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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Are You Productive Or Just Busy?

Are You Productive Or Just Busy

Productivity refers to moving the sales cycle forward, improving application numbers, and increasing booked volume. Productivity measures how well you're able to meet the goals and objectives of your company, regardless of whether these are short-term or long-term goals.

On a day-to-day basis, if you write out a to-do list at the start of the day and are able to cross off most or all of the items by the end of the day, then you can consider it productive.

On a bigger scale, if you're able to meet the goals and objectives you have established for your company, then you're seeing productivity. Increasing productivity means that you will come closer to your goals. Remember, some people are more natural at this than others based on their talents.

What's The Difference Between Busy and Productive? 

Feeling like there just are not enough hours in the day is a constant in business.

Most people know if you have extra time each day with nothing to do, you're doing something wrong. But what's the difference between busy and productive?

Busy people tend to spend a lot of time on things that don’t get the goal, while productive people get that goal accomplished. Busy has been defined as working harder, while productive means working smarter.

So, if you're constantly busy and feel overwhelmed, but don’t have the sales numbers to show for it, pause for a minute and ask yourself, am I being productive, or am I just busy?

How to Inspire your Employees and Increase Productivity

Busy vs. Productive

Let’s take a seller's prospecting time block as an example. A seller might set up 2 hours to prospect each day. They're being busy and productive, right?

Not necessarily.

If they spend 90 minutes researching, learning all of the possibilities, going down rabbit holes, and “perfecting” their list (and maybe chatting with office mates), and 30 minutes actually reaching out to prospects, they were definitely busy, but not productive.  

When their manager asks them for a recap on their 2 hours of prospecting, they're puzzled by how little they accomplished.

In contrast, a seller sets up 30 minutes of researching and qualifying and 90 minutes of actual prospecting. They're prepared for their prospecting time block, eliminate distractions, and go for it.

The result is a much better use of their time and actual productivity.

Increase Your Productivity

The most productive sellers and managers that I have met start each week with a plan, and each day with a plan and to-do list. Simple, right?

Yes, it absolutely is, but most people are missing this fundamental first step. To get into this habit, start simple.

Take a few minutes and write out your to-do for the day and week. Now, assign them a ranking.

  • Priority 1 has to be completed immediately.
  • Priority 2 has to be completed within the hour.
  • Priority 3 by the end of the day.
  • Priority 4 by the end of the week.
  • Anything that is Priority 5, get to it when you can, should not be on your daily or weekly list.

If you tend to struggle with prioritizing your day and week, run this list and its priority rankings by your leader. Don’t be surprised if they change some of your priorities. It's illuminating when they ask why something is a “drop everything” task when it shouldn’t be, or why you are casual about something of high importance.

10 Ways to Increase a B2B Salesperson's Productivity

Set out time blocks in your week. Think about your personal energy cycle. What time of day are you most energetic and enthusiastic?

If you're a morning person, interactions, where you're selling or working with sellers, should come at those times if at all possible.

When do you focus the best? Projects or creating proposals should be completed at those times.

Mid-afternoon slump? Schedule an activity that makes you physically get up from your desk and move around.

Four Ways To Be More Productive

1. Focus on one thing at a time.

Start with one thing that will deliver results quickly and do that. Get the day off to a productive start. Think about time blocking and setting out chunks of time-based on priorities. Stay focused on that priority task until it's done.

2. Use your calendar!

If a task is on your calendar, with a start time and finish time, it's more likely to be completed. I love my paper to-do list, but my calendar to-do list actually gets done.

3. Break down your goals into smaller, easier-to-accomplish tasks and put them on your calendar.

A huge, yearly goal is great, but a daily or weekly goal is what will get you there. Set attainable daily goals that will keep you on track and help you see progress to that large goal.

4. Eliminate as many distractions as possible.

Some you can’t control but remove the ones you can.

Not everyone is innately organized, but everyone can be productive by prioritizing and adding structure to their day.

Talent Insight

Topics: sales performance sales productivity