Have you ever sat and worked out how much time you’ve spent in your professional life doing routine admin tasks?
You know, those annoying niggly tasks that you don’t want to do, because they don’t bring any real value to your working day, but that you have to do because they are, to some extent, prerequisites for everything else you need to do.
Some of our favourite examples of these tasks include spending time playing calendar tennis – that is, where you ping emails back and forth trying to find a good date and time to meet – answering emails and frequently asked questions from customers (we too used to live by the good ol’ copy and paste), and inputting data into the CRM system so your teams know who and what they’re dealing with. This article lists 6 categories of admin tasks salespeople carry out, and a huge number of tasks within each category. 60% of your time, on average, is given to these tasks alone.
These are important jobs that have to be done, but that don’t always directly link to closing deals. So why waste time on them?
According to Tatu Hukkanen , Client Manager of Leadoo Marketing Technologies, it takes an average of an hour away from every salespersons’ day to juggle with schedules alone. He says he often encounters a problem where the client would be happy to make an appointment, but has no visibility of the sales person’s calendar, in which case he can’t find a good time to meet.
This ends up in a game of ‘calendar tennis’, so described by Tatu: the seller sends schedule suggestions via email, the customer responds with their own schedule suggestions because the seller’s suggestion doesn’t fit, the scheduling messages continue to bounce back and forward like a tennis ball on Centre Court at Wimbledon. At some point, the customer will give up, especially if their desire to meet you wasn’t enthusiastic anyway. Now you’re a prospect down and wondering where it all went wrong.
“If I can somehow reduce the number of other things I have to do during the day, I’ll do it, because getting into the ‘flow’ of sales is especially important. There’s nothing better than that feeling, and nothing worse than facing the brunt of interruptions that stop you from getting into the groove, ”says Tatu.
Quite understandable, really.
What about closing deals - how do you have time for that?
Fear not – we’ve put together 5 handy tips to help you get out of the admin swamp. Even Shrek wouldn’t want to go there. It would be nice not to do them at all, but we know that’s not an option. Instead, we’ve got to prioritise the tasks at hand to make sure we only spend time on the things that are important for us to do.
1. Postpone things that can wait
Postponing things tends to leave us with a bit of a knot in our stomachs. We don’t like being the bearer of bad news that a task needs to be pushed back, but sometimes it needs to be done. Creativity doesn’t come from coercion and sometimes it’s worth focusing on concrete, pragmatic tasks that you can work your way through. Sometimes, in turn, those tasks might require small creative outbursts to take place and provide you with an outlet for this. It’s also worth identifying which tasks you could delegate to a virtual assistant.
Take short breaks in productivity, because in the end, they’re likely to help you stay flexible and be able to switch between tasks requiring different skills. Oh, and obviously make sure you come back after 10 minutes – an hour and a half nap, tempting as it may be, won’t help get your juices flowing.
2. Be protective of your time
Time is money, as the old saying goes. There’s only a certain number of hours in the day – 24 to be precise – and of those we only tend to work between 7 and 10 hours, so it’s important to use them wisely. Ask yourself regularly whether the hours you have spent on a particular task is currently generating results, or income. Prioritisation is again the key here.
“If you schedule two hours on your calendar for booking meetings, and out of that time, an hour goes into reviewing the calendar and writing emails, do you think you reached your goal?” Tatu asks. A great example to consider.
You could also look to automate scheduling and arranging of appointments, which will of course reduce your workload considerably.
3. Think carefully before you commit
A good way to think of this is that you only have a limited amount of time, and so when you are committing to one thing, you’re effectively saying no to something else. If you don’t, you’ll end up with an unmanageable workload. So, now is the time to practice the skill of the tactful ‘no’, and ensure that you don’t end up overstretching yourself just to impress. Nobody is impressed with half-complete projects.
Think carefully about who or what is worth your time. Of course, some things are always worth investing time in, such as your customers, but in an ideal world that would be the only thing we spent time doing – working with them to close deals.
4. Avoid multitasking (if you can help it)
Multitasking is somewhat viewed as a skill – and in some cases, it is. A lady recently gave birth to octuplets. I’m not even sure how she manages to multitask x8 when she only has two hands, but I’m impressed. That kind of multitasking is a serious skill, and a necessary one at that.
But, how many times have you been in a meeting and been writing emails or answering Slack messages, half-listening to try and catch yourself up as you hurriedly answer a thousand questions on the 45 channels you’re in. It might feel like you’re getting things done, but in reality you’re doing a little bit of everything here and there, and at worst, you could burn yourself out. You think it’s hard to close deals now? It’d be even harder if you had to take some time out because you overworked yourself into the ground. As I’m sure the octuplets’ mum worked out, you can’t feed eight babies at a time. So don’t try and so eight tasks, either.
Plan your day carefully and focus on getting one or two things done at a time so you can give it your full attention and concentration.
5. Take full advantage of the available automation systems
By now, hopefully you feel like you’ve gained some excellent hints and tips that might help save a little time here and there. Sometimes, however, even the most effective planners find that these things don’t always work, and sometimes the workload is just too big.
If only there was a solution to automate all of these time-consuming admin tasks 🤔
Oh wait, there is 🤩
Excellent news, right? You could automate simple email replies for one thing, reducing one task on the list. Alternatively, you could take advantage of a virtual assistant that effectively answers all FAQs on your behalf – and can book appointments without the need for a round of calendar ping pong.
Tell me more, tell me more… was it love at first sight?
We hope so! We realised that every sales professional could do with a tool to help them book appointments, answer FAQs, provide quote and other tedious admin tasks, to give them more time to focus on the most important bit of their job – closing deals. The best bit? It’s totally free.
Leadoo Sales Assistant is our latest product for the Leadoo conversion platform; it takes full advantage of the capabilities of our platform and is literally your very own personal virtual assistant. Leadoo Sales Assistant saves you time by allowing you to book appointments automatically, calculating initial offers and quotes, answering frequently asked questions, and more. As a result, you can stay focused on closing deals, as well as making your customers’ experience that bit sweeter.
Tatu emphasises that nowadays, it’s worth making an appointment as easy as possible from the customers’ point of view.
“The Leadoo Sales Assistant, more commonly known as the Sales Assistant, helps the customer book the most convenient time for them on the salesperson’s calendar. The seller just sends the link and the customer chooses the right time when it suits them best. ”