Top Two Regional CSM Time Management Priorities

Time Management for Catering SalesAs a prior Regional CSM I used to be concerned that I wasn’t spending my time the best way possible. There were so many things that I could be doing that seemed important for the business. The perception isn’t incorrect. There are a lot of action items that can benefit the organization and result in more catering sales. The trick is identifying the actions that have the most benefit and prioritizing our time. I always used to tell myself, “If my daily “to-do” list consists of more than two tasks that will not directly result in retaining an existing customer, or obtaining a new catering customer, I need to re-evaluate my daily priorities.”

Top Two Priorities:

  • New Business Development

  • Retention of Existing Catering Customers

Let’s start with new business development. There are many customers we can go after so it’s really important to know which customers we should spend the most time pursuing. The most crucial and time consuming effort I had on my to-do list was making prospecting calls. I needed to spend a lot of time calling around to businesses, getting in touch with someone that would talk to me and then taking that person through a short qualification process.  I put in place an A, B or C ranking system. It was all based around these four questions:

  1. Does your company ever order food for groups either having a meeting or special event?

  2. How often do those meetings or events take place?

  3. How many people are those meetings generally for?

  4. Who is in charge of ordering for those meetings or events?

Depending on the answers, I would assign them a rank of either A, B or C (if you would like to discuss what criteria I used to decide if the opportunity was an A, B or C please call me directly at 1-561-629-2715).  For all of my A leads I would set up face-to-face meetings. As these types of meetings are so time consuming and labor intensive I really wanted to make sure they had a good shot of producing many orders for my area.

I would also spend some of my time with the operators at the individual stores within my region. Now be careful here…if it’s up to the operator they will have you conducting deliveries and packing up orders! Those activities are not conducive to new business development and therefore are not a good use of a salesperson’s time. While in the store I would spend my time training the staff on catering, making sure approved catering marketing messaging was in the store, and communicating the customer feedback on some of the successful orders the store executed. This helped me to build a positive culture around the catering initiative. In order to achieve optimal results I needed to have the support of my stores. They supported me by executing flawlessly and encouraging their customers to try out our catering services.

The second priority I had was to retain existing customers. It’s much easier to retain customers than it is to acquire new ones. Here is a list of the activities I would do to support this priority:

  • Call all new customers as a follow-up to not only see how their experience was but to also see if there are any additional opportunities within that account (other divisions and decision makers)

  • Call customers that hadn’t ordered in the past 60 days as a way to get them back ordering regularly

  • Call “top” customers – those that spent the most money need special attention

  • Conduct random quality assurance checks at the delivery site after B2B meetings. Make sure execution standards are being maintained once the order leaves the restaurant so the customer will want to order again

CSM Time Management Calendar

Once our priorities are set it’s easy to outline our sales activities and utilize our time productively. We’ve created a sample calendar that can help organize a CSM’s week just for you!



Lisa DeFeo-Bass - VP, Education & Training, MMS Catering Institute