With so many ways to be diverted, the ability to focus is more crucial to success than ever before. So, how do you avoid these temptations to stay on the task at hand and increase your productivity?
You must learn strategies to avoid distraction and find ways to cut down on others interrupting you. Once you can do these two things, you can dedicate all of your energy to one task at a time, which will boost your productivity.
Know Your Value Proposition Like the Back of Your Hand
If you work for a startup, you’re likely tasked with selling an innovative product or service. Although having this edge in the market may feel like enough, you absolutely need to have the ability to clearly communicate your ‘why’ at a moment’s notice. How you articulate this up front defines your sales road ahead.
Before you pick up the phone, email or try to schedule a meeting to wax on about how fabulous your startup is, take the time to understand exactly what you offer and why it’s important to the buyer. Then, craft this information in a clear value proposition that will save you time and help people understand exactly why they should engage with you.
Like The ‘Energizer Bunny’, Great Sales Reps Keep Going and Going and Going
Salespeople, resilience, and stamina generally go hand-in-hand. To find success in sales, you need to have a ridiculous amount of determination that will keep you going for the long haul. Many people test the sales waters and quickly get out as they never imagined what it would actually take to have a sensational sales career.
Although some people seem to have endless energy without trying — and many of these personalities end up in sales — you don’t have to have endless natural energy to succeed in sales. One of my secrets that has sustained my sales career is how I start my day. Taking time for me to frame my mind for the day ahead has made all the difference. I like to keep things interesting to change up my morning routine, but whatever I decide to do before my work day begins (guided meditation, walk with the fur babies to see the sunrise, nutritious breakfast, tea with my husband…) is a priority.
Whether you wake up teeming with energy to seize the day or not, you’ll need to develop techniques that keep you going and going if you want to take advantage of every moment to have the best day possible.
Time to Put a Bow On It
If you work in startup sales, you know that you play a large role in your company’s success or failure. If you spend your time wasting the day away or constantly distracted, you’ll have to do a heck of a lot more to recognize results.
This competitive world of sales in startups might feel overwhelming to some, but with the right approach, attitude, and perspective, any person in the sales trenches can learn how to thrive in it. Mainly, if every moment is thought of as an opportunity to do something that will lead to the desired outcome, success is lingering right around the corner. With this mentality, salespeople can be empowered to schedule their days to consistently kill it.
I’d love to hear your perspective! How have you tackled your day to realize lasting success? What are the top ways salespeople in startups can optimize their time?
As always, thanks for reading!
Note, this was originally featured on the Avenue Talent Partners blog.