Sunday School review time – Remember King David? The dude is King of the largest and most power country in the world. He has it all…money, power…wreaking of success. Back in those days, a king was king because of his skills on the battlefield. It would be normal and customary for a king to fight with his army. However, during one particular war, David stayed home. He couldn’t sleep (maybe because of guilt) and goes on his porch and sees the most beautiful woman taking a bath. He sends for her, gets her pregnant, and then proceeds to send her husband off in the next battle on the front lines knowing he would be killed. Yep. He died. This string of bad decisions arguably ruined much of David’s life.
I have been fortunate to manage some of the greatest software sales talent in the industry. One thing is consistent – the more successful a rep, the higher probability for contentment…and contentment is the death of many great software sellers. Selling software is hard. It’s a complex algorithm. It’s full of daily decisions where results of those decisions sometimes aren’t realized for several quarters later. The algorithm’s spider web of decisions is fundamentally based on one common element: Time management. In the case of King David, if he was where he should have been (on the battlefield), perhaps he wouldn’t have met his life’s greatest temptation?
Where do you spend your time? Prospecting? Deal prosecution? Relationships with partners? Internal peers for collaboration? The answer to that question is simple but not easy: it depends. Here are 4 truths I’ve learned about unpacking the devil of time management:
- Deal prosecution is king. The majority of reps I’ve managed become too content on a deal. There is always something more to do. If you feel you’ve done “everything you can,” you’re likely only half way there. Spend more time on your deal.
- Prospecting is queen. Very few assignments have I been in where I or my team have enough pipeline. #1 area where I see even salty veterans fail is not spending enough time, energy, and focus on pipe development. No one wants to prospect. Exactly the reason why you should be doing it.
- Partner Development is the bishop. Partners are often over-looked in this business. Building meaningful relationships with busy executives is just short of impossible anymore. Chances are, one of your partners are either billing or know someone in the company that you’re targeting or selling to.
- Time management planning is the prince. Do you spend at least 30 minutes a day thinking about your business? Contemplating strategy, mapping out your day, planning your prospecting events? Identifying new industry plays? Picking partner lists to sift through for deal alignment? I told a rep the other day when trying to figure out which account to spend time with: go where you’re needed, not where you’re wanted. It’s easy to spend time with accounts that want you there. But is that where the money is? This requires thinking, analysis, vetting with your manager and peers, etc.
Be the master of time. Don’t be David and let success create contentment, which can lead to disaster of your calendar. Contentment will never start you out where it wants you to finish. Spend your time where you’re needed, not where you want.