I was having breakfast a while back with a friend and we were talking about sales and I made a comment that stood out to him. I said, “The real enemy of sales success is chaos.”
In our conversation, we discussed all the things Sales Leaders focus on to drive sales results. We like to turn our efforts to things like training, accountability sessions, coaching as our tools to help keep teams focused. When you take a step back and observe what’s really going on, the problem is more that we live in a “distracted world” than it does our team members need help doing their jobs.
It’s fair to say, on Monday mornings, your sales reps start their week with every intention of that week being productive. Everything is fresh and possible but it ends up by the time they get to Friday they ask themselves “Where did the week go?”
The reality is that they have so many things pulling them in every direction (the chaos) that very quickly they move into reactive mode. Psychologically, the real challenge is that they feel the burden and pressure of having a thousand things to do. That would be overwhelming for anyone. Think about all the demands they deal with on a weekly basis; prospecting, email, voicemails, team meetings, management busy work, customer meetings, proposals, account planning, partner meetings, travel, quoting, order administration, training and customer service issues. This is just to name a few.
It also seems that since everything we do is on the laptop that electronic distraction plays a real role in impacting productivity. An example of this could be; your rep fires up a browser with the intention of pulling up their customer’s website to do research and before you know it they’re ordering patio furniture on Amazon. And then later in the day tell you that they simply don’t have enough time to get their job done.
The end result is that the key priorities don’t get done or team members have to work too many extended hours to get their work done and it cuts too far into their work life balance.
Our recommendation to help with this dynamic is to offer a simplified model for teams to operate from within to minimize disruption and more importantly organize those thousand things into a fewer list of larger objectives. We call the simplified model the Business of Sales. It’s comprised of (4) categories; Partner, Pipeline, Engage (Selling) and Manage.
To really help your reps with the chaos, require them to have a 1 hour meeting on Monday mornings where they simply organize the To-Do list into these (4) categories and check in with them once or twice a week on the list.
This approach won’t magically fix all the problems related to chaos or electronic distraction but it could lead towards productivity gains that will have an impact on your team’s performance.