So where should you spend your time as a salesperson? I've been fortunate to work/associate with a number of excellent sales people and it is always the burning question. The detail is quite unique to the individual but certainly the structure appears to be quite similar (with a lot of hard work!).
Tom Tunguz's post below provides a good example of how to manage time but in an unusual way. This post is also partly in response to Tom's question in the post.
I once drove across the united states and whilst we had a destination in mind we had to plan the stops overnight and more importantly the petrol stations/tyre changes! Using a similar methodology to sales can help with the focus and balance of your team's time.
The methodology we are using comes from performance management (although I also recall this from university economics) and looks at the 'lagging' / 'leading' indicators.
Using my analogy above with the journey:
Destination (Boston) or output is the Lagging Indicator which in sales is closing more deals. Hard to influence but easy to measure.
The overnight stops (hotels) or Goals are the equivalent to your meetings in sales or moving deals down the pipeline. Easier to influence and also measure.
Finally your gas stations, tyre changes, food stops etc are Leading Indicators, mainly inputs and very easy to influence but hard to measure. These are often hard to measure because they include tasks that do not often provide feedback to the individual such as liking content on LinkedIn, making 50 phone calls etc.
By putting together a sheet of your Goals and The Leading Indicators on a weekly basis to reach these suddenly makes the Lagging Indicator far more tangible and easier to influence. It also helps the sale team find value in the leading indicators which might be writing content, connecting with prospects online and engaging with their content.
Importantly, like any plan, it is important to have the individuals involved set their own metrics and spend time each week to reflect on performance and what worked/what didn't work for recalibration.
Further analysis on the subject here.
Moving onto sales time prioritization, Miller and Heiman recommend prioritizing efforts in an unusual pattern. Closing work on the highest quality leads Prospect new leads Qualify existing leads Move the existing leads through the funnel To rank prospecting as the second most important activity seemed counterintuitive to me. I would have thought moving backwards up through the funnel would have been the optimal. But the authors submit that building the top of the funnel is more important than moving other leads through the funnel. This order maximizes consistency of leads in the funnel and leads to more predictable pipeline and income for the sales person.