Time management is incredibly important in the workplace, and it's even doubly so for field reps. That's because field reps are constantly bouncing from store to store, spending time on tasks like conversing with store managers about the current state of things, evaluating shelves and promotional displays, and even conducting audits.
Every minute of a field rep's time is valuable, and time wasted at one store could otherwise provide much-needed one-on-one time with another. It is for that reason that we offer the following three tips to help field reps make the most of their time each day:
1. Expect the Unexpected
You never know when you might have to cover another field rep's territory at a moment's notice. It is for this reason that you always want to set aside some time as a cushion in case you need to take on more tasks than you had initially planned for that particular day. And should nothing go wrong, you can instead use that time to be more productive in your own territory, like spending a few extra minutes deciding what it is exactly about a store's signage that isn't quite right, or maybe popping over to the store manager for a quick discussion about a promotion's performance - a discussion that you might otherwise not have had time for.
2. Work Around Your Stores' Schedules
A trick to maximizing the time you spend at each store is in making sure that you are not visiting the store at the worst possible time. For grocery stores, this would be around dinner time each night, during the early afternoon on weekends, or right before a storm hits - the times when people are stocking up, either for that night's dinner or for the following week. You also may want to steer clear of visiting stores first thing in the morning, since they usually reserve their slower times for staff meetings.
3. Don't Procrastinate
You know all of those little tasks that you put off until later? Well, don't. You might think that you're spending more precious time than you should be on a bunch of little tasks, but as it turns out, you might actually be saving time because sometimes planning for these tasks takes more time than just pushing up your sleeves and getting right into them.
This is a classic case of a molehill becoming a mountain. If you take too long to upload data to a server, for example, than this relatively menial task can cause major problems for those who might be depending on that upload in order to do their jobs, and this can eventually lead to bigger problems for the company overall, like lost profits due to a loss of productivity. And all this because you simply did not feel like doing what you needed to do and chose to put it off until later. Don't do that. Just do the thing.
Are you effectively managing your time while you're out in the field? See how your skills stack up against those of your peers by clicking below to receive our free Field Force Productivity Assessment.