Revenade sales leaders discuss the cost of your minute and time management skills.
Hello and welcome to the sales experience, a semi-monthly podcast where we reach our insights, lessons and best practices from top sales leaders. Each episode will provide experience-based information that you can look by to help your company grow its top line.
Stephanie: Hi my name is Stephanie Jordan and I will be your host and moderator on your journey through the word of sales. To kick things up today I will be talking to two of Revenade’s sales leader about the money value of time. But first let’s start with a brief look at this day in business history where we highlight the key events that’s took place on this day.
Stephanie: On this day in history in 1968, Boeing rolled out his first 737 aircraft paving the way for commercial flying as we know it today. The 737 made such an impact that there are 1,250 airborne at any given time on average. This means two are departing or landing somewhere in the world at any five seconds. Today the 737 is the bestselling jet airliner in the history of aviation. I would definitely call that a great business innovation.
Stephanie: Now I would like to take a minute to introduce Scott Williamson and Tim Phillips from Revenade. Both Scott and Tim have been featured on previous segments of our podcast and we are so glad to have them back again. Thank you both for joining us.
Scott: Thanks a lot Stephanie.
Tim: Stephanie, good to be with you.
Stephanie: Well, Scott and Tim, there is one thing that holds true all across the globe 365 days a year, there are only 24 hours in a day. How each person decides to spend those 24 hours is completely up to them. But today I will like to talk to you two about time management and specifically the money value of time. First, why don’t you talk to me about what the phrase “money value of time” means to you?
Tim: Sure I will be happy to, Stephanie. Great question. It’s an unusual phrase and what it really does is it plays off of the fact that we all know what the time value of money is. We may have been in a financial analysis class or investment class, and in there we learned that a dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow. It’s the basis for all compounding but also for discounting future cash flows so we could make financial decisions. What it really means, though, is that we turn that and talk about the money value of time. And you mentioned the word time management as one of the things we are going to be talking about today. When you really talk about time, time is only the truly non-renewable resource that we have and frankly we can’t manage time. The only thing we can do is to make a decision on what activities will we invest our time in and so when we tie that to the money value of time, what activities will we invest our time in that are going to yield the highest result in the shortest period of time. That could be in terms of sales or return on that investment and so that’s why we use that term so frequently, “the money value of time.” It really helps give us a good mind-set and how we are investing our time and to be very judicious in that.
Scott: Yeah, I think that a really good point in that far too often, especially in the corporate world we see people looking at their effectiveness based on how many meeting they are on. Like “I am so busy I have got meeting after meeting,” and they confuse activity as being a measure of value instead of results. So I think Tim’s phraseology here about the money value of time really puts the emphasis on the fact that let’s look at the things that we have to do and think in terms of which of the things that I’m doing today can I order based on the priority of whether or not those are going to turn into results. So instead of focusing something like hey let’s get it in terms of “hey let’s get together and meet with a client or let’s meet internally” just focus in the terms of what do I need to do to move this particular opportunity the next stage, what do I need to do to close this opportunity, what do I need to do to set up prospects and try to turn those prospects into qualified leads and then how can I organize my time based on the money value of those items. Far too often I see people building to do lists and they say this is a high. Medium or low. I ask them, “Why did you decide what was a high, medium and a low?” and a lot of the time they’ll say it’s based on the due date. Sure dues dates are important but more important to the sales person is how was that going to help me get to a win and if that particular item is not helping me get closer to win, maybe I will reprioritize and think like why are my even doing that task.
Stephanie: Yeah, I think you can really tie together the money value of time and time management. And you know I was recently reading a Forbes article where they were highlighting how effective time management can lead to a greater work-life balance. Can one of you guys speak on this.
Scott: Yes I think that’s a really interesting topic and frankly it’s kind of near and dear to my heart. We recently we went through a values exercise at Revenade, where we brought the team together, and egad, we actually went out and hired an outside consultant and had someone facilitate the meeting to ensure the actual thoughts weren’t monopolized by one or two people. In the course of doing that, that values exercise is really interesting to me because first I became very apparent to me very early on with our team that worked life balance is an important value. It was something our team really strived to achieve. What was also apparent to me individually is that I found that was an affront to me, you know I’m a person born in the 60s, whether I am GenX or Baby Boomer is sort of irrelevant. I have many of the characteristics of a Baby Boomer, and as such I have the tendency to think like you tend to work and work so that you can have a life. So today’s generation of new sales people think very differently from me. So what we really came to is a kind of compromise if you will, or recognition that worked life balances maybe the wrong way to couch it. Maybe it’s more work-life flexibility, and understanding that we are trying to achieve balance but balance isn’t always achieved meaning every day and you spend half your time on personal things and half of your time on work things. Maybe it means there are sometimes where you spend the majority of your time working personal things because your personal life really requires that. Maybe it means there are other times when you are spending on professional items because in fact, that’s what your professional life requires.
So if you then start to think about that in terms of the sales professional, the sales professional in some respects is at the mercy of his prospects and his clients and doesn’t always have the ability to tell their clients, “No I can’t do that because I have to go to take Johnny to the doctor or Sue to softball practice. So what is really going to require, I believe, in today’s world is much more organization on behalf of the sales professional to make sure that he or she has outlines of a week or month as much as possible well in advance. No one can plan for unforeseen things, but what we can do is make sure we have planned out the activities that we do have control over and that we understand when those things need to be done, what their relative priority is and then, as we just talked about, how they’re impacting the money value of time. If we do those things as far and advanced as we can, and if we effectively communicate that to all the various parties that we have to work with, including our family, and if we do all that and are diligent about it, what I’ve found at least is that it gives you a sort of fighter’s chance of being able to figure out how to get that work-life balance with that work-life flexibility at such a level where it’s such effective and meaningful to you.
Stephanie: That’s really great information. Are there any particular tips that you’ve noticed throughout your career, Scott or maybe Tim, that have really helped you boost your time management skills? I know that it’s really beneficial for me to start my day by mapping out the to-do list of tasks and tackling the one that I see to be a little time consuming first just to start up the day with a sense of accomplishment. What about you guys?
Tim: Yeah, I agree with you and I think it’s wise that you have awareness of your daily routine. Not that we want to be creatures of habit and routine, but having a structure in how we approach the day. I was very fortunate early in my career to have a great mentor and very frankly he said ‘’plan the work and work the plan’’ and in that, tying back to this money value of time, what activities do I have and, much like what Scott was saying, that only today but this week or this month or this quarter that are going to help me to close business to hit my quota and exceed my quota and then break that down into the basic elements of the activities. Now are we saying make a to-do list of every email that I need to send? No, but what we need to do is… what specific activity do I need to take to move an opportunity to the next stage in the funnel or the sales process and in doing so that gives me the ability to be working on multiple deals simultaneously because many times what happens is that we get borne in on a particular opportunity and it captures all of our time and the others fall way and through diligence we close that opportunity but then we wake up after the closing and we have nothing else in process so we are scrambling and trying to catch up. So, breaking it down into focused time for activities on each opportunity within the day really works well. The other thing is having the flexibility to be able to move an opportunity but more importantly to de-qualify an opportunity. I think one of the greatest times sinks we see in sales professionals is a lack of discipline and being a disciplined de-qualifier. The really great sales professionals are looking at every opportunity to de-qualify, to free up time that will allow them to focus on those pursuits that are genuine and bonafide rather than wasting a bunch of time on activities on something that may never come to pass. That really is the true differentiator between a professional and an amateur and then having the ability to leverage technology I think that’s another key and technology is great and we use to carry paper day timers and things of that nature. Now with technology it gives us the freedom that we don’t have to be desk-bound we are often in our mobile office and more importantly we are in front of a client or prospect and being able to conduct the activities face to face is really what helps us to get to those closes.
Stephanie: Those are great tips Tim. As you said before time is a precious resource especially in our fast-paced world and going with that, do you think time management in the workplace today is different than it was ten years ago or do you see a change even more in the future with more technologies?
Scott: Yes I think it’s very different I think Tim started this just a second ago that if you look at the world ten years ago, certainly we had the internet but it was sort of a nascent internet in terms of how are we really using it compared to today. 10 years ago or even 15 years ago life was in some respects a lot easier. You could say today is my prospecting day and I’m not going to focus on anything other than making calls people would accept phone calls, they weren’t so jaded as they were today they will still accept phone calls but their level of success cold calling is much different than it is today. What I find is that work today is better than it was it’s better than any time in history right? I mean there are certain things that are easier and there are certain things that are harder what I’ve noticed is that my work life today, as a sales professional, is very time-sliced much more so than it ever was in the past. Again, in the past because there are some communication challenges we had and because we didn’t have much technology around to distract us, we are able to focus more on the task at hand. I’ve also found that from the time management point of view and just from a relationship-building point of view, technology has altered the way in which we work with people. So we no longer call somebody up and go to lunch we may just text them and say meet me at this place or not we may have we may have to conduct an entire communication channel just through text as opposed to picking up the phone and talking to them. So is that more effective in terms of time? Absolutely we are using our time much more effectively but we are losing the human interaction in that process. Also the things that kicked in because of technology and because the overall economic environment is globalization. I think it’s more global world today than it was 10 years ago and such, I live in the central time zone, I may be working with clients who are in the eastern time zone, pacific time zone, mountain time zone, I may be talking to someone in Dubai and so I have to think from a time management point of view, how do I factor in that I've got different people, prospects, clients, constituents or whatever. We are spread throughout the world. Technology is what enables us to do that. Yes there have being some listings of some economic barriers but by and large it is technology that has allowed us to become a global economy. So let’s think about where technology hurts us in this respect, I think there are way too many distractions today. You know the internet in particular is something where in every 5 seconds you feel the calling I've got to go check Facebook, I've got to go check LinkedIn and see what's on my favourite news site or sports site we have text messages that are reeling us in during the day, we have instant messages where we get a new email our laptop dings or we get a message on our screen so we get various distractions out there and it keeps us from being able to really focus. So I think the burden is on us to take this awesome power that we have of this amazing technology and use it to our benefit, so I think the tips that we've talked about today planning out your week, planning out your month, understanding the money value of what it is that you are working on and prioritizing your time those are very important things. Now I’m not a Carl Sagan and I can’t prognosticate about what the future looks like but I do believe that in the future that it’s going to be better and worse I think it’s going to be worse in the sense that we are going to have more distractions or different distractions. I think it will be better in the sense that there will be technology that we can use to actually parcel off administrative tasks and give it to that technology for it just to do it and we can focus hopefully back on what Tim started this conversation with which is the money value of time.
Tim: Yeah I like to echo a little bit about what Scott was saying is with all this distractions we have in the day and all the demands on our time, I think the thing in often time we allow to be short shifted is taking the time to think and having the activity to blockout on your calendar 30 minutes maybe an hour somewhere in the day to actually turn everything off and then think about what am I doing, what is the approach that I’m taking, what are some resources that I need, I think we've become so reactive to that ding or the text or whatever that we are losing the ability to have deep thought and through that to come up with creative ideas that are going to help us to do more. I think the only thing that, I want to go back because you picked it all in your question Stephanie, you were talking about what you do to get your morning going. I think it’s very important to have self-awareness and just to be honest with yourself am I a morning person or an afternoon person or a night owl and then build your day, however that may be to maximize your bio-rhythm as to when am I most effective or most creative so that I can harness that. I, for one, I’m an early morning person and that’s when the creative juices in sparks fly so I try to move those opportunities to the front end of the day where I need to be at my very best. So meetings, presentations, negotiations and things of that nature I want to do in the morning. In the evenings, that’s when I take my time to read, to catch up and do the mundane email but having the ability to have that awareness combined with the ability to triage the activities of the day then you are in control and you are empowered and you are making the decision, what activity am I going to invest my time to achieve the greatest results.
So Stephanie it has being a great discussion and I thank you for the questions. They were really thought provoking.
Stephanie: That was a great advice thank for your time today, I will like to thank Scott and Tim for joining us today, to share their experience and best practises for sales. We hope you enjoy hope you enjoy this session and looking forward to seeing you on our next podcast as we continue our journey through the world of sales until next time this is Stephanie Jordan wishing you the best of sales.
For more information about Revenade’s enterprise sales playbook visit our website at www.revenade.com. You can also find best practise on our YouTube channel.