If you feel like there are not enough hours in the day to do all that you need to do as a sales rep, you’re not the only one — it’s a data-driven truth that many sales professionals struggle with.
Study after study proves that sales reps only spend around a third of their working hours actually selling. It’s no surprise that you’re frustrated by how much of your time goes to things like admin, travel, planning, or order processing.
Luckily, if you are wondering how to improve sales productivity, there is tech out there that can help you cut down on wasted time. Productivity tools can help you streamline your daily processes and get back valuable hours in your day.
In this article, we’ve gathered several of the top options in tools you can use for some of the most common time-sucking activities you probably encounter daily, starting with some free productivity tools.
Free Productivity Tools
Who doesn’t love free!? So, let’s start there. There is a wide variety of free productivity tools available that can help you get things done faster and with less distraction. Here are a few to try out:
For Finding Parking:
There are few things more frustrating than looking for parking, except maybe circling the block looking for the cheapest parking available. Every penny certainly counts, but think about how you’re also eating up time that could be spent actively selling. Also, if you’re finding yourself walking to and from an actual meter, that’s even more time. Not to mention what happens if you misplace your parking ticket. The good thing is, there’s an app to help you optimize this process.
Not only can you reserve your parking spot ahead of time, but it is completely managed within the app. Just book it, securely pay for your parking through the app, and show the attendant your parking pass via the app or your email. No more physical tickets, no more mad dashes for paper cash. Take the hassle out of finding parking so you can focus on closing deals.
You can search for spaces based on a variety of search terms, from landmarks to upcoming events, and even monthly parking. SpotHero also offers a very gracious cancellation policy as well as frequent discounts.
*SpotHero is free to use but there is a small service fee added to each transaction on a per-reservation basis.
Effective time management is a key trait that all of the most successful sales reps and account managers have. So, if you do have to sit down and focus on knocking something out on your to-do list, especially a more mentally intensive task, you want to use your time as effectively and productively as possible. This will reduce the amount of wasted or idle time during your day and enable you to focus your energy where it matters most. One way to do this is by using a tool based on the Pomodoro technique.
The Pomodoro Technique is a highly efficient time management system where you break down your work into 25-minute blocks separated by five-minute breaks. These intervals are referred to as pomodoros. By using this time-blocking and only focusing on one task at a time during the pomodoro, you can break your tasks up into smaller, more bite-sized pieces. You’ll find that you end up actually getting more done in less time.
TomatoTimer is a free and easy-to-use web-based Pomodoro timer. The timer is super simple and allows you to customize the Pomodoro length, notification sound, volume, and break times. It will also allow you to automatically start your Pomodoros and breaks. Its simplicity makes it a great choice if you want a simple, straightforward timer. For sales reps, this timer can be very effective when you are needing to spend time prospecting, putting together reports, etc.
For Submitting Expenses:
Our world is quickly becoming paperless, but has anyone told the accounting department that? If you’re still relying on paper receipts and physical expense forms, the practice of submitting your expenses can eat up some serious time. Time that is best used on literally any other task. Not to mention the time traveling to and from wherever you’re supposed to submit these papers, it’s all in all a waste of time. Thankfully, there are now productivity tools that offer a more modern solution.
This tool helps fully automate the expense tracking and reporting process, even on the go. You can snap pictures of your receipts, track expenses, generate an emailable expense form or invoice, automatically track your spending, and more! Plus, if your company allows it, Expensify can even handle the reimbursement also.
Expensify’s free plan can get you and your team started and then there are several paid plans available that offer more in-depth features.
Pricing for Expensify’s Paid Plans:
Collect = From $5/month per user with Expensify Card – billed annually.
Control = From $9/month per user with Expensify Card – billed annually.
Paid Productivity Tools
There is a wide array of productivity tools available to help you streamline everything from planning out your day to minimizing distractions. Below are some of the top paid options available, all of which offer several different plans/pricing to meet the needs of all different types of sales reps:
For Mapping Out Your Sales Stops:
If you’re in outside sales, there are some times when it can feel like all roads lead to frustration. There are tons of needs when it comes to mapping out your sales stops. Juggling visits to both active customers and prospects can be a headache to identify and plug into Google Maps. Rushing from address to address can leave precious data behind and leave record keeping in the rearview mirror. This is where a tool like Map My Customers comes in.
When it comes to mapping out your sales stops, this platform can automatically create optimized sales routes based on the leads and clients you want/need to hit. This not only saves time but also money — saving an average of 30% on gas expenses.
But, Map My Customers is much more than just a sales routing app. It is a productivity powerhouse purpose-built for B2B outside sales teams. The platform offers an all-in-one sales solution that helps you supercharge your sales productivity and effectiveness. The mobile-friendly platform provides easy-to-use sales data/territory mapping, as well as powerful workflow tools, robust reporting (including sales heat maps), and extensive sales team management capabilities (great for both reps and sales managers!).
Personal = $60/month per user – billed monthly.
Team = $105/month per user – billed monthly.
For Checking Your Email:
If even the sight of the word “email” made your heart rate rise, you already understand. Maybe you already use Unroll.me (another great option for free productivity tools) to manage all the newsletters or promotional emails. But what do you do about so much of the correspondence that is required between your leads, clients, and internal team? Filtering and sorting only do so much, especially when it becomes an “out of sight, out of mind” scenario. Email productivity tools can help easily streamline your inbox.
It’s time to embrace the magic of AI for your email inbox with SaneBox. The more you use it, the more it learns which senders or content is important to you. Simply move emails to special SaneBox folders and it will not only learn which emails are distractions, but which ones require follow-up or reminders. Important emails arrive and automatically stay in your inbox, while junk and other distractions are moved to the chosen folders. Most importantly, this tool can be used with any sort of email client, including Google, Outlook, and iCloud.
Snack = $7/month – when billed monthly.
Lunch = $12/month – when billed monthly.
Dinner = $36/month – when billed monthly.
For Getting Documents Signed:
Once a lead has said “yes,” an even bigger battle begins: getting contracts reviewed, signed, and submitted. This can involve PDF formatting hurdles, missent email attachments, and the vanquishing of precious inbox storage space. This part of the sales process should be made as easy and smooth as possible. Not only for your sanity but for the experience of your customer. Luckily, there are tools that can help you do that.
With DocuSign’s cloud-based, mobile-friendly platform, you can send and receive contracts and documents anywhere, even on the go. Your customers and prospects can easily sign electronically, cutting down on time spent waiting on hard copies. Through DocuSign, you can also easily keep track of documents that you are waiting for signatures, without having to be in the office. The easy-to-use interface can also integrate with other applications, including your team’s CRM, making closing deals seamless.
Personal = $10/month per user – when billed annually.
Standard = $25/month per user – when billed annually.
Business Pro = $40/month per user – when billed annually.
For Staying On Top Of Trends:
It’s no secret that great sales hooks require great market research. But keeping all of your resources organized requires a lot more than just a bunch of bookmarks. There are a lot of areas to monitor for information, from general trends/statistics in sales to changes in your specific industry or specialty. Searching for this information can create a lot of distractions, too, especially if you lean on social media to serve news to you. This is where an efficient information tool comes in.
The ultimate information aggregator, Feedly is a dashboard for all of your favorite news sites, newsletters, blogs, or Twitter. You can group similar outlets together, save keyword searches, or create “boards” of articles you’ve curated yourself. One of the most interesting features is its “popularity ranking” where you can visually see posts that are being read and shared the most, giving you an insider’s insight into what’s creating a real buzz. With Feedly, you can easily get all the most important insights, filter out the “noise”, and even share information with the rest of your team in just a click.
Pro = $6/month per user – when billed annually.
Pro+ = $8.25/month per user – when billed annually.
Enterprise = Contact their sales team for a price estimate.
For Not Getting Distracted by Your Phone:
Living in a digital world has a lot of benefits (see the apps above) but having such a connected lifestyle makes it easy to get distracted. Anything you want is just a click or search word away, and before you know it, you’ve spent the last hour on your phone going down a Wikipedia wormhole rather than making some sales. But remember, admitting you have a problem is half the battle. Help is available through the use of distraction-blocking tools.
What makes Freedom a bit different from other distraction blockers out there is that it also helps you control what you do on your phone. You can create focused sessions that block time-wasting apps and websites for a few hours, or set up recurring chunks of time (for instance, blocking Instagram between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. every day). You can even sync these blocks across all of your devices. Plus, its “locked mode” also prevents you from changing settings in the middle of a session.
Monthly = $8.99/month per user – when billed monthly.
Yearly = $3.33/month per user – when billed annually.
Forever = $159.99/ per user. (Freedom often offers limited-time specials on the price.)
Use Powerful Technology to Save More Time & Optimize Your Sales Productivity
A successful sales rep uses their time efficiently, and that means cutting down on the amount of time you are taking away from actually selling. The productivity tools we covered above can help you do just that.
Although these apps will significantly reduce common time-wasting activities, there may be many more that are specific to your industry. Next time you’re feeling bogged down by busy work, spend a few minutes searching for a tool/app that can do it for you. You might be surprised at just how much time you can save in a day with the power of technology.
Try out a couple of these tools and start optimizing your sales productivity today!