Many sales executives approach their calendars as spots where they list some of their upcoming “action items.” But what they do not see is that proper “calendarization” is a powerful time management tool and can be effectively used as a motivator to accomplish more work. Here at the Kingston Training Group (KTG), we understand that sales executives must address all types of activities each week, and one of the biggest challenges they face (after closing enough business to meet quota) is finding enough time in their workweeks to ac ? complish all of their responsibilities.
A 45-hour workweek should be the minimum expectation of hours spent and accounted for in a successful sales executive's calendar. If you look at all of the responsibilities of typical sales executives, they can usually be categorized into three segments. Many well-known billionaires have shared how they find the time to accomplish the work needed to build and maintain their business empires. Elon Musk and Bill Gates schedule their days in five-minute blocks. They are very busy and their time is precious - but so is yours. Five-minute blocks may feel too aggressive, so working your calendar in half-hour intervals will be easier to accomplish. The first segment would be tasks involved in the pursuit of net-new sales.
This includes finding and researching new potential customers, prospecting to schedule net-new meetings with potential customers and, finally, attending those meetings. The second segment is usually related to current customer care. This includes answering daily inquiries, putting out “customer fires,” and identifying, preparing, scheduling and attending partnership review meetings. The third segment is the time needed to accomplish the responsibilities of working at the dealership: inputting con? Tent into the CRM, attending mandatory meetings, doing product training, customer installations, and preparing and submitting paperwork.
The following is quick and easy 30-minute sales manage? Ment exercise that will help to immediately identify where each sales executive is and allow him (or her) to control his time more effectively while accomplishing his net-new prospecting goals.
Step 1 - Have your sales executives take screenshots of their calendars for the next week. Do not give them any warning, just simply ask them to screenshot their calendars and email them to you. This will ensure that they will provide you with real snapshots of how they are currently using their calendars as effective business tools.
Step 2 - Review their calendars quickly as they come into your email and count how many open hours or “holes” there are in each day. Explain that any “holes” need to be filled with tasks, including prospecting.
Step 3 - After your review, have them edit their calendars in order to fill in every “hole” in their workweeks so that every moment is accounted for. Share with your team members that if they do not already have meetings planned, then they should be prospecting during all open spaces in their calendars. Give them 10 minutes to make these changes to their calendars and email you another screenshot.
Step 4 - Count all the scheduled prospecting hours and multiply those hours by 10 (the number of calls that should be completed in any 60-minute block of calling). This now becomes the prospecting activity minimum for your sales executives for the week. When KTG conducts this exercise, many of the sales executives will fill in their calendars with as many as 21 hours of prospecting. However, when they arrive for the next week's training, many of them will have completed 100 prospecting touches or less. This means they were prospecting at a rate of five touches per hour, which is far from a full effort from any rep trying to meet or exceed quota every month.
Part of this exercise is to establish a reality check on how much work is actually being completed and at what pace. Once a sales executive becomes aware of his pace, he can acknowledge that there is a need to speed up to at least 10 prospecting touches per hour. KTG works to get sales executives up to at least 15 touches per hour, but 10 is the minimum.
Once this exercise is completed, implementing smarter calendarization is the first step to accomplishing a more productive and profitable workweek. Following is an ex? Ample of how to implement this strategy. Start by making a list of everything that must be accomplished in an average week and then categorize it into the three segments:
(1) Net-New Weekly
Finding and researching new potential customers
Prospecting to schedule five to six net-new meetings
Attending five to six net-new meetings each week
(2) Current Customer
Answering daily queries and putting out “customer fires”
Preparing and scheduling four to five client partner? ship reviews
Attending four to five partnership reviews
(3) Employee Dealership Responsibilities
Inputting content into the CRM
Attending mandatory meetings and trainings
Customer installations (not every week)
Preparing and submitting paperwork
After identifying all the tasks needed for a successful sales week, it is time to build out the calendar. Below is an example of what an average business day would look like. I also suggest creating an end-of-day checklist that could be shared with sales management every night. This is not micromanaging - it is managing and requiring accountability, which must be part of any successful sales manager / sales executive relationship.
A Sample Day
7 to 8 am - Make three prospect? Ing dials when you get in your car (before the car is moving during the commute).
8 to 8:30 am - Check emails and deal with customer issues.
8:30 to 9:30 am - Prospecting and making at least 12 dials and / or emails.
9:30 to 10 am - Finish meeting prep work.
10 am to 1 pm - Make three prospecting dials when you get in your car before the car is moving. Have your first current-client or prospect meeting. Make three dials when you get in your car. Have your second current-client or prospect meeting. Make three dials in your car when you get back into your car.
1 to 1:45 pm - Lunch. Make three more dials after lunch.
1:45 to 4 pm - Make three dials when you get in your car. Have your third current-client or prospect meeting Make three dials when you get back into your car.
4 to 4:30 pm - Go back to the office.
4:30 to 5:30 pm - Current-client care time.
5:30 to 6 pm - Prep for tomorrow, do paperwork and send completed checklist to sales management.
6 pm - Go home. When you get in the car, "file inStead of dial."
Do 60 minutes of meeting prep paperwork?
Have three current-client or prospect meetings?
Make 21 prospecting dials from the car?
Spend 90 minutes on customer issues?
Prospect (in office for at least 60 minutes) to new potential customers by phone or email?
Spend 30 minutes on paperwork and prep time?
Take time at the end of the day to file from your pros? Pect binder?
Spend 60 minutes to reach out to five current customers?
Spend 30 minutes on paperwork and prep time?
Do 150 minutes of prospecting, researching new clients and setting following week's schedule?
Take some time at the end of day to file from your prospect binder?
A great way to calendar is by color coding your calendar. Here are instructions on how to color code your Microsoft Outlook calendar:
Step 1 - Right-click on any calendar entry in the list and choose “Color” to change its color.
Step 2 - Select “Automatic” from the Color submenu to let Outlook choose complementary calendar colors for you, or pick from one of the nine options. KTG defines “calendarization” as the act of working all activities needed into a calendar for success. Sales management must look at sales executives' calendars weekly to guarantee that every mo? Ment is successfully planned out and acted on to ensure more sales, better customer care and to ensure dealership responsibilities are being accomplished. Color coding, filling in calendar “holes” and reality checking will ensure that time is being used to its fullest. Use time wisely, schedule all tasks and you will make more meetings and more money.
Kate Kingston is founder and president of the Kingston Training Group (KTG). With more than 17 years of success in making appointments with decision makers, she is a recognized authority on lead generation, cold calling and new business development. Kingston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . Visit www.kingstontraining.com.