As a sales rep, you’re responsible for juggling a ton of different tasks as a part of managing the buying journey of prospects who are at various stages of your sales process, which can get difficult to keep track of. While you need to focus your time on closing deals, you also don’t want to drop the ball on up-funnel prospecting activities or else you’ll end up starting from scratch with an empty pipe once you’ve closed out the deals you’ve been working on. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and get behind on tasks if you aren’t keeping track of what needs to get done and making time to do it. In addition to keeping a detailed to-do list, your calendar is one of the best tools you could have to make sure you are setting deadlines and making time for necessary tasks. Here are some simple tips for using your calendar to keep you on track.
Keeping Track of Customer Meetings
Anytime you have a meeting it should be on your calendar with the prospect or client invited (sounds obvious, but you never know). In the meeting invite, include the location and details on whether this is in person or over the phone to make sure everyone is prepared and on time. If over the phone, either include a conference bridge or phone number you are calling - the most important thing here is that it is clear when and how the meeting is happening to increase the chance that both parties show up and the meeting starts on time. You should also send an email the day before the meeting to confirm the time and details of the meeting.
No Shows and Rescheduled Meetings
If the client/prospect no-shows or reschedules the meeting, you first want to make sure to find another time on the calendar as quickly as possible and move the calendar invite to the new time. For cancellations that aren’t rescheduled, you’ll want to delete the meeting off the calendar as a confirmation that the meeting is cancelled, which will also help you keep track of meetings that did and didn’t happen. It’s easy to get caught up in multiple deal cycles, team meetings, and other tasks that you’ll need to look at the meetings on the calendar to remind yourself when meetings did or didn’t happen. Keeping those meetings that didn’t happen on the calendar can be confusing when looking back at your calendar. You also want to free up that time so you can schedule yourself for other meetings or tasks that you can get to now that the meeting was cancelled.
Pre and Post Meeting Time Blocks
When you have a meeting scheduled with a prospect or client, it’s important that YOU are showing up on time and prepared and making time for follow-ups. Before the meeting even happens, have time scheduled to prepare your agenda and anything you plan to present in the meeting (powerpoints, pre-meeting research, etc). If you are traveling to meet with this prospect, that travel time should be calendared as well so you make it there on time.
After the meeting is completed, your travel time back to the office should also be on the calendar, as should time to complete your follow-ups from the meeting. Making sure you have set time to log your notes and send any follow-up materials, recaps, or follow-up meeting invites quickly shows diligence and follow-through with your prospects.
Scheduling Follow-Up Meetings
When you are in a meeting and you identify that this meeting will require a follow-up, it’s always easiest to schedule that meeting right away to avoid delays from back-and-forth emails trying to find a time. When you schedule a follow-up meeting, always create a new calendar invite, so again, you can look back at your calendar and see when meetings did or didn’t happen and better keep track of initial and follow-up meetings. If the topic and attendees will be the same, you can always clone the original meeting invite. Keeping meetings that happened on your calendar and always creating a new calendar invites may seem nit-picky, but using your calendar as a record of what you accomplished can help you manage your time better and stay on top of your to-do list.
Using Your Calendar for Time Management
As mentioned earlier, your calendar can be a useful tool for keeping track of your to-do list and ensuring you are making time for what you need to get done. At the beginning of each week, take a look at what’s on your to-do list and estimate how much time each task will take. Next, make sure each of those tasks has a scheduled slot on your calendar (you can mark these tasks as “free” if you need to make those slots available for last minute demos and client meetings to be scheduled by SDRs). This practice can help you set realistic expectations for how much you can accomplish in the week and also have a set time to sit down and get it done. As the week progresses, some of these may change - some tasks take longer than expected, other tasks will pop up, and certain things will have to get pushed. As these changes come up, you can adjust the schedule and move those time blocks around to reflect what you actually accomplished.
Keeping a clean and organized calendar can seem like a tedious task, but it’s an easy habit to get into and can be a really valuable tool for time management. As sales people, there is a constant running to-do list and a million different things to keep on top of mind, so use your calendar as a tool to make sure that everything you need to get done has time blocked for that task and meetings with prospects are kept track of.