This article is part of the Sales and Marketing Efficiency Hacks Series focused on helping entrepreneurs save time and increase productivity and effectiveness.
Tired of being pulled around by interruptions and fires, jumping from task to task like a rabbit, feeling like you never accomplish any of your really important things?
It’s the entrepreneur’s hamster wheel and its not a good time.
Running around and around but never really getting anywhere.
I used to feel like that too. Until an amazing little thing called batching came into my life and changed everything. Im off the hamster wheel and have regained (some) control and focus.
Here is a list of 10 sales and marketing activities that I see as essential to growing a business and how to use batching to get it all done.
WTH Is Task Batching?
It’s the magical unicorn of productivity that increases your mental sharpness, concentration, creativity and general awesomeness while also saving you time.
You’re paying attention now, right?
Batching (time blocking, task batching, or batch processing) is where you reserve chunks of your time dedicated to one specific task or group of repetitive tasks.
For details on task batching and a step-by-step guide on how to get started check out our article How To 10X Your Sales and Marketing Productivity Using Batching.
Before we jump into the types of tasks that pair really well with batching, there are a couple of things that we need to keep in mind to help us be successful.
Eliminate distractions. Literally. Hide the phone, turn off the notifications, leave the house – whatever you need to do in order to be able to focus on the task at hand. In order to really maximize your concentration, creativity and efficiency, you must get rid of anything that will take away your focus.
Focus on one task at a time. Focusing on one thing at a time is imperative to the batching process. For example, if you plan to batch produce 5 YouTube videos you may want to break that down into chunks for efficiency. You would use your first batch to plan out the content and develop the outline for each video. In the second batch you might do all of your research. Then in the next batch you would film each of the 5 videos. This way you are keeping your brain focused on one task with one objective at a time.
Here are all of the ways that I batch sales and marketing activities here at Selling With Soul. I may be a little batch crazy but when I find something that works I stick to it like the gum in my toddlers hair this morning (true story).
Sales And Marketing Activities To Batch
1. Client referral calls. Client referrals are an incredibly important sources of new business for us. Because they are so valuable, we batch schedule reoccurring time each week to focus on this activity.
Pro Tip: To maximize our time we prepare a list of clients that we would like to contact each week prior to our scheduled referral callout appointment. We are also sure to have a light script for the ask and for voicemail, so we don’t get stuck as we call.
2. Client check-ins and testimonial calls. Regular check-ins are an important part of retaining clients and continuing to build your relationship with them. Check-ins and testimonial calls also provide you with a great opportunity to upsell and suggest new services for current clients.
Pro Tip: Asking for testimonials doesn’t have to be difficult.If you’re looking for tips on how to ask clients for testimonials and a downloadable script, check this out.
3. Influencer introductions. Networking with influencers and other leaders in my space is an essential part of my marketing strategy and has been an excellent growth tool. I maintain a list of potential new clients, collaborators, and influencers that I would like to get to know. Whenever I come across a new, interesting or influential person in our space I capture their name and information in my CRM (client relationship management system) and assign a label to them so that I can easily run a report with a list.
I batch schedule time each week to reach out to the people that are on my influencer list. I do this via email, an introduction from a friend, over social media etc.
All I have to do is run the list in our CRM and we know who to reach out to. Then we enter the results in my CRM. Yes, we do that in a batch too.
Pro Tip: Follow-up and tracking is critical in generating revenue and building relationships. It can be easy to lose track of where you are in the process if you don’t have a system in place. HubSpot has a free CRM that you can try out or create a spreadsheet tracker to help stay on top of everything.
4. Scheduling potential client meetings and calls. Scheduling is by far my least favorite activity. It can be super frustrating and time consuming.
To make this process easier I keep standard days and times reserved each week for introductory calls and consultations. Which makes managing our calendar wayyy easier. I then reserve time each week to batch reach out to clients to schedule or confirm appointments.
Pro Tip: Try out an online scheduler. This amazing piece of technology allows you to set up an online calendar with your availability. You can then send a link to your calendar to your potential clients, so they can pick a day and time that works for them.
It cuts back tremendously on the back and forth banter of finding a day and time that works. We use Acuity here and we have heard great things about Schedule Once as well.
5. Following up on sales calls. The most used phrase here at Selling with Soul without a doubt is “The fortune is in the follow-up.”
Sister, that is the legit truth.
80% of all businesses will not follow-up and therefor will not get the client. The 20% who do get paid and get their life changing offering into the hands of someone who needs it.
It breaks my heart when ya'll miss out on something that you totally would have rocked just because you didn't follow-up. So much about success is about simply showing up.
That is why I have at least one time slot per week every week where I do nothing but follow-up on recent conversations.
Sometimes you have to-do items or things you need to send out like a revised proposal. Maybe you want to send them a case study. Other times you are waiting on an answer or a down payment from a future client. Maybe there are people in your online funnel that didn't buy yet.
Repeat after me, "I will be one of the people who follows-up!!"
It is critical that your follow-up and earn the business and a new client. Get that in your calendar as a “must do”, reoccurring appointment.
Pro Tip: Similar to the tip in #4 above implement a system and leverage technology to help you track your open items and future clients that you need to follow-up with.
6. Actually talking to people in your network. I know that this sounds pretty ridiculous to some of you like, "Thanks captain obvious". But heres the thing, a HUGE amount of the women that I work with aren't investing time in having conversations with people and building their networks.
And I get it, I really do. The day is short and the task list is long. Many of us work out of our home and can go a few days without actually talking with anyone in our network (and no the help desk person at your website company doesn't count). Its easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of things that need our attention and its easy to let something like networking fall off of your to-do list.
But heres the thing, you need to have relationships with other likeminded people. People who are going through, struggling with and dreaming of the same things as you.
You need to find a squad to help you avoid burnout, to vent to, to bounce an idea off of, to send a virtual hug every once in a while.
Make friends, find collaborators, masterminds and mentors because if there's one thing that I have learned the hard way, its that this entrepreneurship thing can be super lonely.
Which is why every Tuesday night is my networking night. I batch schedule 2 hours to work on nothing but networking and connecting with my squad.
Pro Tip: LinkedIn is a great place for networking (bonus: its a great place to learn more about clients, influencers and potential collaborators as well). Facebook communities and groups are excellent places to build new relationships and get to know your current clients more intimately. Use the tip from #4 regarding systems to keep track of these new friends and interactions.
P.S. - If you're feeling like you can use a great big virtual hug and some good old fashion love, Im here for you. You can find me here in our free and awesome Selling With Soul Facebook Group.
7. Content Creation. So no long explanation here this is a modern marketing must.
My goal for Selling with Soul is to create 2 long-form blog posts a month (1500+ words), 8 podcasts and 2 YouTube videos. That doesn’t include social media posts, speeches, presentations, or collaborations.
Oh, and there's still this little thing called clients that we need to attend to. Just kidding its the most important thing that we do.
Seriously, the struggle is real ya’ll.
But I (mostly) get it all done with minimal levels of stress (most of the time) by batch creating. We have a quarterly schedule where we set time aside in the first 3 weeks of the quarter to plan for and create the content for the upcoming quarter.
We do this in chunks. First, we plan out the content topic, the type and release dates. Then we work on outlines for each of the pieces. We then take a few whole days to produce the content.
BOOM! Content creation done for the next few weeks and we can focus our attention on other things.
Want more details? The whole plan along with a downloadable template is laid out here, 1 Powerful Way To Stop Content Creation From Taking Over Your Business.
Pro Tip: Content repurposing can also help you save some precious time. Check out our article, The Ultimate How To Guide For Repurposing Content to get more leverage out of your content with less effort.
8. Weekly client emails. Technically, this is really a part of our content creation efforts. But because its so very important I wanted to break it out here for you. Just like our content creation – we take our weekly email chats with our tribe very seriously.
We batch prepare these quarterly in two steps.
I schedule 2, 4-hour batches of time after the content in step #7 has been completed. This way, I'm able to reference the content that will be released in the appropriate weeks email.
During that time, I produce 1 email for each week of the upcoming quarter.
I also schedule 1 hour per week, to test and review the email that is scheduled to go out that week. So, we have them all created in step 1 and then we review and add or update as we see fit in step 2.
Pro Tip: Templates are the bomb! Set up email templates with your branding for different forms of emails (narrative, informational, update, etc.), so that all you need to focus on is writing each one when you’re batching. This will cut down on the amount of time it takes to create multiple emails.
Check out this article for 10 free customizable sales and marketing templates that you can use immediately to save time and tears.
9. Social media posts and engagement. Ok - honest moment here, social media is not my strong point. I have a love/hate relationship with it and I often struggled to find the time to post. Sometimes, social media can seem like a huge distraction to me.
That being said, I realize that it is critical to my business.
And again if Im being honest, there are some things that I love about it as well. I love the conversations that I get to have with you and the relationships that I am able to form. I realize that is only possible because of social media and I consider that a blessing.
My new goal is to try to post a minimum of 3 times a day on each of the social media platforms that we are focused on right now. That’s a lot when you realize that each post needs to be customized for the platform and it can seem overwhelming especially for someone like me who struggles to find the time and focus to consistently post.
Batching to the rescue again.
Each month, I plan to batch schedule time to create a minimum of 1 month’s worth of posts. And then we add these to our scheduler.
Set it and forget it.
Not only does this increase productivity and efficiency, but it takes a whole lot of pressure off of me to constantly be on social media updating – which often turns into a huge distraction and more time wasted.
Now I can hop on to our accounts in between scheduled posts and update in a fun on-the-fly way when I can without feeling frantic.
The other side of social media is engaging with other people’s content – I schedule time twice a week to work on that as well.
Pro Tips: Check out this helpful article from MeetEdgar it outlines a process to batch create social media posts, I highly encourage you to check that out.
Remember how much I love templates? Set up social templates to make it easier and faster as well (1 for branded insta quote posts, and another for podcast release updates for instance).
We highly suggest that you invest in a social media scheduling tool. Hootsuite is what we use here, but there are a ton of others on the market as well.
10. Thank yous. A regular gratitude practice has so many benefits. And I schedule time for it each week.
To kick off the week, I like to make a small list of people that I would like to thank – clients, vendors, family members etc. And then every Monday, reserve time to reach out to those people and say thank you. Sometimes we call, produce handwritten notes or send a small token.
This simple, consistent practice creates joy and positivity that lasts throughout the week no matter how challenging things get.
Pro Tip: Be as specific as possible when expressing gratitude to someone, it makes the experience much more personal and powerful for both the recipient and you.
You now have a top 10 list of things to work on to grow your business and a powerful yet simple method for getting it done.
Ready to give it a shot?
Before you get started, here are a couple of helpful hints to make the most of your batching efforts:
Whenever possible be prepared ahead of time with lists, scripts etc. this allows you to maximize the time that you have allotted to that specific task.
Don’t break flow. Flow is a term that us psychology buffs use to refer to “getting in the zone”. Once you break the flow by directing your attention elsewhere, it can take your brain up to 25 minutes to refocus fully. That’s a huge waste of time - not cool.
For example, if you’re working on client referrals jot down your notes and results quickly on a piece of paper instead of getting on the computer and logging the details right then. This way, you just continue in a flow of calling and asking about referrals.
Not doing any of the above activities? I would suggest picking two to begin implementing into your routine this week using the batching method. And then adding more in over time.
If you are already doing these, have you tried batching to maximize your time and efforts?
You need to be absolutely ruthless with your time as a busy female entrepreneur if you want to survive, grow and thrive. And I have found that batching can be a profound way to accomplish more, with higher quality and less stress.
What has worked for you? How do you manage all of the important aspects of growing a business? I invite you to share your experiences and thoughts below for everyone to benefit from.
Wishing you much success and joy on your journey!