As a seller, how would you rate your sales productivity? According to the Sales Management Association, salespeople spend only 35.2% of their time in sales activities.

Many sellers complain about how hard selling is.

But, have you ever tried working as a chef? Or a nurse? That’s truly hard and paid poorly.

Sales is neither, but it does require high levels of productivity.

“I can’t focus.”

“I’m not good at organising my time.”

Sound familiar?

In this article, you’ll read about how to improve your sales productivity.

Disclaimer: The below will be utterly useless if you don’t apply it.

It’s better to do one hour of self-development than read five books.

YOU CAN FILL YOUR PIPELINE IN THREE HOURS PER DAY (OH YEAH).

You’ll read about the following:

  • Top 5 productivity black holes
  • Daily routines to boost productivity
  • Tools
  • Final Tips

TOP 5 PRODUCTIVITY BLACK HOLES

  1. Your phone

You’re probably reading this on your phone (almost 50% of LinkedIn activity is on mobile).

You’re educating yourself on sales productivity.

That’s just BS.

And I know because I do it too.

LinkedIn has become another way to “scroll away” your life.

Task: Stop reading and scrolling and come back to this later.

If you’re still reading, then:

Task: I am now committing to applying these productivity tips by reading this.

Your phone is the most distracting thing you own.

The best app on it?

The Aeroplane mode.

If you actively use it for work, in the last section, you will get a foolproof method to disarm that productivity killer.

2. Lack of planning

As much as I try, at least 40% of my days, I still fail to plan my day properly.

I bet you do too.

And then you wonder where the hell your day has gone, right?

Planning your day (ideally with an hourly focus) will have a three-fold effect:

  • Increase the likelihood you will stick to the plan
  • Reduce stress as you know what’s going to happen
  • Feel good when you complete a task

How can you say no to all of this good stuff?

3. Multitasking

Your phone is a primary culprit, but not the only one.

Do you have Teams/Slack open?

What about LinkedIn?

Even constantly checking your emails is not helping your productivity.

Once you’re focused, nothing short of a fire should distract you.

Multitasking is a myth.

The Journal of Experimental Psychology (not exactly a Chinese whisper) states that multitasking can reduce productivity by 40%.

Top-performing athletes win because that’s all they focus on.

Stop trying to defy human nature and focus on one task at hand.

PS: Put your bloody phone away.

4. No breaks/time between tasks

You may have heard of the Pomodoro method (the Italian word for tomato)

For every 25 minutes of activity, a 5-minute break.

I’m not a big fan of tomatoes, but you can steal the concept.

For example, I no longer schedule 1-hour Zoom calls; I go for 55 minutes.

Human attention spans are decreasing.

After a while, your focus will fade,

Do you want to increase productivity?

Schedule breaks for your brain to breathe.

5. Lack of motivation

Last, but probably the most important.

Your productivity is directly linked to your enjoyment of the task.

“You can lead the horse to the water, but you can’t make it drink it.”

I’d argue that you can make the horse drink the water, but is it worth it?

If you don’t enjoy the task you perform, you have two options:

  • Discipline

Life sucks; often, you’ll have to do things you don’t like.

Will this activity get you closer to your goals?

Example: You cold call because it will help you advance your career.

OR: You exercise because it makes you healthier.

In that case, keep at it until discipline kicks in.

  • Change

If you don’t like sales, why are you in it?

Let me guess, money.

And because sales makes you unhappy, you spend that money on alcohol or other distractions.

Or on therapy.

It makes no sense.

Find what you want to do, and do that.

This point may be too philosophical, but it’s my article, and I did study philosophy.

However, you may not be a lost cause.

Do you genuinely hate cold calling but still like sales?

Find another way to prospect.

Figure out what your goals are and work towards them.

Productivity will skyrocket with the right motivation.

Task: Look at the above points and commit to improving on one, just one!

DAILY ROUTINES

Here are the routines I’ve built based on experience and best industry practices.

  • Daily and weekly planning

Plan your day, ideally, the evening before. You’ll sleep better.

On Fridays or Sundays, review the week and determine your top priorities.

Ensure you have space for the important but not urgent things (7 Habits).

  • Wake up early

Your brain will not function well for the first hour after sleep.

Leave yourself time to have breakfast, read or exercise.

Have a morning routine which allows you to be productive.

  • Hard tasks first

The more tired you get, the less productive you will be.

Always start with the most dreaded tasks.

You will procrastinate less and will feel better.

Example: I always cold call in the morning.

  • Your calendar = your religion

I’m at the point where my protein shakes are on my calendar.

Your calendar should dictate your life.

That way, you’ll take back control of your life.

  • Similar activities together

Your brain takes time to get in the “zone”.

For me, the morning is dedicated to prospecting.

The pm is for meetings and consulting.

Schedule similar activities to ensure your brain stays in the zone.

  • Build habits

The above doesn’t mean anything if you don’t practice religiously.

The more you stick to specific habits, the more discipline will kick in.

Task: Fill your calendar for the weekly activities that should get done, including scheduling your plan for the following day.

My calendar is below:

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TOOLS

I’m not a fan of 1,000s of tools, but the right amount can be life-saving.

Any tools which can help you prospect are something you should seriously consider investing in.

Here are my recommendations:

  • CRM. The more user-friendly, the better.
  • Power Dialler. This will help you save so much time when cold calling.
  • Email marketing. It’s unlikely you can efficiently remember whom to email and when.
  • Data gathering. If you can quickly get mobiles and emails, why wouldn’t you?

Finally, the best is if you or your company can afford a sales engagement platform.

Your sales activities will be fully managed, and you won’t have to worry about a thing.

(if you want specific tips, contact me).

FINAL TIPS

A few more tricks you can have up your sleeves:

  • Social Media phone

For the past 18 months, I used a spare phone exclusively for social media.

During the day, it’s locked away, reducing my screen time massively.

I also stopped all notifications, including WhatsApp, which considerably cut my screen time.

  • Whiteboard

I have a big-ass WhiteBoard in my office (see below) where I track personal and professional essential goals.

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As you can see, I’m an ambitious guy, I pay taxes, and there’s a bunch of random stuff there too.

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