Combine Prospecting and Qualifying to Improve Sales Time Management

A cartoon figure has lassoed the hand of a giant clock and is trying to pull it backwards

Is it possible to improve sales time management?

Successful salespeople are masters at using limited time wisely. They understand from their value selling training that success derives from doing the right thing at the right time and taking advantage of any the client’s buying process.

Sales leaders looking to increase revenue often add more “feet on the street” to increase the quantity of sales effort or invest in consultative sales training and sales coaching to improve and scale the quality of their sales approach.  Done right, both approaches can improve sales performance.  The third, and perhaps most underappreciated, option to increase sales performance is to improve sales time management – how sales people spend their time.

A recent report by Bain & Co found sales account managers were only spending 33% of their time with customers and a whopping 40% of that customer time with lower-tier accounts.  Needless to say, top sales performers spend the majority of their time helping top tier accounts to succeed.  One effective way to manage sales time better is to combine the sales prospecting stage with the sales qualifying stage by asking the right sales discovery questions when you first engage potential customers.

Don’t just probe for interest in your offering. Explore, at the same time, how well they fit with your value proposition and how serious their need is compared to other priorities they face. You want to assess the company’s need to purchase, your contact’s authority and ability to buy, and their intent to invest in solving the problem at hand. We find that it helps to assess your new prospects in simple terms. Color code them with:

  • Red Light- not worth pursuing compared to qualified target clients
  • Yellow Light – a possibility, but you need to know more before proceeding full speed ahead
  • Green Light – target client, very likely to buy…invest resources and set up your next meeting with key decision makers

The key to improve sales time management is to effectively qualify your prospects as soon as possible. Extract yourself from conversations that will go nowhere so you can spend your valuable time focusing on prospects with true potential who appreciate what you have to offer.

To learn more about improving sales performance, download 15 Warning Signs Your Sales Team is Headed in the Wrong Direction

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