Running is one of my passions, both for the exercise and the challenge of pushing my body to its limits.
A few years ago, I was on a training run with a friend who is an Ironman triathlete. He’s the real deal – sub-three-hour marathon and in the top 30% of Ironman triathletes.
At the end of our run, we were pushing hard the last half-mile. I was maxing out my pace and giving it all the juice I had. I noticed that he would surge, then back off a little, then surge again. After our run I asked what he was doing, and he explained that you can actually run faster if you surge and then take short “breaks” in your pace throughout the race, especially at the end.
This technique allows you to avoid burnout and stay mentally engaged.
This same concept applies directly to inside sales and is the genius behind “Power Hours.”
Sales managers have a natural tendency to push reps hard throughout the day. A manager who wants her reps to make 120 dials a day might push her team to make 15 dials per hour for eight hours a day.
This sustained pressure is not effective and can lead to burnout. Reps are actually more productive when you structure their schedule around the Ironman “surge, back off, surge” strategy.
If you’re leading a sales team, here are four tips to follow when organizing “Power Hours”:
1. Follow the surge, back off, surge method
During power hours, push the reps to go as hard as they can.
They should avoid list building, extensive research or nurturing activities. Don’t schedule meetings or other distractions during “Power Hours” because this time is most effective for pipeline generation – calling new prospects and setting appointments.
In one solid hour of focused prospecting, some reps can make 30 to 40 dials. But of course, you don’t just want dials for the sake of dials, so “Power Hours” should include another goal that drives business results, such as appointments set, demos set or opportunities created.
Schedule “Power Hours” in specific time blocks and then allow reps to use other times of the day to focus on value-adding activities, such as building lists, cleaning data, self-development, deal progression or follow-up. This doesn’t mean they shouldn’t make prospecting calls at other times of the day, but the majority of their prospecting efforts should be focused during “Power Hours.”
2. Hold ‘Power Hours’ at the best times to reach prospects
Not all hours of the day are created equal.
Across our entire customer base, the 8-10 a.m. and 3-5 p.m. blocks of the day tend to be the most effective, but that can vary by industry and company.
For example, one of our clients that calls doctors and dentists is most effective from Noon-1 p.m., when doctors are on their lunch break. Keep in mind that “Powers Hours” don’t need to be just one hour. They could be 1.5- or 2-hour blocks, but typically don’t go beyond two hours.
3. Be consistent
Don’t be afraid to make “Power Hours” part of your daily schedule.
It may be difficult at first to change sales rep behavior, but if you are consistent in pushing a power schedule, it will eventually become natural for them.
4. Gamify your ‘Power Hours’
Run individual or team competitions around your “Power Hours.”
Be creative and change up competitions to keep them fresh. Keep in mind that not every “Power Hour” needs a competition. Even just providing visibility into the results will cause reps to naturally push themselves and accomplish more than they thought they could.
Be sure to set up your reporting so you can quantify the results of each “Power Hour.” Lastly, “Power Hours” are designed to be fast and furious, and sales reps want quick feedback on their production and results.
So, scrap the old notion of a full sprint to the end of the race and use “Power Hours” to “surge, back off, surge.”
Your prospecting will be more effective and your reps will show higher production with less burnout.
Download the free ebook below to learn other tips on how to build a world-class sales development team.