LEADERSHIP SERIES: Research suggests that Sales Leadership is the difference maker between good performance and superior performance. And how sales leaders embrace five essential roles is critical to the success of their teams. We hope you find this series of short informal discussions around sales leadership useful and thought-provoking.
Good Time Management Is Good Sales Management
When sales managers think of the things they would need to work on in order to be consistently excellent, they tend to come up with topics like motivation, product knowledge, and the ability to teach their producers to provide unbeatable customer service. These are all important. Nevertheless, they sometimes ignore some of the more subtle, mundane aspects of becoming a sales leader… aspects that are just as important to their long-term success, and their team’s.
One of these is time management.
As we are all already far too aware, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day for us to do all of the things we would like to do as managers. And so, if we are to accomplish anything at all, we have to set and keep priorities. The better we can define those priorities, and the more efficient we can get at doing things we need to, the higher our productivity goes – and the greater sales our departments can generate. Very simply, good time management is good sales management.
With that in mind, here are four things any sales manager can do to get more control over each day:
Learn the basics. It’s ironic, but many of us never take the time to read a book on time management, or take in a workshop on the topic, because we just can’t seem to find the time. But if you want to become an excellent sales leader, not to mention get control of your calendar and inbox, you have to start somewhere. So, find an option that works for you and take a few hours to learn the basics of time management. (Consider David Allen’s Getting Things Done – perhaps the leader on this topic).
Empower your salespeople. It isn’t your job to make sure your sales people hit their numbers by constantly popping in the office or watching their every move. Instead, it’s up to you to set the right expectations and make them accountable for the results. Learn to be less of a sales manager and more of a sales leader – it will free up some of your time, and open up a new world of possibilities for your sales team.
Start each day fresh. By far, one of the most practical tips we can give any sales manager is to clean off his or her desk before heading home for the day. That’s not to say that everything has to be finished, of course, but that it has to have a place. Instilling this habit doesn’t just make you more organized, it allows you to come into the office with a lot less stress and trepidation. Give it a try.
Focus on what matters… not what’s important. No, this isn’t a fortune cookie riddle. There’s a subtle but important difference between what matters, the development of your sales team in your territory, and what’s important, the numbers and revenue your department is generating. Lots of managers lose out because they focus solely on the figures. If you can learn to pay attention to the underlying causes of success or failure – and create a team of stronger salespeople in the process – the results will always take care of themselves.
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