Distraction limits efficiency. This inescapable fact of human nature is too often ignored by employers, as they frequently sabotage their own efforts at creating more efficient processes by overloading employees with a variety of different tasks.
Context switching, or the process of mentally switching gears from one task to another, takes time. Some psychologists have even likened the process to a computer reset, as a new task requires the brain to take the time to “recontextualize” to the new situation and expectations.
Most people, especially strong multitaskers, claim they hardly notice the brief mental processing delay, but it can be measured, and this processing delay can add up to a significant amount of time over a full shift, especially if the sales rep is frequently changing between a number of disparate tasks.
Focusing on more than one thing decreases productivity by 40% and lowers IQ by 10 points, according to Harvard Business Review. It also leads to a loss of 2.1 hours a day.
It might be hard to believe, but according to Gloria Mark, Professor of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine, her research shows that information workers (i.e., salespeople) switch tasks every three minutes and five seconds on average. Moreover, close to half of these context switches were actually “self-interruptions”.
Reducing/Mitigating Context Switching
Larger employers are becoming increasingly aware of the costs of context switching, and many have begun to fine tune their operations to minimize context switching and prevent their sales reps from losing focus.
Thoughtful scheduling of a rep’s daily activities can help in minimizing context switching. For example, a sales development rep on an inside sales team might spend the first hour of her day cleaning up leads and resolving problems, then she logs into her sales communication tool and puts in three hours sending emails working to qualify leads. After lunch, she’ll reach out to leads using an auto dialer like FrontSpin for three hours or so, and spend the last hour of her day responding to emails and finalizing qualified leads to pass on to the account exec team.
Grouping calls is another way to minimize context switching. One idea is to group calls by roles, so sales reps can focus on the same messaging for the same buyer personas and not have to mentally switch gears.
With this kind of block scheduling and carefully considered grouping of calls, you can make sure that your team is exposed to minimum distractions so they can get more work done. The use of an integrated sales communication tool and autodialer also means the employee is switching to a designated work environment that encourages staying on task.
Not surprisingly, a growing number of sales managers are turning to technology in their efforts to streamline their operations and improve rep productivity. The latest sales communication & acceleration tools and auto dialers offer a ton of useful features to save time and improve productivity.
Sales Communication Software and Auto Dialer Improves Focus, Improves Productivity
Sales communication & acceleration platforms and auto dialers continue to evolve, and most of the new features are aimed at eliminating unnecessary work and distractions, so that sales reps spend more of their time contacting customers and closing deals.
An integrated, multi-modal sales tool that includes an auto dialer should allow reps to more than double the total number of email or phone contacts made during a shift, dramatically increasing productivity and resulting in more, higher-quality leads and more opportunities for account execs.
The latest generation of sales communication solutions have significantly leveraged the value of an inside sales team. Technology has made it possible to integrate a number of tasks into a single interface, enabling the development of a more effective sales process, and giving your team the tools it needs to rapidly qualify prospects and close more deals.
Forward-looking sales managers are closely tracking the technology-driven sea change that is hitting the inside sales world today, and are taking steps to ensure their sales teams have the productivity tools they need to succeed.