Context Switching is Killing SDRs' Productivity — Here’s What Stops It

Context Switching


I’ve got some bad news.

There’s a hidden productivity vampire lurking in the shadows of your organization, draining your SDR teams’ time and energy, and leaving them frustrated and overwhelmed. It’s threatening deals, revenue, and team morale — and if you don’t address it soon, it’ll only become more deadly.

Worse, this silent and lethal productivity assassin is something you and your team engage in every day, often without realizing it. 

It’s called context switching. And, luckily, this problem is solvable.

Here’s what context switching means, and what you can do to finally vanquish this villain — or at least limit its impact.

What is Context Switching?

Context switching is the act of switching between multiple tasks or activities, otherwise known as multitasking. But while the term multitasking maintains a positive connotation (because we often associate it with efficiency), it’s actually one of the most counterproductive ways to work.

A study by the American Psychological Association found that switching between tasks can cost as much as 40 percent of a person’s productive time. That’s because, each time you shift your focus from one task to another, you disrupt the balanced flow of information within your brain circuitry. This prevents the deep-thinking necessary for critical SDR skills — like solving problems and building authentic relationships.

For most SDRs, context switching means constantly shifting between trying to have genuine conversations with prospective customers and handling the administrative tedium of chasing leads. (I.e., Emailing back and forth to find and confirm meeting times, documenting outcomes in CRMs, and managing a variety of software tools supposedly designed to make life easier — just to name a few tasks.)

Your prospects expect a meaningful, authentic, and memorable experience. But, thanks to the constant disruption of context switching, it’s becoming harder than ever for SDRs to get into the zone. 

So what can you do about it?

How to Take Back Productive Time

You know time is money, and every moment wasted toggling between tasks or fumbling through another app is time you’re not driving revenue — and precious moments you’ll never get back. But, you and your team can’t simply shirk all your responsibilities either.

There are three ways you can approach this: 

• Increase your headcount

Adding additional reps to your team could help divide up the workload, giving each SDR a little more time to focus on their ever-growing pile of work.

Unfortunately, it also requires additional budget. And, if you’re already struggling to hit revenue targets, it can be challenging to convince senior decision-makers to approve more hires. And even if they do, they’ll likely increase goals even more to justify the larger budget — which puts you back in the same position as before (but with an even larger team to manage). 

So unless you already have an unlimited budget, this option probably isn’t the right solution.

• Scale back your expectations

If revenue has flatlined and your team is burning out, it may be time to have some hard conversations with senior leadership and explain that your goals are too lofty.

…But while it’s important to set realistic expectations, lowering your team’s goals isn’t likely to reflect well on you or the SDRs you manage. It’s not wise to brooch this area until you’ve exhausted every other option.

• Offload the burden to calendar automation

The best way to combat context switching is by investing in tech that makes reps’ lives easier. Calendar automation allows SDRs to reclaim productive time by taking over the boring (yet essential) minutiae currently consuming their workdays.

Kronologic’s Virtual SDR technology, for example, automatically connects with leads on reps’ behalf and schedules meetings based on their availability — without giving them any extra software to manage. This AI-powered tech can even prioritize meetings by value and schedule the highest-dollar opportunities first.

Plus, because calendar automation works 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, you never have to worry about missing a hot lead on evenings or weekends (when your SDRs are taking a much-deserved break).

If you’re like most sales leaders, the choice is clear: calendar automation is the only realistic method for overcoming context switching. Because, instead of spending time chasing down leads to set a meeting time, SDRs can spend their day focused on the highly skilled work you hired them to do: build meaningful relationships and close deals.

Context switching doesn’t have to be an inevitability of modern sales. By investing in AI-powered calendar automation, you can relieve reps from their burden and gift them with the focused time they need to bust through revenue goals.

Interested in learning more about our Virtual SDR tech? 

Request a Demo Now


Originally published Oct 14, 2020 9:00:00 AM, updated

Topics: Featured

Aaron Bollinger

Written by Aaron Bollinger

Aaron Bollinger loves to create and evangelize innovative new technologies, which is exactly what he’s crushing in his current role as Co-Founder & CRO at Kronologic. Previously Aaron was a part of the team at BazaarVoice (formerly NASDAQ:BV), where he built out a global team that increased pipeline contribution by 300% and annual bookings by 500% - pushing both of these numbers into the tens of millions of $. Prior to BazaarVoice, during the rise of social media, Aaron was one of the founding sales hires at KickApps and helped build the company over 5 years through 3 VC rounds and onto millions in annual revenue and a profitable acquisition.