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Not all work needs to be done.

Some work should be ignored.

Only do that work which is important.

Sound familiar?  Simple enough, right? Now that we have it all figured out, salespeople can be more productive and we can call it a day.

Well… not quite. Were you really thinking it was going to be that simple?  Although there are many ways to increase your productivity, let’s just focus on that first statement.

Not all work needs to be done.

Even if salespeople have heard the tip, many don’t truly want to put it in action. And they are missing out on how it can genuinely improve their sales motivation.

Here’s the deal — too many salespeople spend far too much time doing anything but the work they need to do to be productive.  They know what work they need to do, and when really pushed, they know why they should be doing it.

But they simply choose not to do it.


They would rather spend time doing other things and lull themselves into the lie that they are really busy and don’t have time to do the work that yields the better results.  The things they should be working on are typically the things they feel are harder and more painful, and even if they are eventually more fruitful, the salesperson still doesn’t want to do them.  Plain and simple.

Let’s face it, activities like prospecting, following up on customer issues, dealing with invoicing or sorting out supply-chain concerns are tasks many salespeople just don’t like doing.  Sadly, many salespeople just don’t do them when they most need to.

And sometimes the salespeople stop in their tracks in becoming more productive because they think they have to instantly have a dramatic improvement for it even to be worth it to try. Truth is, if we were to try and make every salesperson 100% productive, I doubt we would be successful.

A better goal is that a salesperson would improve their productivity by 10%.

Think about  that for a moment. Can you imagine how much more you would be able to accomplish if you had an extra ½ day per week or 5 weeks per year?  I know I would be able to complete a significantly greater number of sales.

The key then in finding ways to improve our productivity by 10% is to find either one or two big things we can stop doing or a number of other things we can do faster.

Here’s where the opening sentence in this article comes into play — Not all work needs to be done.

Some work just isn’t serving any valid purpose and needs to be stopped.

What I’m about to say is going to get me in trouble with many sales managers, but I’ll say it anyway.  What is the real purpose of the weekly recap email your boss asks you to submit each Friday afternoon?  Maybe there is a purpose, but go ahead and challenge the reason.   Maybe you’ll come up with a faster way to provide the information and uncover a better solution that each salesperson will benefit from.

The same approach should be taken to every other piece of information you’re asked to provide to somebody in your company.

If you’re a sales manager reading this, take this on as a personal mission for your team.    With you driving the process, you may find ways to reduce or alter the amount of time your salespeople are wasting on meaningless reports and so on, thereby creating the equivalent of a new full-time salesperson.

Now that you’ve looked inside, ask yourself to look outside and challenge yourself to substantiate everything you do for your customers.

If you’re in a key account management role with a couple of large key accounts, there are undoubtedly things you’re doing for them that are simply not needed or could easily be outsourced or delegated.  By taking the time to ask them what they do with the information provide, you will quickly uncover tasks you could stop doing.

Finding ways to increase your productivity is not that difficult.

It all starts with asking yourself one question. Why?

Why are you doing a particular task?  Does it even need to be done?

Take this same principal and apply it to the processes or tasks you do for yourself that really don’t lend themselves to more productivity.  For example, some salespeople have certain organization processes in place that just make them feel productive, but they really aren’t resulting in more sales and more profit.

When you are willing to push yourself and seek out ways to genuinely increase your productivity in areas that count most, you’ll find things you can eliminate that are gobbling up precious time.

The goal is simple — Increase  your productivity by 10% and then apply that 10% to high-return activities (like the ones you’ve been putting off).  You’ll not only increase your profits, you’ll build momentum in your sales motivation as well.

Copyright 2011, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.

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