Inside Sales Best Practices

Sales Efficiency: Stop Wasting Time Taking Meaningless Notes

Ken Krogue

WatchWhile consulting with one company, I took a stopwatch with me and started timing all the ways salespeople could waste time. I counted 15 different ways that occurred pretty regularly.

One of the first time wasters I discovered was the time it takes to leave a voicemail, but one of the craziest was the time reps waste taking notes.

After every call, reps would take notes about the call. They were trying to record everything so they could remember what happened the next time around, but it was out of control. In fact, the call would only last two and a half minutes, but then they would spend eight minutes typing notes.

I called XANT CEO Dave Elkington and said, “Dave, could we just record the call? The call’s only two and a half minutes. They’re taking eight minutes to type up what they just heard in the call. They could listen to the call faster than typing their notes. That’s a huge waste of time.”

So we built call recording into our technology to save reps time.

My friend Steve Richard at ExecVision has taken this one step further by adding the cool capability of turning call recordings into transcriptions and linking them back to the original stage of the sales process for easy access.

OUA: One Unique Aspect

I also tried to figure out why sales reps were taking so many notes. They were typing information in the notes field to remember something unique and personal about the person when they called back, with all kinds of details in the notes—but nobody ever really reviewed the details.

We invented OUA, which stands for One Unique Aspect. Just record the most unique thing about the person on the call in your notes. One thing was enough to bring everything else back to mind. We started a tradition in every new hiring of employees and every small seminar: we have everyone share their OUA.

Let’s say you’re talking to someone who’s just sprained his ankle. When you call back six weeks later, you scan the notes.

The OUA says, “sprained ankle,” prompting you to ask him about it.

“Hey, Ryan, how’s that ankle?”

He thinks, “Wow, amazing. This salesperson remembered me.”

Well, the truth is, you have a little note that says OUA: “ask about sprained ankle.” That one memory hook in the notes helped bring back the entire conversation that you had with Ryan.

Using OUAs, call recordings and a couple of other changes, we were able to reduce eight minutes of note-taking to 30 seconds.

If you want to learn more about how you can increase your sales efficiency, grab the white paper on the 15 Time Wasters of Inside Sales below.

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