As an outside sales rep, most of your day will be on the go with a varied and flexible schedule. But, that doesn’t mean there are still some essential everyday tasks that you should be doing to ensure you are successful.
In sales, your time is valuable. So, you want to make sure you are spending your time wisely and efficiently. More importantly, able to spend most of your time doing what matters most - selling.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some important daily outside sales reps tasks and how to ensure you are operating at peak efficiency doing them.
Daily Tasks For Outside Sales Reps To Be Successful
A day in the life of an outside sales rep can vary slightly from one person or company to another. But in general, several core tasks make up most of the day. Let’s take a look:
Responding To Emails
Even as an outside sales rep, one of the first things you will do each day before you leave the office (or home) is to respond to emails. Whether it is answering questions from prospects, sending follow-up emails, or providing requested information to current customers.
Timely email (and voicemail) responses are critical to ensure prospects are not getting hung up in the sales cycle and current customers are kept happy.
With automation tools, you can automate emails to merge with customer information and utilize pre-made templates to cut down on time spent creating personalized emails. This allows you to easily create customized emails that are based on where your customer is at in their specific journey.
Emails are essential for getting in touch with customers, and automating the process means that you can create a personal touch while still reaching out to the maximum number of leads.
In-House Follow Up Calls
Along with emails, you’ll be making morning follow up calls to your prospects and leaving voicemails as necessary. Some of these will be calls that you had pre-planned the day before or earlier in the week based on your scheduled in-person meetings. Others will be responding to voicemails.
This is one of those tasks that not only sets you up for opportunities to have in-person meetings but also helps you to build rapport with prospects and provide customized solutions to their needs.
In-Person Sales Meetings
As an outside sales rep, this is your “bread and butter”. Ideally, most of your time will be spent in the field, traveling your territory, meeting with prospects in person and closing deals.
These meetings are where you solve each prospect’s specific problem or pain point by leveraging the insights you gained when initially prospecting and doing your research, and when communicating with them through email and phone so far. A successful outside sales expert gets down to the root of the customer’s problems and customizes solutions to present in person.
Route Planning Automation
As an outside sales rep, this might be the most important opportunity for automation for you. Manually planning your sales route each day can take a significant amount of time. Plus, there is no guarantee that it is actually the most efficient way to reach your most important prospects without doing even more research.
Automating the routing process means that you can be confident that you are being as efficient as possible in your sales visits and not being forced to rush. Instead of wasting significant amounts of time working out the best route, the data from your CRM can quickly create the routes for you and get you on the road. Then, you know that you are seeing the maximum amount of people each day and aren’t wasting any time on the drive.
Documenting Client Information
After spending time out in the field, there will be documentation work to be done. This includes results of your prospects meetings, specific pain points that need to be added to prospect profiles, record keeping of client communications, and inputting new leads or customers.
This can sometimes take up quite a bit of time. Especially if a lot of it is being done manually and/or can’t be taken care of out in the field. But, it is extremely important to stay organized and have everything documented if you want to be a successful outside sales rep.
Another part of the documentation will be the reporting that you will update. Much of your sales manager’s day will be spent looking at sales Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and sales reports. The strength of those reports is based on them being up to date with the latest number of deals you have closed, the number of meetings you’ve been to, the number of calls made, etc.
So one task that will definitely need to be kept up daily is ensuring you have your latest data in the reports.
Prospecting For New Leads & Researching
A successful sales rep always has a pipeline of new prospects to start building a relationship and ideally turn into a customer. The way this is done is by spending an adequate amount of time properly prospecting for quality leads that need your product or service.
Once the leads have been found, it's just as important to spend time researching as much as you can about them and their company (if B2B). Take a look at their company’s industry competitors, any new competitors to your products or services, current market conditions, etc to understand your prospect better. The goal is to try and figure out what their pain points and specific needs might be so that you can customize your pitch and the solutions you present to each lead.
Prospecting and researching are two other tasks that, depending on how they’re done, take up a lot of many reps’ time during the day. You should always be looking to do this as efficiently as possible to save time and allow you to focus more on actually selling.
Organizing and placing your sales leads into helpful categories allows you to reach out to similar customers quickly and efficiently. Whether grouped by region, where they are at in the sales journey, or the product they are interested in. When it comes time to schedule your sales meeting routes, send out emails, make follow-up calls with a certain type of lead, etc having the leads in predefined groups will make it much easier.
In times past, organizing leads like this took significant amounts of time. However, it can now easily be automated so that you can conveniently find and reach the leads that you need when you need them. Many automation tools let you view your leads graphically on a territory map so you can more quickly find and digest information.
Planning The Following Day
Successful outside sales reps plan ahead. At the end of each day, one of your most important tasks will be to plan your strategy for the next day or sometimes even the rest of the week.
Ideally, you want to plan what follow-up calls need to be made, what prospects and customers you will be visiting, and any mini-tasks will need to be taken care of throughout the day. Schedule each task in order of priority.
Pre-planning ahead of time will help you stay organized, on track, helps keep procrastination at bay, and increases your productivity.
Customer Follow-Up Automation
To be a successful outside sales rep it is critical to follow-up on leads. However, this easily falls through the cracks in the rush to get everything done.
The old-school method of keeping track of your lead follow-ups consisted of inputting notes into a spreadsheet or calendar which you check every day to make sure a potentially hot lead didn’t fall through the cracks. However, note-taking and constant checking can drain valuable time instead of making calls. Through follow-up automation, often through your CRM, you can now simply mark ‘left a message’ after making a call and an automated reminder will ensure you follow up later. This will make it much easier and faster to manage your follow-ups and make sure that no leads are left to rot.
Begin Automating Everyday Tasks Today
To succeed in outside sales it is important to do the necessary work daily to find qualified leads, stay organized, plan for success, visit your prospects efficiently, and stay connected to your customers. Many of these tasks are essential to making sure you have the best opportunities to sell your company’s products or services and bringing in more long-term customers.
But, to be truly successful, sales automation is no longer optional. Outside sales reps who automate their everyday sales tasks will increase their efficiency, shorten sales cycles, and increase their rate of closing. Ensure you are always meeting and exceeding your sales goals. Automate your sales rep tasks today.