A Diary of a (Lean) Social Sales Pro

How To Eliminate At Least 9.75 hours of Busywork from Your Sales Day

There are so many blog posts out there that talk about how to “do” social sales, but I have yet to see one that tells an inside sales professional what they should actually do all day long.

It’s time to get real about what sales professionals do all day. They spend 4 hours not selling, and there’s data to prove it.

While researching my new ebook, “Lean Startup For Sales: What Your CEO Won’t Tell You,” I found that there were 4 actions that sales professionals take during the day that are not social (they don’t usually involve the sales professional talking with anyone) and they actually destroy value for the company (they are not lean).  


Here’s what they are. Sales professionals typically spend 3.9 hours of a 7.5-hour workday not selling. And this data is from 2014.

Generating and researching leads (15%) – 1 hour 7 minutes

Administrative work (17%) – 1 hour 16 minutes

Post-sales tasks (20%) – 1 hour 30 minutes

So, here’s how to multiply your selling time to be 1.5X better than the gal or guy sitting next to you. There are three simple rules to do this, but step one is critical

Step 1: Use Social Triggers First Thing in the A.M.

This is the easy part. When you’re using a social CRM system like Nimble all by itself (or even in tandem with Salesforce, like I do), you need to have this open in the morning before you map out your calls for the day.

Spend about 15 minutes doing this between 8 to 8:30 a.m. Here’s an example of what you’ll see.

Step 2: Get Busy

After that, you should be in wall-to-wall client meetings all morning. If you are not in wall-to-wall client meetings until lunch for the next 5 working days, here’s how to solve that problem immediately: spend the rest of the day today scheduling your customer and prospect calls for the next week.

If you don’t know whom to call first, use the Red Zone / Maintain Zone / Dead Zone criteria from the second version of Skip Miller’s “Proactive Selling.” It’s the best $0.01 purchase you’ll ever make on Amazon.

Once your sales call calendar is completely booked for 1 to 2 weeks, you can advance to step 3. This part requires the most sophistication, but will save you 9.75 hours per week. If you take 4 weeks off per year for vacations and sick days, this activity will save you over 3 months of busywork.

It’s like getting your quota reduced by 25%.

Step 3: Automate 50% of All Non-Lean Activities that Destroy Customer Value

The way to do this is pretty simple. You’ll likely need to simply remove these activities from your workload:

Generating and researching leads – at least 30 minutes per day

Administrative work – at least 45 minutes per day

Post-sales tasks – at least 45 minutes per day

Get a dependable virtual assistant to take care of them. The good news is that good and dependable USA-based virtual assistants can be had for as little as $5 to $8 per hour these days.

The question you need to ask yourself is “Do I want to spend $9.75 per day on an assistant to allow me to sell for 90 extra minutes, or do I want to spend that money on a hamburger at lunch?”

Lean sales professionals make the decision to brown-bag their lunch and instead spend that $195 per month on an assistant that will give them back 30 hours (4 days) of selling time. (I found a great VA on va4u.com and I’ve been working with her for 5 years.)

There’s no way for a sales professional to eliminate all non-lean activities, but you can easily eliminate 50% of them with the help of a VA.

If you’re unsure of how to get your manager to pay for it, just ask your manager one question. “If I found a tool that would allow me to spend 4 extra days per month in front of our customers, but it cost $195, would you let me try it for 90 days?”

Speaking of not wasting time and winning more proposals … have you tried PandaDoc’s proposal analytics with Nimble yet? Why not get 3 free documents to start with (you can even get 3 more with a tweet). No credit card is required, and you’ll be up and running in minutes.