By Nick Hedges of Velocify
Small businesses with limited resources have always idolized the idea of multitasking. Particularly in the sales department, high performance is often measured by the ability to multitask well.
(Photo courtesy of Nick Hedges)
With the latest developments in marketing technologies, marketers have become better at funneling leads in, resulting in an increased workload for sales reps. These tasks range from handling incoming calls, sorting through new lead lists, scheduling follow up appointments, managing administrative tasks, and more. Unsurprisingly, multitasking seems like the answer for those who want to get more done, faster.
However, I believe multitasking is completely overrated as a skill and opens the doors to making many more mistakes. The key to success in a fast-paced sales environment is dedicated prioritization. But first, let’s look at why multitasking might not be the best long-term strategy.
Does multitasking solve or create more problems?
The last decade has been one of the most innovative times for the sales industry. Due to advancements in customer relationship management (CRM) systems as well as marketing and sales technologies, there is an influx of new leads today. Access to new data aggregated from these systems enable sales techniques to be increasingly personalized.
However, while process of acquiring and implementing the data is a task that sales reps were not hired to do, it has become a big part of their role. According to research by Sibson Consulting, the average-performing sales rep spends 65 percent of their time on non-selling activities. Unfortunately, the American Psychological Association has found an estimated 40 percent of a person’s productive time is lost switching between tasks. These findings make it clear that while new technologies have brought substantial improvements, they have also left major areas for improvement.
Due to the fast-paced, competitive nature of high-velocity sales environments, there has never been a greater need for solutions that drive efficiencies and enable companies to increase revenue. Now more than ever, sales reps need to simplify the process, or else they will continue to spend countless hours busying themselves with tasks that are distracting them from the true job at hand — selling. Recent Stanford research found that people who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information do not pay attention, control their memory, or switch from one job to another as well as those who focus on one task at a time. Now is the time to stop multitasking and focus on prioritizing.
Prioritization is key.
Selling is more than a numbers game; it’s about being more intelligent and controlled in one’s sales tactic. Now sales execs have a wealth of new solutions that have emerged over the last few years that help their sales team prioritize the highest-value tasks, and transfer the majority of the administrative assignments to software. Once solutions such as predictive analytics, business intelligence and sales intelligence tools are in place, sales reps can implement an automated prioritization strategy to support and increase productivity and performance.
A recent study on automatic prioritization found that salespeople who leveraged prioritization solutions were able to manage 12 percent more prospects per salesperson than those that didn’t. During the same time period, salespeople who used prioritization made 33 percent more contact attempts per lead and 22 percent more actions per lead. Moreover, companies using prioritization averaged conversion rates that were 178 percent greater than companies that did not.
Utilizing prioritization enables salespeople to manage more leads and provide an enhanced experience for prospective customers, leading to a higher likelihood of conversion. Organizations that have an established automated strategy will see an increase in ROI due to the proven, consistent and actionable selling practices put in place from the use of simplified sales solutions.
Nick Hedges is president and CEO at Velocify and a 15 year veteran of the Internet and software as a service (SaaS) industry. Nick joined Velocify in 2008 as SVP of business development and then held various roles at the company, including head of sales and chief revenue officer, prior to becoming CEO in 2011.
The views, opinions and positions expressed within this guest post are those of the authors alone and do not represent those of CBS Small Business Pulse or the CBS Corporation. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are verified solely by the authors.