Inside sales managers notoriously have too much to do, and not enough time to do it.
With so much time spent managing reps and reporting to directors, unfortunately little time is allotted for honing skills and time saving tactics to actually solve the issues at hand that are chewing up hours every day. It’s a vicious cycle.
If this sounds like you (or your managers) — don’t panic! We’ve put together this guide to some tried and true skills and tactics that save inside sales managers time, money, and energy.
6 Pitfalls & Red Flags for Inside Sales Managers
Once managers get a hang of prioritizing their tasks, both reactive and proactive, there are still some common indicators that a manager is being distracted from focusing on their priorities and goal achievement.
This looks like:
- Managers spending a lot of time bouncing from rep to rep or department to department
- A long line up of reps at the managers desk
- Missed deadlines and slow response times to important issues
- Managers spending extended amounts of time emailing or reporting
- Managers working long hours and becoming frustrated
- Managers who have inconsistent results and are not hitting the goals set with their directors
When you notice managers exhibiting these red flags, they might need to spend some time focusing on learning how to properly organize their tasks and make better use of their days.
Fix #1: Focus on Proactivity = Productivity
One of the biggest issues that sales managers face is identifying tasks that are urgent and important, and prioritizing them in order to have an efficient day.
Proactive tasks are ones that drive the numbers up and move the team ahead. Reactive tasks are ones that pop up unaccounted for and pull managers away from those proactive tasks, ultimately derailing the achievement of the manager’s personal and sales goals.
While reactive tasks are not entirely unavoidable, one tip from the pros is to set aside a block during the day to deal with these tasks. It’s also important to block off time to handle proactive tasks as well, since those are the ones moving the needle.
This enables the manager to spend time organizing and prioritizing the tasks and spending dedicated time delving into them, rather than spending all day running around reacting to things as they pop up.
Managers can follow this simple 3 step process while organizing tasks:
- Identifying what needs to be done
- Categorizing in order of urgency and importance
- Properly responding to requests during the allotted block
If managers are having a hard time determining priority, have them utilize this quadrant:
If that still isn’t helping, try having them take the “Own Your Day” course in The Sales Bar. They’ll pick up tactics to help them organize and prioritize, as well as respond to rep requests.
You know a manager has mastered this concept when they begin to demonstrate a few behaviors:
- They have time set aside for all urgent / important priorities
- The team understands when and how to communicate with their manager
- They are confidently leading their team
- Improved morale between them, other managers, and the reps
- Improved consistency in forecasting and results
- Timely response to urgent issues and active reprioritizing of non-urgent tasks
- They have a better work life balance
Fix #2: Coach By Questioning
During your manager coaching sessions, tease out where the issues are by asking questions that will make your managers think.
These questions include:
- What are your personal goals?
- What are your top priorities with your team?
- How much time are you spending on emailing / reporting per day?
- What was the most impactful thing you accomplished yesterday? Why?
- What time do you get in and leave each day?
- If you could change one thing about today, what would it have been?
As a director, these questions can help you get to the bottom of where your managers are getting hung up and misusing their time. It also helps remind them of the goals you’ve set in past coaching sessions, and helps them stay on track.
The Secret to How Other Sales Managers Are Saving Time
Along with the “Own Your Day” Course on The Sales Bar, there are plenty of resources that are directed at helping managers save time and check the boxes on their most important tasks.
These resources help with running pipeline meetings, conducting sales 1:1s, best practices for driving sales performance, activities for your huddles, contests, even coaching guides and questions to ask for top rep skill gaps.
If some sales management job training and tools can save you time, check out The Sales Bar and get unlimited training, tools, even live events for a low monthly price.