11 Insider Secrets for Time Management in Sales
Time management isn’t just about getting things done faster…
It’s a combination of prioritising your most urgent tasks and executing them effectively. This is the mark of an elite salesperson.
For the less experienced sales rep, the week’s busiest day is always tomorrow.
We spoke to a couple of Cognism sales veterans for some pointers:
- William Gay, ex-Cognism SDR and Account Executive.
- Madeleine Hopkin, Senior Enterprise Sales Development Representative at Cognism.
According to William:
“Time management is the single most important sales skill. Managing your time effectively allows you to not only achieve your targets, but overachieve.”
Let’s unpack time management in sales 👇
1. Prepare for 30 minutes daily
Often, salespeople try to speed up by diving headfirst into a big pile of work at the start of their day.
William cautioned against this. Why?
Usually, this approach isn’t effective and only results in unnecessarily wasted time. Instead, plan out your sales strategy at the beginning of your day and space out your tasks evenly.
“This process will put you in the right state of mind for work, while reminding you of your daily tasks.”
2. Schedule time blocks
Mastering time management in sales is about smart planning; it involves identifying and leveraging your strengths to build a productive workday.
Madeleine illustrated this by sharing her strategy of allocating specific hours to different tasks based on her most productive periods and her skill at the task at hand.
“It’s different for everyone, but I began to realise that making a lot of cold calls on Mondays wasn’t the best strategy for me. I found that I was wasting opportunities because people weren’t answering the phone or they were in a bad mood.”
“If you are an amazing cold caller and you find that’s where most of your meetings are coming from - you should block out a lot of time for cold calling. If you know that you’re really good at getting a referral and sending emails, then block out extra time for that.”
Madeleine stressed that time blocking is dynamic, adding:
“You need to understand your biggest strength and then build your routine to fit that. Things might evolve, and you might get better at LinkedIn prospecting or cold calling - you should fit your calendar around how you’re changing.”
Your calendar is only one of many tools you can use to achieve this. Task management tools will allow you and your team to complete tasks efficiently by organising and prioritising them.
By adopting Madeleine’s approach, you can dedicate time blocks for tasks where you excel, optimising your productivity and output quality.
3. Invest in sales technology
In fact, use the best CRM and sales engagement tools you can afford. Find one which solves the challenges you face, and use it! Sales technology will make your job so much easier.
“I’d recommend using a tool like Salesloft. So many companies don’t use a sales engagement tool. It means you have to log every single task, move it, and update it.”
“A good CRM drives sales growth and forces you to be consistent in your actions.”
Investing in the right software vastly reduces the number of manual activities you have to complete; it also frees up a lot of your time.
4. Use keyboard shortcuts
William is a big fan of keyboard shortcuts; they help you perform actions quickly - saving precious time.
These are his favourites:
- Cmd + L - clicks and highlights the text in the URL bar.
- Cmd + F - searches anywhere on the screen for a keyword.
- Cmd + X, C and V - cut, copy and paste, respectively.
- Cmd + alt + shift + V - paste text into an area in the same format as the area.
“Using your mouse takes much more time. Learn the keyboard strokes and you’ll get the less interesting tasks done much faster, giving you more time to focus on what matters most...selling!”
5. Find shortcuts for repetitive actions
William shared an example:
“If you find yourself regularly repeating a task, find something that shortcuts that task.”
“I recently found a tool called aText. If you regularly write the same sentence, you can save it. When you next write the beginning of that sentence, aText will find the sentence and input it for you.”
He also mentioned using Grammarly to quickly check emails. If there’s sales technology out there which will speed up your process, use it. Don’t slow yourself down with unnecessary work!
6. Use email templates
Madeleine maximises her time management in sales with a brilliant strategy: using templates.
She clued us in:
“If you start with a template rather than a blank slate - it’ll take two to three minutes to write an email. Without one, it could take 15 minutes!”
Madeleine stores her go-to templates in a handy Google Doc, arranged by frequently occurring scenarios, such as dealing with competitors. This way, she’s always one step ahead.
7. Tailor your messages
The danger of email templates is that they can lead to a “one-size-fits-all” approach. This is where personalisation comes into play…
If your sales emails don’t seem authentic, or you don’t tailor them to your prospects’ scenario - the odds of a response are low. Not the best time management in sales!
A touch of nuanced personalisation will make your emails stand out from the pack.
“If I were to send my templates to other team members, it might not match their communication style. You must be consistent.”
“If you can tailor a message to the individual and their situation each time, you’ll get the best results.”
Madeleine makes sure to sprinkle some personal touches to her templates so they resonate with each prospect. You should too!
8. Take notes
Note-taking is critical for time management in sales.
Let’s take a look at this in practice…
Madeleine has a meticulous approach and documents every important detail during client interactions. This way, she arms herself with information that could be pivotal to future engagements.
Madeleine also uses OneNote to streamline the note-taking process - this ensures that she’s always prepared with personalised responses and can accurately pinpoint potential opportunities.
“It will save so much time when you need to re-engage them. All you say is that three months ago, you mentioned these pain points. It saves a lot of time for the AE, too.”
William echoed this:
“Assume you will remember nothing and write everything down. Always take great notes; this will help you to remember more actively.”
“Also, keep your notes organised. I use OneNote to categorise my notes, and I can quickly jump back and check them in no time. Good note-taking and organisation practically eradicate the need to remember anything!”
9. Follow the right people on LinkedIn
To begin, we don’t recommend spending too much time on LinkedIn looking for inspiration. LinkedIn “research” could be considered professional procrastination.
That said, LinkedIn can help you discover innovative ways to step up your B2B sales game.
William told us:
“Follow everyone putting out good LinkedIn content. Substitute all your Instagram and Facebook time for LinkedIn and optimise your intake. Don’t do this during working hours, though!”
10. Leverage peer knowledge
Knowledge is power, especially in a fast-paced sales environment, and your peers are one of the best sources of innovation.
Podcasts are a rich resource for Madeleine, offering insights from fellow SDRs and helping her structure her day more efficiently.
But sales podcasts aren’t the only source of knowledge, according to Madeleine:
“There’s a goldmine of valuable tips on LinkedIn and YouTube, based on what SDRs do at other companies.”
This inspiration gives Madeleine fresh ideas, helping her succeed in her role. The key, she stresses, is always to be learning!
Madeleine also uses Gong to learn from the recorded conversations of top performers. She shared with us how she used Gong to refine how she discusses data enrichment (a feature at Cognism):
“You can find all the calls where they mentioned enrichment, go to the transcript, see how they explain it and then copy that into your script.”
11. Read books that inspire you
William is a big fan of Audible, as it allows him to use his time off to feed his appetite for knowledge. While reading books can’t directly save you time, investing in your personal growth ultimately can.
William named a few books that inspired him to develop his sales career.
- Jeb Blount, Fanatical Prospecting - a great read for people starting out in sales.
- Scott Leese, Addicted to the Process - a short, adrenaline-fuelled read.
- Chris Voss, Never Split the Difference - according to William, the best sales book of all time.