As a busy salesperson, one of the most important traits to have is to be organized. Organization is often what separates a good salesperson from an excellent salesperson.
If you’re not someone who’s naturally very detailed and organized, there’s one very important thing you can do to change that. The trick is to write everything down! Anytime you have an idea, a task that needs to get solved at a later time, or anything else that needs to be remembered: write it down!
Two very awesome tools to manage this:
When you’re in Gmail, simply click the red, dropdown arrow next to the “Gmail” logo on the upper, left-hand corner when you login. When you click “Tasks” the Google Tasks window pops up. You can use this add your to-do list. Personally, I recommend that you write down everything you need to do. The cool thing is you can access this from any computer where you can login to Gmail.
Bonus: There’s a cool third-party app for Android that syncs with your Gmail account’s Google Tasks. Anytime I’m away from my computer and think of something to do, I can add it to my phone. Here’s where you can get the app: http://goo.gl/z4Wvw.
Bonus #2: Want to expand the size of that little Tasks window on your laptop? Bookmark this link to access Google Tasks in canvas mode (full screen): https://mail.google.com/tasks/canvas (you need to login to Gmail to view this).
For more detailed to-do lists and project management, I prefer to use Asana. Asana is a startup founded by ex-Facebookers and you can use it for team collaboration, but I just use it manage my work to-do list. Best of all, it’s free for individual use or for a small team up to 30 people!
Every single thing I have to do I write down in Asana. No more stuff written on sticky notes or on yellow legal pads on my desk… it’s all added to Asana.
Asana is pretty sweet because you can group items by “Projects” and under each Project you can have multiple items on your to-do list. From there, you can also have detailed notes on each entry with additional context. It’s pretty sweet!
If you need to have a note to follow-up with someone three weeks out, you can not only have a task that has “Follow-up with customer John Q. Public” but you can also have detailed info on the background of the customer and what the next steps should be. This way when you look at the note three weeks out you know exactly what needs to happen.
Personally, I use Google Tasks for my personal stuff and Asana for anything work related.
Example: At isocket, I would frequently send bug reports to our Ad Ops & Support team to catalog the issues I came across. After sending a bug report, I would make a note in Asana under a Project I had just for bug reports so I could make sure nothing I submitted fell through the cracks. A few times I caught things that hadn’t been even worked on, simply because I had logged them in Asana.
Bonus: Here’s a cool screenshot of Asana from Crunchbase that will help you visualize the product: http://www.crunchbase.com/assets/images/original/0016/8989/168989v2.png.
Are you a Maverick or a Superstar?
As Mark Suster once said, there’s a difference between Maverick salespeople and Superstar salespeople:
The Maverick is an incredibly good salesperson and can probably sell ice to Eskimos, they just usually aren’t the most process orientated people. They are great at sales, just not managing sales people… which is a completely different skill set. He uses the good analogy that a great chef isn’t always well suited to run a restaurant.
The Superstar is the rare individual who can both sell water to a whale but is also incredibly detailed and process orientated. This person is probably suited for a VP of Sales position (at least eventually)… they can both sell and manage others.
The main difference between both of these is organization and attention to detail.
If you want to be a superstar salesperson (or a superstar in any role), the thing that will set you apart is your level of organization and attention to detail. A good tip is to use tools such as Asana and Google Tasks to write everything down to remember everything and to help you get a lot of things done.
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