Selling Time is Sacred! Do a Time Management Check!

For many MedTech sellers January 1st began a new fiscal year and a new sales quota. For others their fiscal year starts April 1, July 1 of October 1. Regardless of when your fiscal year starts it’s always wise to take a few moments and reflect on three (3) important things:

1. How many selling days are there in the new sales year?
2. How am I currently spending my time?
3. What non-selling activities can I remove to give myself more selling time?

Selling Days

If your Medtech Company is on a calendar year the number of selling days for 2014 is 61-64-64-62 or 251 days. It’s broken down as follows:

The calendar clearly shows that you must get out of the gate quickly if you want to make your number in 2014 since Q-1 and Q-4 have the least number of selling days available.

Selling Time versus Non-Selling Time

In sales, time is your enemy because there are never enough selling days. How you spend your time each day is critical to your success in making your number (sales quota).

Selling time is time spent face-to-face or phone-to-phone with a buying influence talking about helping them fix a problem that they currently have and want to fix, avoid a problem or capitalize on an identified opportunity through one of your products, services or solutions. It’s a combination of account development and/or opportunity pursuit.

Non-selling time are all of the other things that sellers typically do each day such as:

  • Continuing Education: reading industry news, financial news and professional papers
  • Research: to create prospects or to uncover key information
  • Planning: for sales calls, strategy, account and funnel reviews, for presentations and site visits
  • Communication: E-mail, telephone calls, expense reports, responding to company requests etc.
  • Travel-to and from client encounters and for company meetings
  • Manager requirements: telephone calls and reports; territory, account, opportunity, call plan and funnel reviews; CRM updates etc.
  • Company events– trade shows, training, region or annual meetings etc.

All of these are important activities because they support selling time but they are not selling time. This is why smart organizations streamline as many non-selling activities as possible to increase the amount of selling time that each individual possesses.

Keys to Success

Successful sellers carefully analyze how they spend their time and they resist doing any activity that requires them to decrease the amount of time they can spend face-to-face or phone-to-phone with a buying influence. Here are some examples:

  • Paperwork is done after the work day is over or on weekends. I know – that no one wants to work more than 40 hours in the week, but the reality is that the sales profession is not a 40 hour work week.
  • Planning is meticulous. They maximize every client encounter with careful and well-thought out sales call plans. They also use rigor in planning their strategy to win large complex selling opportunities. They realize that spending time “planning” is often the best use of their time.
  • They build relationships internally and use the company’s resources carefully. They learn early on who they can “count-on” within the company to execute key tasks for them and they rely on them repeatedly. This gives them more time to sell.
  • They use waiting time wisely. This is when they return phone calls, E-mails, do reports etc.
  • They recognize that implementation support such as customer support activities, resolving customer problems etc. is a requirement of account management and required but they don’t let it consume them. Instead they create the right balance.
  • They constantly review how they are spending their time to ensure they are using it wisely. They make adjustments accordingly.

Parting Thoughts

Selling time should be sacred time. If you have good products, services or solutions and good sales people then increasing the percentage of their selling time will drive sales results. It’s the quickest and easiest way to increase sales productivity.

Top sales representatives can tell you the number of sales days left in the current quarter and they can tell you the revenue they must generate per hour or per day and not just their revenue against plan. They prioritize their daily activities and get the most important things done first. What percent of your time is selling time? What will you do today to improve it?