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Time Management for Sales Development Reps

Effective time management is essential to SDR productivity. 83.4% of SDRs fail to consistently hit quota each month, in large part because they lack this critical skill. The problem is so prevalent that in TOPO’s SDR benchmark research, 33.3% of high-growth companies cite challenges around SDR time management as one of the top three challenges for their organization. These challenges include:

  1. Prioritizing high value activities
  2. Consistently achieving activity goals
  3. Staying focused/not wasting time
  4. Maintaining process (e.g. following a touch pattern).

Thankfully, time management is a solvable problem. That’s why the TOPO Sales Development Practice just published the research note, Best Practices for SDR Time Management, which leverages the best practices from top-performing SDR teams to provide a framework and tools to help SDRs stay productive and consistently achieve quota.

This note covers:

  • Guidelines for SDRs to approach time management in a systematic manner that supports hitting their quota.
  • Best practices for managing time more effectively and optimizing daily SDR activities.
  • Tools to help SDRs set and achieve daily goals.

SDR Time Management Best Practices

The research note builds upon three foundational best practices for SDR time management:

  1. Set goals and objectives.
  2. Create a daily calendar.
  3. Streamline SDR activities.

Set goals and objectives

The first step to effective time management is to set smart daily and weekly goals that anticipate performance challenges before they occur. To do this, first divide your quota into weekly and daily goals. SDRs who consistently hit quota produce steadily throughout the month. Rather than looking at your quota as a monthly number (or worse, quarterly), divide it by week and by day. Next, create daily activity goals. If you know you must produce one SQL each day, break that goal into the individual activities your will need to complete each day to produce your desired results. Finally, plan for the amount of time required to it your daily goals.With your daily activity goals defined, you must ensure you dedicate enough time throughout your day to achieve those goals. Block off time on your calendar dedicated to prospecting and protect that time from distractions like internal meetings.

Create a daily calendar

With your goals and objectives well-defined and with an understanding of the time required each to to hit those goals, the next step is to create a daily calendar to help manage your time. The calendar below provides an exampleof how to block out your day to ensure you stay focused and allot yourself enough time to hit your goals. You will notice not only the organization, but the consistency with which this SDR executes activities day after day. Great SDRs not only schedule each day around the activities that will help them hit their quota, but they develop consistent daily habits that allow them to progress day by day towards their monthly quota.

SDR Time Management Calendar

Streamline SDR activies

Time management is only as effective as the process it is supporting. Once you are consistently achieving both your daily goals and monthly quota, identify efficiencies in your daily activities to reduce time spent on them. Technology and automation offer significant gains on top of these process improvements, but be careful to solve for process first. Common areas for improvement include:

  • Make more calls per day by dedicating blocks of time to this activity.
  • Send more emails per day by leveraging templates.
  • Reduce time spent on buyer research by grouping your outreach by company, industry, lead source or another similarity to scale your research efforts by focusing on the same types of buyers.
  • Reduce distractions by specifying time to internal meeting and protecting all other time for prospecting activities.
  • Manage and log activities more efficiently by collaborating with sales ops/CRM admin and/or leveraging sales productivity apps to automate administrative activities.

If you’d like access to Best Practices for SDR Time Management, contact TOPO at www.topohq.com. If you have specific questions for the lead analyst on this report, Bryan Gonzalez, you can reach analyst@topohq.com.

About the Author:  Bryan Gonzalez is TOPO’s Sales Development Analyst. He publishes research and helps clients design, build, and optimize their Sales Development organizations. Prior to joining TOPO, Bryan was a founding member of two high-growth SDR teams, and helped launch, execute and scale their Sales Development programs.

  • sam

    Where’s research in the daily calendar?

    • Bryan Gonzalez

      Hi Sam,

      Thanks for the question. The research time is baked into the time allotted for double touches. Typically, we see SDRs do buyer research for 3 or fewer minutes before calling and sending an email. They do this progressively as they move through their outreach list for the day, rather than in one block of time at the beginning of the week, for example.


  • Radz

    Are templates really applicable to when you’re doing a highly personalized first touch with C/SVP level executives?

    I’m still conflicted on this. Even if its low volume, for solutions with price points beyond the $100K+ mark I think you should create highly targeted & personalized emails. I know Responsys (via Daniel Barber’s Personalization 3.0 post) had the 10/80/10 model, which worked beautifully for them.

    Doug Landis also hit on this note with his recent “Simple Sales Advice” post about timing/relevance with your messaging.

    Would love to hear your thoughts if you’ve heard from SDRs that have to do a high level of personalized outreach.

  • Hansoftech

    Worth reading Article. Really helpful for sales time management for sales

  • Divya Ramamurthy

    Time management seems to be a reoccurring issue for every job out there, including being a student. I agree with this article because you can go through simple steps to manage your time in the most efficient way such as making goals, creating a calendar, and always staying focused until the task is done.
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  • William

    Thank you for posting this article. This article explains a lot effective views related to sales and marketing . I have been searching for these opportunities. You can view http://goo.gl/TvlS9j for more detailed information about sales.

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