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How To Plan And Prioritize Your Time As A New Sales Manager

May 30, 2008
Plan and prioritize your time! was the first instruction ever given to me by my very first sales manager. He was ex army and I was fresh out of
university.

I had a whole lot of enthusiasm and not much else. He had the experience, though maybe not the best coaching skills.

I laugh now about how bad I was. I can honestly say planning was one of the best and most productive skills I ever learnt.

Time management and organization are like evergreen trees- they never lose their importance and are frequently discussed topics in managing a sales team.

With the economy the way it is it is so easy to panic and run around,trying to do every thing. Where as, if you take time to sit down and really think about what you want to achieve, your focus and results can't help but happen.

Everyone tends to understand that the key ingredient to living a life that is less stressful, moreenjoyable and one that allows you to find the time to fit everything into a jam-packed schedule is proper planning and prioritizing of your time.

What most people don't seem to know is how to make that happen!

How can you prioritize your work and tasks so that you have enough time for it all, and still keep your sanity?

Get a Calendar/Planner/Diary

Regardless of what you call it, you need to have some sort of calendar that you use to plan out your time.

Preferably one that you can carry around with you, and physically write in- but some people might find the digital versions to be just as effective.

The trend is for everything electronic. It doesn't really matter as long as it happens. You might be surprised to know that I have actually gone back to a page a day large diary.

Its great to be able to write things down quickly. The bonus is psychologically I feel great to when I see how much I have got through.

The night before each day, take 15 minutes to plan the following day.

Using To-Do Lists Effectively.

Making a list of 50 things that need to be done is not the best use of your time; nor will it actually help you manage your time better.

I follow a great tip that you will find in a number of books. Look at your major goals that you want to achieve say over the next 90 days.

Focus on your top five.

You could make these business or a mix of business and personal. Then committ to do something each day with each one. It could be minor.

Let me give you an example. Say you decide that you want to have a team vision by the end of the 90 days.

So your week might look like this:

Day 1: Decide and brain storm all the positive things about having a vision.Set your outcome.

Day 2: Research in full the company vision and how that could translate to your team.

Day 3: Email your boss to let them know what you are
doing.

Day 4: Plan out an email to the team

Day 5: Email the team to test the water

Each of these things won't take long. Do these for each of your goals and you will be astounded how quick things happen.

A great top tip is when creating your list of things to do. Be realistic on how longs thing take. I have a theory that at birth all sales managers have a chip that is planted.

This makes us think we are superhuman. Fast does not always mean best.

Prioritise Tasks

Most Sales Managers are overwhelmed with a large number of activities that need to be done on a regular basis.

The best way to effectively plan your time and keep things under control is to prioritise the tasks according to their level of importance.

When working through the creation of your to-do list; you would want to schedule your urgent, or most important tasks for earlier in the day, to make sure they get completed.

As the day goes on, unexpected interuptions may cause some of your tasks to go undone; so it's always a good idea to do the most pressing activities before doing those that are not quite as important.

It also has a psychological effect.It gives an energy boost.
To be technical its actually an energy release.
Think of how you feel when you have gone through your expenses finally and they are emailed or posted to the boss. Feels great don't you think?

Delegate, Do, or Schedule

You've no doubt heard the saying:
Don't put off til tomorrow what can be done today.

While this is true for avoiding procrastination, there is nothing wrong with scheduling less-urgent tasks for a later day or time- as long as you are actually scheduling them to be done and not just avoiding them!

When things come up during the day that you can do in under two minutes, just do them right away.

This could be answering an email, filing information, or putting a client's folder in the file cabinet(versus setting it on the desk to do later!)

If there are tasks that you are faced with completing that someone else on your team could do just as well- quickly delegate those items to the proper people with a scheduled deadline for completion.

This only works effectively if you don't have to spend as much time explaining the project as you would just completing it yourself, so make sure the activity is really something that can be delegated before passing it off.

The keys to successful delegation are that the person is capable of completing the work; they know when it's due and will keep to that deadline; and it is a task that delegation results in giving you time to work on a more urgent matter.
About the Author
Denise Oyston is a performance consultant, trainer and winner of two national sales manager awards.

She now specialises in developing new sales managers. To access her free e course on how to overcome the 7 mistakes all new managers make go to http://www.NewManagerSecrets.com
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