It might seem odd that the bloke that coined the term “Sales 2.0” is telling you to go easy on the tools you use for selling but that’s the case. Sales 2.0 became synonymous with using technology to sell better. And you can use technology to sell better but you can also use it to sell poorly.
The common problem is that the common tools we’ve developed to make us more productive at work often end up making us less productive.
The four most used tools in social selling can also be some of the biggest time wasters.
Email is an amazing time waster. But it’s addictive. So many of us have fallen in to the trap of overusing email. It’s especially hard in sales as you feel you should be monitoring your email all the time in case a customer needs you.
We treat email as something we need to respond to right away (even though that was not what it was designed for). Our culture has evolved to the point where many people think it’s poor form not to reply to an email within an hour, or worst case a day.
But many of our instant replies then get met with another instant reply. We start playing “email ping pong”. Before we know it, we’ve exchanged 15 emails and spent 30 minutes typing.
Now if this “email ping pong” has closed you a big deal or opened an ideal client account, then it may well be worth it but if you’re emailing with your internal team, you probably should have been prospecting instead.
It’s tough but try turning off your email (on Outlook there is an on/off button) or just don’t open the email program until you are in a good place. Check it only hourly or if you can bear it 3-4 times per day.
If something is really urgent, somebody (even a client!) can call you on the telephone (I mean you have several!).
Turn off those email notifications that pop up to tease you back into your email box and any sounds that go “ping” when emails arrive.
You can write your prospecting emails in batches without your email live; send them all and then respond to emails. Don’t let inbound email mess up your prospecting time, build a time fortress!
2. Smartish phone
These days we all have a computer in our pocket. So now we’re carrying amazing software around with us wherever we go.
The problem is all this software wants our attention. Every software developer would like you to spend more time using their application. The makers of the devices would like our attention too.
All the pings and pop-ups from your phone will distract you too from your main tasks of selling and prospecting. As with email you should turn off as many of them as you can.
CRMs are getting better but they are mostly still a time drag.
“Old-fashioned” CRMs seemed to want to turn sales people into admins. They were greedy for data that it seemed sales people had to type in.
Things have improved, many of the newer systems will “suck in” the basic contact data for you, but still there’s plenty of data your CRM may want you to enter.
The world is very flat these days. There are people all around the planet hoping to get paid small amounts to do your work. When it comes to anything that smells like data entry, you should help them, and you, out and outsource.
If you do a little math you will realize you are way better off spending a little money to gain more time selling. Some of these admin types in other countries are going to cost you $5-$10 per hour. Meanwhile you can pull in many multiples of that amount with just one more deal.
4. Social media
Align the amount of time you spend researching on social media with the importance of the prospect you are researching. You want to be smart for your calls but you don’t want to burn hours of your time each day on research.
Do some testing on the amount of research that is appropriate for your situation. Be agile. Try to find an amount of research time that works for the outcome you want, try it then adjust.
Obvious but worth saying, don’t get sucked into the Facebook vortex of reading friends and families posts when you should be working. Turn off Facebook notifications too.
Sales is a long journey, don’t overpack your tool bag.