We all know how busy the lives of salespeople can be. The amount of time they devote to deal with clients is insane. And without the proper approach, it’s almost impossible to make it 100% productive, especially in these strange times that forced us to change the habits we’ve built over the years.
So, how to squeeze the most of our time working as remote sales reps? I hope these time management tips will help you!
- What’s behind the recent popularity of remote work?
- Pros and cons of working remotely as a sales rep
- 10 tips to succeed as a remote sales rep
What’s behind the recent popularity of remote work?
It’s not that remote working is something particularly new. Quite the contrary, its popularity has grown steadily together with Internet access becoming more common.
The lockdown we’ve been experiencing since last year’s pandemic outburst only showed the companies there’s nothing to be afraid of when switching to a remote workstyle.
The same goes for the workforce — research shows that employees of many professions are now more willing to perform their duties entirely at home. In fact, 65% of respondents want to remain full-remote after the pandemic ends.
Pros and cons of working remotely as a sales rep
Salespeople working at home are struggling with similar issues as other professionals. According to the Remote Communication Report, the most often common cons of remote jobs are:
- Lack of face-to-face contact with coworkers (47%),
- Unclear messages and expectations caused by the asynchronous collaboration (24.9%),
- More work at home than in the office (32,8%),
- Lack of separate space at home just for work (52%).
However, last year convinced a lot of us that working from home is a pretty convenient option. Remote professionals mostly appreciate such pros:
- Lack of commute and lower expenses (72,9%),
- Flexible work hours and location (68,4%),
- Spending more time with the close ones (45%)*.
Note: Results are based on the questionnaire asked by TimeCamp, answered by 600 users.
There are always two sides of the same coin, and while many people want to stay at home, others miss the work style they’ve had before.
That’s why I prepared a bunch of tips for both those who struggle with proper time management and those who want to perform even better while working at home.
10 tips to succeed as a remote sales rep
As I mentioned before, I know we all maintain different work styles; however, I hope these simple tips will help you manage your time more effectively while working remotely.
Try to separate work and private life
I know everyone has different social conditions; that’s why I mentioned “try” at the beginning of the heading.
Many remote sales professionals share the same place with their partners, working with them simultaneously, or with kids who have online lessons. It creates chaos that is difficult to deal with without creating a tight schedule.
But on the other hand, I can say that living alone doesn’t make separating private life from work a lot easier. Sure, you don’t have to split your time and attention between work-related responsibilities and household chores. However, the exposure to distractors is relatively high.
What’s more, remote employees often deal with mischievous comments, like, “Oh, you’re working? I thought you’re free, because you’re on the computer all the time.” And yes, some people still think that remote work means you’re on an endless vacation without tons of responsibilities.
Remember, you don’t need to prove to anyone except your team how productive you are. Stick to the schedule, meet deadlines, and let your work results speak for themselves.
Take advantage of collaboration apps
Asynchronous communication requires hi-tech solutions. The days of running errands via phone calls or an endless chain of emails are over. Now, it’s the golden era of SaaS tools that support effective team work.
First, collaboration software is perfect for (remote) sales teams because of its high functionality. Most such tools offer task management as their primary feature and ensure users have easy access to team chats and 1-1 messages.
This combination will save you much time because there’s no need to jump between two separate tools to collaborate effectively. All the sales reps’ essentials — like boards with tasks, team and private conversations, and documents — are stored in one, easily accessible place.
What’s more, you can automate the process, integrating collaboration tools with the CRM system used in your company.
If you’re not sure what colloboration apps will suit your team, try some of these:
An easy virtual whiteboard for team collaboration and individual work. You can keep your online notes, create mind maps, improve team engagement with comments, and create boards for any subject. Besides, the tool is easy-to-use both on the desktop and mobile.
This comprehensive sales management tool keeps you up to date with changes in your sales pipeline and guides you step by step through the sales process. It’s effortless to use and recommended for teams, no matter their size.
This business management suite has extensive CRM features. It gives you a complete overview of your customers. It also enhances the marketing teams’ workflow by helping create an engaging customer journey.
A leader in CRM software, it provides its users with numbers essential for successful lead management. The tool can be of huge help to sales teams who want to stay on the same page thanks to the extensive collaboration feature.
This easy-to-use pipeline management app is a part of the sales productivity suite. It successfully reduces friction between all the sales process steps and helps you keep the customers’ data in one place.
Create and maintain a daily routine
One of the most often mentioned time management tips is having a clear day schedule. Sure, it’s easy to sit and write down the perfectly made hour-by-hour plan for the entire week.
Unfortunately, I’m 100% sure that most of us would stick to it on Monday, maybe Tuesday. But on Friday? Completely forgotten.
That’s why when I’m talking about routine, I’d like to encourage you to group similar activities into separate blocks and set them on the daily and weekly timeline. It wouldn’t be so challenging since many sales reps’ activities are repeatable.
Also, set priorities — you should adjust this plan to your call and meeting schedule; prospects always come first.
As mentioned before, take advantage of the technology and manage your schedule using cloud tools like Asana, Trello, Todoist, or HeySpace. They all use different management methods and help you prioritize daily assignments.
Be clear in your messages
No doubt, asynchronous communication is effective and productive; however, it requires the highest level of clarity.
Being in the office allows us to hold discussions with teammates whenever we want. Using task management tools or other remote collaboration methods sometimes slows the feedback significantly. We can’t expect that the person on the other side of the device will respond immediately.
But as long as we explain our issues as much as possible, we can avoid wasting time handling unnecessary misunderstandings. Whether we’re communicating face-to-face or asynchronously, the mistakes can still cost us a deal.
Track your work time
Knowing how much time we usually spend on daily activities is priceless for effective time management.
Sales reps perform lots of repetitive tasks, and it’s easy to log hours for each activity with a good time tracker free app. And it’s even better if the entire company uses the same tool to automate this process because it clearly shows the team’s performance.
Choose a time tracker packed with robust reporting. Based on the tracked hours, the reports point exactly which activities consume most of our work time. Knowing what we’re wasting time on improves productivity and leads straight to the higher quality of our services.
Good time tracking software also enhances sales teams with attendance features. Working at home requires special treatment when it comes to employee presence and absence.
Use software to track different types of working days and manage employees’ timesheets — approve or reject them. What’s more, such a tool, combined with billing rates, works as payroll software and streamlines the accounting issues at your company.
Find a place to work at home
Naturally, we all maintain different social and economic conditions, so it’s hard to expect everyone to find an extra room at their house or apartment to turn it into a private office. Especially when we have to share the same space with our partner or kids attending online classes.
It often ends with sitting on the couch during the entire work time. It not only affects our physical health in the wrong way but also makes us less productive. Why? Because we are used to thinking about the couch as a place to relax, not to stay focused, working so hard.
That’s why if you can’t afford a separate workspace like a desk, I highly encourage you to use a flat surface that’s available at your home. The dinner table will be perfect, but the kitchen worktop also works well (try to avoid using it while cooking though, the device you use will appreciate it).
A place with a desk will work as your office. Besides, it’s way more ergonomic than sitting on the couch, for both you and your device.
Take care of good WIFI connection
Modern remote sales professionals use different software: CRM, videoconferencing, time management, and everyday task organization tools. Putting them to good use requires knowing how to use them and a high-quality Internet connection.
No one likes it when an online meeting ends in the middle of discussion because of the unexpected shortage. Choose a reliable Internet provider which services are available in your area.
But before that, conduct deep market research and find the offer with the best price-performance ratio. Others’ reviews will also be insightful.
Take regular breaks
No one can work 8-10 hours per day and expect themselves to be fully productive. That’s why I encourage you to take a break regularly, for example, five minutes per hour or after finishing a task.
It’s one of the most often mentioned productivity tips; however, if maintained, it works wonders. It gives our brains time to regenerate and gain energy for the following activities. Take advantage of remote work and schedule a small coffee break on your couch between the calls!
If you’re a person who gets distracted quickly, then high five! I can do multiple things simultaneously (with good results!), but once I hear my phone buzzing, I’m done with staying perfectly focused.
That’s why, a long time ago, I introduced “quiet hours” to my schedule — the time when the sounds are entirely off, and the smartphone is out of my sight. My team knows about that, and if they want something from me urgently, they should push me on our collaboration tool, HeySpace.
This system helps me find productive time throughout the day, avoid distractions, and get the work done on time.
Don’t forget about your teammates
Working from home reduces face-to-face meetings to the necessary minimum and introduces teams to asynchronous communication. Of course, it’s still 100% effective; however, we stop seeing our teammates daily, making us more self-oriented. The result is we often act on our own, thinking we’ll get the work done faster.
But even though we’re not in the office, we still have the responsibilities as a team. Teamwork ensures overall productivity and makes meeting deadlines more real. Small steps will be appreciated: using a calendar for events and meetings with customers, attending team and company calls, and giving regular updates on tasks you perform.
Wrapping it up
No matter the time management strategy we choose, the best way to perform effectively as remote sales professionals is to do our job and do it well.
Don’t let others tell you that remote work means you’re on an endless vacation — it sure equals sitting 8 hours per day in the office. Duties are the same; just the environment has changed.