How a Sales Manager Climb the Career Ladder Using 8 Hours of Working Time Effectively

Climb the Career Ladder

The world has changed rapidly over the last 5 years. Brands’ approaches to promoting their products and positioning are changing. Every day there are new tools and services for more efficient work of marketing/development/programming department employees. Outside the brackets are always sales.

It would seem that all sales techniques have long been described, studied and implemented. But sales techniques are not an axiom. Consumer psychology is changing, and sales managers, their leaders and C-levels must also change their approaches to sales, communication with consumers and testing new hypotheses. 

It is impossible in a rapidly changing world to use sales techniques that were written 20-30 years ago. Yes! The base, of course, is one and the same, but the mechanisms, processes, scripts, “chips”, approaches must change and evolve. 

It's like a car that has a base in the form of a body, but the suspension, engine, fuel and exhaust systems are constantly being improved.

The article will discuss how to get the maximum result and return on your actions in an 8-hour working day. I firmly believe that every employee who consciously works in the company tries to surpass himself, his performance day by day. 

But more and more I find that this is not the case. There are many different studies on how many hours an employee can work effectively. I’m not going to refute them. 

How a Sales Manager Climb the Career Ladder

In the article, I share my experience, how structuring working time helped me and what came of it. Looking ahead, I will say that it was after the introduction of this technique that I grew from a sales manager in the ROP (head of sales).

So, make yourself comfortable, happy reading!

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Proactivity and motivation

Something must move you. There should be an image, imagining which you feel that the heart in the chest begins to beat faster, and everything inside seems to turn into small motors, working faster and faster. 

You can’t just take it and start living differently tomorrow. You need some kind of overhead. It can be tangible - buying a house or apartment for your family or parents - or intangible - becoming the best in a department or getting a promotion, becoming a thought leader in your industry, etc.

After you understand what drives you, what charges you, you need to determine the timing. The same favorite deadline of all of us. Any goal must be limited in time. Let’s say you set out to get a promotion in a year. You want to become a ROP. Fine!

Sales Manager Climb the Career Ladder - Proactivity and motivation

Once you have set a goal, set a deadline, it’s time to ask yourself the question – WHY? And by answering this question honestly, you will understand whether this goal ignites you or not. 

If you just want it, because everyone from your environment wants it, so-so story. Most likely, in 3-6 months you will turn off the intended path. 

It’s another matter if the answer to the question is “I want to develop in sales / develop personally / become a professional in my industry / implement big strategic goals in the company / I want my opinion to mean something in the professional community / I want to see the result of my work and be proud of it.” Such answers are ok. This is the right step towards your goal.

There is a goal! What do we do?

Any great achievement is ALWAYS a jigsaw puzzle. Therefore, we will continue to delve deeper into the details.

We need point A. It is standard. You are an employee of a company. You have 5 working days a week and 8 hours of working time daily. You need to ask yourself the question: “How can I make the most efficient use of my working time?” In general, any progress, any discovery or achievement is a set of correct questions asked to oneself. All questions must be answered as honestly as possible.

Point B is to become the head of the sales department.
To get started, go to any job search site and look for 5-10 vacancies for the position of ROP. Learn what responsibilities lie with the ROP and what competencies it needs. Fix. My experience shows that the main competencies of the ROP are:

– consistency

– proactivity

– empathy

– desire to lead people

– heightened sense of responsibility

– strategic thinking

– personal example

– work with numbers

We decomposed our goal, and it became a little clearer. Now you need to not just blindly run to sell something to someone, but more. The following questions need to be answered:

  • Who am I selling to? Why these particular clients?
  • How can I sell 50% more? What actions do I need to take?
  • Can I scale my sales methodology?
  • What if my customer base is gone tomorrow? Where can I get new clients?
You can apply a cheat code. If everything is good in your company with career growth, then you can come to your manager or owner and say: “Ivan Petrovich, I know how to increase sales by 1.5–2 times in 3 months. 

I intend to implement this plan using steps 1, 2, and 3. If I do this and prove that I can scale my methodology, can I qualify for a promotion?

You may find this daring. By no means! You can’t even imagine the shortage of professional managers in the labor market. Owners sleep and see that they have a ROP who takes the initiative, takes responsibility, and even knows how to manage and influence sales. Therefore, if your CEO or leader wants to scale his business, he will definitely appreciate your zeal.

Ready set Go!

There is an inspiring goal, now you need to make sure that your daily work routine brings you closer to the goal. The main tasks of a sales manager are communicating with customers and closing deals. The metrics you have are the starting point. You need to work on them and show a cool result, which in the future, becoming a leader, you can scale.

Often, employees randomly switch between tasks, get distracted by conversations with colleagues, or perform actions that give a minimum of results. In order for you to understand what actions give the maximum result, you need to fix them. About everything in more detail.

The first thing you need to do is to break the day into time blocks and write in each block the action that you do in this block.

Do not forget about rest and lunch time. When I was cold calling, I had two 20-minute breaks. From 11:00 to 11:20 and from 16:00 to 16:20. And a break for lunch from 13:00 to 13:45. Often, rest and lunch are not fixed in the time plan of the day – this is a mistake.

We made a plan for the day, broke it into blocks. Why is this needed? As you know, the most effective work is done in a state of flow, when we are maximally involved in one process and nothing distracts us. Therefore, one action must be entered in each time block.

If you work on cold calls, then keep in mind that the time from 9:00 to 11:00 for calls is inefficient. The time from 13:00 to 15:00 is also inefficient, since employees most often have lunch at this time.

In 2021, many companies have switched to remote work and a flexible start of the working day. Therefore, your decision makers at 10:00 may still not work and will not pick up the phone. It is also worth considering the days themselves. Monday and Friday are often the most unproductive for calls. Mondays are usually meetings and planning of the working week. On Friday, everyone tries to close overdue tasks for the week. Therefore, focus on calls on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

We still have intervals for calls from 11:00 to 13:00 and from 15:00 to 18:00. This is quite enough.

If you call between 11:00 and 13:00, then do nothing else. If suddenly in a conversation the decision maker says to you: “Good! Send me a commercial offer”, there is no need to rush to draw up and send him a quotation. Do it calmly at the time allotted for sending the CP. So you will not have defocusing and throwing from one thing to another. The flow state is very important, especially when you are making a call.

Measured Efficiency

It is important not only to do one action at a time, but also to fix how this action affects the result. It may turn out that you call for 2 hours, but in the end you talked to only one decision maker or did not make any appointments.

First, you need an up-to-date base of “live” and prospective clients.

Secondly, you need to record how many calls you made / how many companies you got through / how many decision makers you talked to and how many meetings you made / how many decision makers agreed to send a quotation.

I recommend measuring weekly. You measured the first week and got nth indicators. Try to increase the number of calls by 30% next week. See how this affects the subsequent stages of the funnel. If the number of calls cannot be physically increased, try using a different call script or different objection handling. In other words, expand the deeper stages of the funnel.

For the 3rd week, try to work with a different base or a different segment of clients – larger or smaller. Be sure to record your results.

By digitizing every step and every stage of the funnel, you can absolutely and transparently influence your sales.

You will answer the following questions:

– How many calls do you need to make 5 appointments?

– How many meetings do you need to make 3 deals?

– What customers should be in the database to make 3 sales?

With these indicators in the future, you can come to the head and show the result. The most important thing is not only to show, but also to prove that your model is working and you thoroughly know how to influence the indicators.

It would seem that such a trifle as structuring your working time does not greatly affect the result, but this is a delusion. As soon as you put everything on the shelves, record actions and measure performance, your sales will show an increase. 

You will understand how to influence performance and results, and, of course, you will achieve the goal that you set for yourself: get a promotion!

Conclusions and recommendations

  • You can structure the working day by time and tasks both in the diary and in any program designed for this. Bitrix24 / Google Calendar, etc.
  • Record your actions and the result obtained where it can be done as simply as possible. Let’s say Google Sheets.
  • When you make calls, put your smartphone on silent mode so that nothing distracts you.
  • One action = one time block.
  • Once every 2 weeks, do retrospectives on indicators, fix what has changed and why.
  • Make a presentation and talk about your new methods in front of colleagues or in front of the household. This way you will better understand where your strengths and weaknesses are in the workflow. There may be questions that you don’t know the answer to.
  • If your working day starts at 10:00 am, please arrive early. For example, at 9:40. So you calmly prepare for the working day, drink coffee, structure the day, etc. At 10:00 you will already start working.

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