4 reasons salespeople shouldn’t multitask

MultitaskingYou may have read the title of this blog and thought to yourself – this isn’t for me, I’m a professional when it comes to multitasking. Turns out, the better you think you are at multi-tasking, the worse you actually are.

After many decades of glorifying multi-tasking and building tools, technology and lives around this myth, researchers the world round are pointing back to the fact that we as humans are built to focus. In fact, if we insist on multi-tasking, efficiency goes out the window. Here are four reasons why salespeople shouldn’t multi-task:

1. The better you think you are at multitasking the worse you actually are: According to Maria Konnikova’s reporting in the New Yorker on David Strayer’s research, 98% of us are predisposed to be highly inefficient multi-taskers. Additionally, the study found a correlation between perceived ability to multi-task and actual performance. Turns out, the better we think we are at multitasking, the worse we are.  “They found a strong relationship; an inverse one,” Konnikova reports. “The better someone thought she was, the more likely it was that her performance was well below par.”

2. If Multitasking chose a mascot profession, it would be sales: Now, apply this knowledge in the context of your crazy busy, device juggling sales rep. After all, if multi-tasking had to choose a mascot profession, sales would surely be the winner. Reps routinely deal with hundreds of varied activities, including devoting more than half of their day to non-selling activities. In fact, according to research by Sibson Consulting, the average performing sales rep spends 65% of their time on non-selling activities. Just one look at this number and one has to conclude there must be a better way.

3. Cost of switching between tasks is astounding: Most sales reps spend much of their day shifting between one task or another. One minute they are scanning a list of leads, the next they are drilling into a lead record, a minute later they turn to LinkedIn to get more info on their prospect, and during this process, they are interrupted by a co-worker or manager. Turns out switching tasks has unseen costs, some researcher’s estimate as much as 40% of someone’s productive time is lost due to brief mental blocks caused by switching tasks.

New research from Velocify validates the benefits of automated sales activity prioritization for salespeople, showing a significant increase in productivity and performance.
New research validates the benefits of automated sales activity prioritization for salespeople.

4. Prioritization of sales activities has incredible upside: New research from Velocify validates the benefits of single tasking for salespeople, showing a significant increase in productivity and performance among salespeople and companies who leverage prioritization technology. In fact, salespeople utilizing prioritization technology averaged 88% more talk time and 15% greater contact and conversion rates than those salespeople not utilizing prioritization technology. And at the company level, the potential is even greater, with those companies that utilize prioritization technology averaging 97% greater conversation rates compared to those that don’t.

If you’re still not convinced salespeople shouldn’t multitask, download the full study “The Power of Prioritization – How Automating Relative Importance of Sales Activities Can Impact Sales Success,” providing definitive evidence that prioritization technology improves sales productivity and performance.


Nick Hedges, CEO of VelocifyAbout the author: Nick Hedges is president and CEO of Velocify and a 15 year veteran of the Internet and SaaS industries. Nick has spent the last six years helping organizations accelerate sales performance and recently became an advisory board member for the Association of Inside Sales Professionals. Nick is a Fulbright Scholar, holds an MBA with Distinction from Harvard and a bachelor’s degree from Manchester University.



  • It’s amazing how we can justify doing some crazy things by thinking we’re doing more than we would otherwise.

    Even the simplest multi-tasking task distracts our mind and doesn’t allow us to use our full brain power on either activity. That’s why prioritizing our work and cutting out some of the busy, repetitive work is so important.

    Some CRMs are great at helping us find prioirities, and some also provide automation tools that help you lose some of the daily baggage and stay focused on what’s really important.

  • Very true. Study shows that multitasking damages your brain and lowers IQ. That’s why focusing on one task is much better that doing different tasks at once.

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