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Time management tips for Medical Sales Representatives

When you work in Medical Sales, efficiency is everything. In an industry where hitting sales targets is vital, many sales reps put in hours of work for sometimes very little reward. What counts is making sales, and sometimes it may feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything you need to: follow up on leads, schedule appointments and meetings and hit the road to see GPs and convince them that your product is the thing they need to make a difference to the lives of their patients.

With many salespeople spending most of the working day on administrative tasks- and only 34% of the time selling- here’s how you can speed up the routine work, become more efficient with the time you spend, and focus on what really matters: doing your job well.

Track your time: how are you spending it?

One of the best ways to find out how you’re spending your time- and what you can do to improve your efficiency- is track the time you spend on each of your tasks in a day. Do you spend more time procrastinating than you’d like? Do you spend more time doing administration than developing your relationship with clients or researching the latest product you’ll be selling?

Investing in a tracking app like Toggl or Rescue Time will help you to keep track of what you’re doing and how much time you’re wasting. Once you know this, then you’ll be able to restructure your day, assign certain administrative tasks to other people- or even automate them- and be able to work out more concise and accurate deadlines for getting your work done.

Break up your day

Do you ever find yourself cycling between tasks- going from writing emails to meeting clients, then back to emails again? One way to tackle this is to break up your day and block out time for specific tasks. Assign half an hour at the start of the day to answering emails; an hour for making calls and another half hour after lunchtime for handling customer queries. Not only will this help you to focus but it’ll mean you get your work done quicker and save energy and stress without switching from job to job.

Work around your buyer

When it comes to making sales, you need to structure your day around your buyer, and when is most convenient for them: after all, it’s them you need to convince. GPs and surgeries are notoriously busy, so make the effort to schedule a meeting for a time that is favourable to them, as slotting yourself in during a hectic week is probably not going to lead to a fruitful discussion. To avoid wasted time and unanswered calls,  know when their office hours are and avoid calling during the lunch break, or at the very start or end of the day when practice staff will be bogged down in administration.

Know when you’re most productive

Everybody has their ups and downs during the day. Some people are at their freshest first thing in the morning, whilst others feel best after lunch, or after they’ve drunk a few cups of coffee. Regardless, knowing how you work and when you’re most productive is essential if you want to get things done. Schedule the things you like doing least, or your hardest tasks, for the times in which you’re feeling most alert, and save the easier work like admin for when you’re feeling tired, or less enthusiastic.

Similarly, taking breaks is essential if you want to maintain your productivity. You may be the most focussed person in the world, but taking a break from the computer screen and getting up to stretch your legs, check the news or make a cup of tea does wonders for your concentration and morale. So although even a short break vastly increases concentration and your mood to boot, 36% of UK employees are taking less lunch breaks than they were a year ago.

Avoid distractions

Stay focussed. British people spend an average of 24 days a year procrastinating, and with the advent of the internet it’s become ever easier to get distracted when you’re supposed to be at work- especially when you’re working on a task that you don’t much like. There are free apps online that you can use to block yourself from the internet or from social media, if you want to concentrate on specific tasks- try using the Chrome extension Blocksite to remove the temptation to click on your favourite website.

The most effective thing you can do, though, is to allot a specific amount of time to each task that you have to do: by planning what you’re going to do in advance, you should give yourself an incentive to stay on track.

Follow the 2-minute rule…

One of the biggest distractions from getting projects done is the build-up of short tasks that need doing- for instance, sending an email sending, or taking a telephone call there. A good way to deal with them is by following the ‘two minute rule’ from David Allen’s book Getting Things Done: if a task can be done within two minutes, do it on the spot rather than leaving it until later. It’ll take up hardly any time, and you’ll be able to get back to the job at hand without having it stay in the back of your mind. Anything longer can wait until the time you’ve blocked out to tackle the longer tasks: for instance, an email to say you’ve received a client’s request can and should be done on the spot, whereas taking the time to answer questions and arrange appointments can be saved to earmarked ‘administration time.

At IQVIA, we take the time to match the best Medical Sales Representatives to the best jobs, and equip them with all the skills they need to be a success in the Pharmaceutical industry. Find out more about what we do here, or browse our latest Medical Sales Rep jobs

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