The Best-Kept Secret of Top Sales Performers

In a study of over 6,000 salespeople, the 'Challenger' style proved to be the most prevalent among high performers. But the truth is that you can find a lot of successful salespeople who aren't necessarily 'Challengers'.  So how do they make things work? [bctt tweet="The Best-Kept Secret of Top Sales Performers, by @JakeTDunlap"]

More often than not, their secret consists in using the single most important nonrenewable resource a salesperson possesses to its full potential—time. Here are my top four sales time management hacks that set A-players apart from the pack.

1. Trust the data

You might have great a great gut feeling but nothing beats good, hard data, so trust it! Great salespeople look at reports of what has been closing and what hasn't and use those insights to inform how they spend their time. They seek out more information and use it to improve their process and outcomes.

[bctt tweet="Great #salespeople use good, hard #data to improve their process, says @JakeTDunlap #optimization"]

Take what we call 'the opportunity velocity report' to find out how long opportunities spend in each stage. If you can analyze this report and find bottlenecks, then it becomes easier to adjust your approach in each phase to decrease sales cycles significantly.

Don’t have any data? Take a look at HubSpot’s general guide to data-driven sales decisions.

2. Disqualify faster

When you have data, you can see where your time is being spent, and most importantly, with whom. Spending time on the wrong prospects can cost you valuable time that could be spent on qualified leads. Your company probably has a system for disqualification, but reps frequently look for any reason to not disqualify a lead as they don't want to lose any perceived opportunity. Good reps do the opposite. They expect the prospect to prove that they're qualified before moving forward with the process. Great reps use a hybrid approach. They have the patience to nurture leads and the discernment to know when to drop them and move forward.

[bctt tweet="The best #SalesReps focus their efforts and know when to disqualify a prospect—@JakeTDunlap"]

3. Find the holes

Every sales machine has 'holes' of low-hanging fruit, but most people aren’t curious or hungry enough to take advantage of them. Think about that vertical or territory that your sales team is ignoring. What about the loophole that customers tend to buy more at different times of the day?  What about the round-robin inbound process? If you come in early and stay late, can you seize these opportunities for yourself? All of these are real 'holes' that I discovered while working in various sales roles. Below is a quick story that highlights the purchase time loophole and how I took advantage of it.

While working for an MLB team and having had a phenomenal sales year, I decided to analyze every deal I had closed, by source and time, to look for patterns that would help me do even better in the next sales year. Through my analysis, I found that there were peak and off-peak hours for inbound calls.

[bctt tweet="#TimeManagement is what sets A players apart from the pack in #sales, says @JakeTDunlap "]

Then I realized that our round-robin inbound phone system would skip salespeople who were already on calls and go straight to the next available rep. By performing all my outbound sales calls during off-peak inbound call times (roughly three or four 45-minute spurts throughout the day), I was completely free during peak inbound call times and upped the quantity of my sales conversations.

More inbound conversations led to more overall sales, which ultimately led to perplexed and somewhat jealous teammates. I even shared my hack with the entire sales team, but even with the proof as clear as daylight, most people shrugged it off as an anomaly and a departure from their daily routines.

The moral of the story isn’t about me getting promoted three times in a year and a half. It’s about looking where no one else is curious enough to look.

[bctt tweet="The key to #sales #success? Looking where no one else is curious enough to look—@JakeTDunlap"]

4. Manage your internal meetings schedule

This might seem like a no-brainer, but most internal meetings suck time and add little value. In fact, they cost US businesses $37 billion in salary dollars. To put it more bluntly, using prime sales call times to sit and talk internally is equal to throwing away money.

[bctt tweet="Using prime sales call times for internal meetings is equal to throwing away money—@JakeTDunlap"]

Schedule many, if not all your internal meetings outside peak call times. Logical times for internal meetings would be very early or late in the day, or any time when your prospects aren’t available.

Time is the one resource we can't make more of, so squeezing value out of every minute is vital to success in sales. Sadly, only one third of the day is spent on selling, which makes it even more difficult to be a top rep. But what separates the great from the good is the lack of fear, an insatiable hunger to find and solve problems, and great sales time management skills.

[bctt tweet="Great #salespeople are fearless, hungry to solve problems, and manage their time well—@JakeTDunlap"]

There are plenty more sales time management and team leadership hacks out there. Connect with me to discuss some of the other opportunities and insights I've found throughout my sales experience.