I just transitioned to a new sales role in April and have been in the firehose of onboarding.
One important lesson I learned in my former roles is how essential time management is – and not simply organizing your time but valuing it.
I used to think time management was simply having an organized calendar and blocking off time for everything my schedule could possibly allow. I would use every minute of every work day (and post workday) to book meetings, events and even hobbies.
While in theory this is a good mindset it is only sustainable when who are holistic with your time and move away from ‘busyness’ to focused and thoughtful time scheduling.
As I’ve leaned into my new role, I knew if I was not careful burnout would set in if I tried to navigate too much, too fast just for the sake of completed checkmarks.
So I have taken a focused approach which helps when we feel overwhelmed by tasks or are looking to prioritize our time…
Focus on RGAs…
RGAs are generally referred to as Revenue Generating Activities, but I also see RGAs as what I deem ‘Reward Generating Activities.’
As a sales professional our end metric is tied to revenue growth. We are consultants and want to build partnerships with customers, but for this to be successful we need to drive business forward so our organizations can continue to fund and execute innovative and accessible technlogy.
Typically sales professionals are paid via quota (OTE of base and commission). Your role is to provide the best experience to your customer (Value) and in turn translate that value to revenue. Sales is a partnership between client need and your solution. Your main role is to provide the solution to solve the client problem, which leads to a sale and revenue for the company (and YOU!).
I am a very customer centric salesperson and I want to help my clients whenever I can, but in past roles I found that I was working extra hours on tasks that were not driving the sales cycle forward, but rather draining my bandwidth.
A common theme is when sales professionals end up becoming support when they are not trained nor have the bandwidth to provide support services.
I remember interrupting my Thanksgiving a few years ago to help a client work through a support ticket that the engineering team did not respond to. I wanted to provide the best service to the client, but this left me drained and was not the best experience for the customer throughout their lifecycle.
I bring this up because as sales professionals we want to be available and organized and efficient with our time, but as we walk the ‘yellow brick road’ of our sales day we encounter all sorts of unforeseen roadblocks and need to be able to quickly set boundaries and be agile to adjust our time and focus accordingly.
I failed to do this several years ago – spending a majority of my time dealing with support issues and working late into the night just to keep up my prospecting. I wanted to help my customers, but the support set up was flawed and I and others eventually brought the issues to management.
We cannot sell if we are focused on support tickets that we are not trained or empowered to fix.
Don’t be afraid to say ‘No’ when it comes to your time. You can be respectful, but you need to make sure that your valuable time is used to the best of your ability to fully connect with customers, understand their needs and provide a solution…
With each work action ask yourself – is this a revenue generating activity?
I want to follow this up by being clear that having an RGA mindset doesn’t mean that you turn everything into a ‘sales focused’ metric. To clarify, don’t turn down a call with a customer simply because you don’t see them as a ‘RGA.’
Revenue Generating Activities span more than just closing sales. It includes everything from prospecting to team huddles, training, personal career development, etc…
Revenue Generating Activities however do empower you to become more efficient at your job so you can bring out your best talents, strengths and improve weaknesses.
Examples of my RGAs:
- Prospecting: taking time in this motion to research and truly understand the client
- Quality client conversations/Discovery
- Team building
- Team networking on deals
- Brainstorming with coworkers
- Taking time to learn: product and industry knowledge
- Connecting with partner ecosystem
- Taking time to listen and reflect on recorded calls
- maintaining a clean pipe
If the action cannot help empower you to be the best consultant and improve sales efficiency – then you need to reflect on how vital that activity is.
- Support – if you can help great, but don’t be afraid to loop in the support team and hold them accountable to help
Every action needs to have a purpose – even if that purpose is learning and figuring out how to solve a new problem at work. Something that propels you forward so you are not stuck in the weeks of busywork.
Being targeted with RGAs will also help streamline your workflow so you can create shortcuts to solve repeat problems so you can free up bandwidth to focus on bigger tasks (customer facing tasks, versus internal pipeline maintenance).
Don’t be afraid to ask others for their tips and tricks on how to streamline your time. We all learn and perceive processes differently and a fresh perspective can help.
Within the RGAs – prioritize your activities. Depending on the day this may shift. Right now my priority is learning and product knowledge, but in a few months I will focus less on training and more on performed actions (like demos and booked meetings)
The flip side of this…
I have a lot of hobbies…art, music, writing, travel, business consulting…
In the early years of my career I gave us all of my hobbies to focus fully on work. I wanted to hit my numbers so I could provide financially for myself and my family and while this was a noble endeavor – it always leads to burn out.
We need to block in time for our hobbies, interests and of course family outside work. Work life balance leads to sustainable success.
To ensure a balance – I target my fun time with RGAs as well – reward generating activities. I make sure that I have time for at least one a day and sometimes more if I have time.
For you it may be more/less – but it helps to block those fun activities into your schedule and hold yourself accountable to enjoying life a bit otherwise your will find that you won’t be able to perform your best at work and will struggle with life outside of work.
I hope this is helpful!