It can be difficult for people considering a career in sales to imagine what a typical day in the life of a salesperson looks like. To help clarify, Salesforce surveyed 280 sales professionals to find out. The respondents included sales representatives, managers, and leaders from different geographic regions and industries. Some of the findings were not surprising, such as 76 percent of sales professionals stating that they start their day before 7:00 a.m. Roughly half of those are up for the day by 6:00 a.m. As far as what salespeople do once they’re awake, 36 percent check their email first.
An Overview of Sales Performance
Of the 280 survey respondents, half said that they find the best prospects on social media, through referrals, and at various network events. Surprisingly, only 40 percent said money is their primary motivation. A little over one-third felt that job satisfaction was the most important element. And while salespeople might complain about their quotas to family, friends, and co-workers, 85 percent of professionals in this survey felt they have a fair quota.
However, aside from the Salesforce survey, it's also informative to look at individual accounts of what life looks like as a salesperson from two additional perspectives.
Kelli Lampkin, a social selling expert, grew up in a home with a salesman father. She saw that he worked hard, but that he also had more control over his time than the parents of friends. Kelli’s first job in the sales field was as a representative. This is how she spent her time:
- Reactive time from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.: Kelli spent most of this time at home. She called it reactive time because she was only responding to deals already in progress. She usually sent emails from home and sometimes took a few early calls. She then left for the office, arriving between 9:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.
- Proactive time from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.: This was Kelli’s time for scheduled meetings, which could be several per day or per week. She often chose to eat lunch at her desk to get caught up with prospecting emails.
- Reactive time again from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.: Kelli often attended networking events during these hours. She also made it a habit to check email every 30 minutes to ensure that nothing required immediate attention.
Nicole and Ned
In this feature article from Sales Hacker, top sales performers Nicole and Ned discuss how they overcome common challenges. One of these is the fact that prospective buyers don’t necessarily want to talk to sales representatives because most of their transactions take place online. Instead of moving into pitch mode, both Nicole and Ned state that they look to provide valuable insights instead. This is how they structure the first part of their day to achieve that:
- They wake up around 5:30 a.m. and leave for work by 7:00 a.m. Both take the bus, which gives them extra time to prepare for their day. An early start is essential when working with customers in different time zones.
- Work day: It normally starts with a 15-minute staff meeting, followed by time to research and respond to inquiries and prioritize customers. When contacting customers, these top sales reps spend most of their time listening before proposing any type of solution.
Sales can be a tough career, but it also offers great financial rewards and flexibility for those motivated to serve the customer.