Effective sales time management: How to optimize your team's productivity

Liam Costello by Liam Costello on March 21, 2024  |  10 minute read

A lot goes into sales. Closing deals, marketing, selling, and administrative work. So, time management for salespeople should be a priority, or there will never be enough time to do everything.

Take, for instance, John's service company. It's an established company that serves a vast clientele base. One problem, though, is that John wonders if he should hire more salespeople as the current ones never seem to meet all clients' needs. And when they do, it's barely within the expected timelines.

Could it be a problem with time management for sales? If so, John's business, like many others, faces time management challenges for its sales teams. Learning to optimize a team's time is a great way to serve clients better and generate more revenue.

What if there's a way to manage your salespeople's time without the extra cost of hiring more? Let's find the easier route to time management for sales professionals and how businesses can achieve it.

The importance of time management for your sales team

Most times, what sales reps spend their time doing is what brings the revenue that supports a business. So, time management for them can be the difference between closing a critical deal and losing it.

Time management is challenging for salespeople, with many dedicating only 20% of their time to meaningful tasks. Understandably, they have a busy schedule that involves making sales pitches, selling, and developing rapport with prospects.

Picture a sales rep who has to do all that and still make negotiations on behalf of a company, achieve sales targets, and keep client records. These are overwhelming schedules, even with the Eisenhower Matrix!

Imagine a scenario where someone visits a government office for a quick paperwork task, only to find themselves stuck in a slow-moving line, watching the hours tick by until it's unexpectedly evening. This situation is humorously exaggerated but resonates with many salespeople, as some seemingly straightforward tasks can suddenly consume an entire day. The good news is that your sales can manage their time, still achieve their KPIs, and create healthy work habits.

It goes without saying that equipping salespeople with practical time management skills is essential. By mastering time management for sales professionals, teams can accomplish more in less time, protecting your business from potential revenue losses.

How much time should field sales travel?

Some field sales reps travel more than others, facing the challenge of managing their schedules across different time zones. Travel is crucial for salespeople to engage directly with clients despite it often resulting in significant time spent on the road.

In addition to client meetings, sales reps travel for internal meetings to pursue potential leads. Meeting clients in person is vital, as it boasts a 40% higher deal closing rate than those selling from inside the office. However, time management for sales can be challenging as 60% of customers only say yes after the fifth visit.

Route planning software boosts field sales productivity

Depending on a customer's location, a sales rep can travel for 20 or 200 minutes. Some travel time can be shorter, especially when the target client is within the locality. However, sales reps may need to travel more extensively for international clients.

Although travel time for salespeople varies depending on the territory, businesses should aim to minimize that time as every minute spent on the road could be spent closing deals. Proper time management also translates to improved productivity for the salespeople and reduced operational costs.

Time and territory management in sales allows salespeople to offer better customer service, which builds customer relationships. With reduced travel time, sales reps address customer needs and provide timely solutions. It's a win-win situation!

7 effective sales time management strategies

Let’s circle back to John’s service company. If his sales reps spend most of their time in activities that don't generate income, it could be a problem. Many other salespeople report spending 64.8% of their time on activities other than selling.

Whether it's time spent on the road or analyzing data, it's critical to reevaluate your strategies for time management for sales reps. As a business, you can empower your sales team by implementing effective time management in sales with these strategies.

1. Use a drive time analysis tool

The sales environment is genuinely demanding, but why should your salespeople work harder when they can work smarter with a drive time analysis tool? It streamlines time and territory management in sales. And it gets better.

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Your sales reps no longer have to drive back and forth unnecessarily as the drive time analysis tool identifies potential customers' locations. By quickly finding customers, they reduce the time spent analyzing drive time and operate efficiently.

Interestingly, the average American wastes approximately 54 hours in traffic every year, but your reps don’t have to be a part of this statistic. The tool also allows your salespeople to be on the road only to make sales.

With today's unpredictable road challenges, nothing can feel more empowering than drive-time software. Sales reps can use drive tools with algorithms that predict road changes to navigate issues like traffic congestion, road closures, and weather changes.

What's more, even if customers cancel or change meeting times, sales reps can make informed decisions before traveling. These analysis tools are nothing like consumer-level GPS mapping apps, as they eliminate more travel challenges through route optimization.

Your sales reps don't have to be in the statistics of drivers who lose many hours in traffic jams. Streamline yoursales time management with mapping software that automatically calculates the most efficient routes between appointments.

2. Optimize their routes

Conventional route planning methods have challenges and no longer work for any business aiming to generate more revenue. Route software has advanced features that eliminate those challenges by offering accurate ETA and better visibility of routes. This allows sales reps to serve more customers within a shorter time.

If your sales reps spend time juggling other priorities and finding ideal routes, they may miss appointments and even sales opportunities. However, incorporating route software in your technology can be the game-changing strategy your salespeople need.

Optimizing routes means optimized time management for sales and a swift operations flow. With sales reps needing to travel to different routes to meet various clients, the best strategy is to find an easier way.

Empowering your salespeople with route optimization software helps them stay ahead through better planning and prioritization. This enables them to discover the most efficient routes and avoid unexpected road delays.

An efficient route also reduces fuel expenses and improves sales and time management. Your salespeople can channel the saved hours to increase sales and nurture customer relationships.

Additionally, route optimization software allows short turnaround times for service delivery, which builds customer confidence. This leads to a higher retention rate, which is every company's goal. Using the software causes a ripple effect on time management, sales, customer service, and satisfaction.

3. Use a territory map maker

If you want to get the most from your sales team, move up from spreadsheets and paper maps when managing territories. Territory mapping software helps organize your prospects and customers by location, product, or industry, making it easier to reach them.

Effective organization enhances sales performance by simplifying time and territory management in sales. Managing sales without territory maps can be difficult to navigate, and you'll lose resources faster than you generate revenue.

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Territory mapping software helps your sales team focus on essential areas and meet their targets. It also ensures they don't miss any appointments.

Poorly organized territories result in unbalanced workloads and marginalization of potential customers. Leverage territory mapping software to assign sales reps tasks that align with their expertise strategically.

Without mapping software, some sales reps might have too many tasks while others have too few. This can lead to some feeling overwhelmed and less productive. Territory mapping software solves these problems. It helps your sales team share important details about the market, various territories, and customer interactions, boosting everyone's effectiveness.

4. Outsource their administrative tasks

Administrative tasks often take up the most time in any business. Salespeople spend considerable time on administrative tasks, leaving little time for sales. Sound familiar?

For example, accounting consumes 20% of a company's time but doesn't necessarily require an in-house accountant. Outsourcing such tasks is a highly effective strategy for enhancing sales time management.

Every business has tasks that add value and others that don't. Your focus should be on high-value activities like identifying customers, building customer relationships, and sales and marketing. But you can automate and outsource non-value-added tasks like data entry and other copy-paste reports.

Hiring talent to handle the administrative functions will allow your sales reps sufficient time to meet prospects and close deals. Outsourcing frees up your company's resources, allowing sales reps to focus on revenue-generating activities.

In addition, it helps to streamline workflow and optimize time management for sales. External administrators deal with the tasks promptly and professionally, and you will notice a difference in time management sales.

5. Streamline repeatable tasks

If your salespeople aren't making the most of their time and your processes are a bit stuck, consider whether you have repetitive tasks. Most businesses have them, especially in the sales department.

For instance, if your sales reps target customers in a specific niche, creating a new sales pitch for each meeting is unnecessary. Instead, they can adapt and personalize an existing pitch for new clients, saving time and effort.

Identify repetitive tasks and automate them to speed up workflow and improve efficiency. By carefully reviewing and removing unnecessary tasks from your processes, you can concentrate on the work that is truly important to your business.

Streamlining repetitive tasks offers another advantage: it minimizes errors by establishing standardized processes and checklists. Such streamlined procedures ensure consistency and uphold quality standards.

6. Track their time

Time tracking is an excellent idea for time management in sales. Tracking time for your sales team gives you a scope of how much they're working.

Consider automating time tracking to get accurate data and streamline sales processes. Automated time trackers will help record employee working hours, their availability, and any case of burnout. You can also identify time spent on different tasks and activities, which will help make necessary changes.

Your salespeople might find tracking their time motivating. You may even see an increase in their productivity.

7. Monitor and analyze sales data

Consistent monitoring and analysis of data lead to better outcomes. By evaluating your sales, you track progress and understand customer behaviors, best-selling products, and areas for enhancement. 

Sales data provides insight into sales performance and affects your decision-making. The analysis can help you gauge your ideal customers so that your sales reps only chase prospects who are likely to buy. 

Monitoring sales trends enables you to predict customer preferences and reduces the risk of wasted efforts. Identifying popular products allows your salespeople to adjust the inventory and focus on those that meet customer demand.

Data analysis also identifies areas of possible delays and helps save sales time. Businesses are supposed to generate revenue, not lose it. This analysis enables you to understand where losses originate and help mitigate future ones.

Mapping solutions for businesses from eSpatial

Many sales teams find it challenging to manage time well, especially when the workload is so heavy that they can’t spend time on actual selling. eSpatial solves this by improving how sales teams plan their territories and organize their sales activities.

Getting salespeople to manage their time better is critical to success. eSpatial provides tools that help with planning the best routes and analyzing travel times so sales reps can see more clients and increase sales, even with a lot of other work to do.

Our software for mapping territories gives sales teams a bird's-eye view of where they should focus their efforts. By visualizing their territories on a map, sales reps can quickly identify high-potential regions, optimize their travel routes, and strategically plan their visits to reduce time on the road. And there's nothing better than cutting down on travel time to maximize your moments with clients!

Leverage our cutting-edge sales territory planning software and discover how we can help you drive higher sales. Contact us today to get started!



Liam Costello Written by

Liam Costello

Liam is an eSpatial account manager and mapping expert. He specializes in helping businesses solve problems and increase sales through mapping visualization, territory management, route optimization and more. Liam holds a Master's Degree in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing.

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