A company’s overall standing and financial health rely heavily on the performance of its sales team. A strong team can bring great fortunes to the business. One that performs weakly, on the other hand, can seriously undermine a company and its goals. Business owners and top executives then put a lot of pressures on sales managers to anchor their teams to success. It’s one huge role to fulfill.
Sales managers are expected to lead and bring in the desired results. They are like sports coaches tasked with the goal of steering their teams to bagging the championship. Or comparable to top-notch film directors expected to bring out the best in their actors to come out with a quality film and a potential blockbuster. Sales managers then are the proverbial captains of the ship.
But what makes for great sales managers? There are no easy and clear-cut answers. Successful sales managers differ with one another in management styles. Their worldviews and principles may not be the same.Their road to success may vary significantly as well. There are, however, best practices common to champion sales managers that can inspire you. You can even make it your goal to replicate some, if not most of these techniques to help you reach greater heights with your respective teams. We give you a dozen of these techniques to inspire and transform your sales forces into winning teams.
Your most important role is to take care of your team
It can never be overemphasized enough that being a sales manager is a leadership role. Many sales managers reached this coveted position by being top sellers when they were still ” just” doing sales. Becoming a manager is mostly viewed as a promotion. It is also an incentive for having brought in for revenue the company.
With the new role comes fresh mandate as well- with bigger responsibilities to fulfill. It just comes down to doing more work. Suddenly, there are the various and tedious reports to draft, seemingly endless meetings to attend, and piles and piles of paperwork to accomplish.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all these new tasks. You would want to excel in each one of them, of course, the same way you impressed your previous bosses when you exceeded your sales targets. But as sales manager now, your biggest role and concern remain to be your team. You have members to think of and guide. Your success now will be measured not just by your performance alone, but that of the entire team. Your new quota is naturally the cumulative quota of each and every member of your sales team. Their success becomes your success. Take very good care then of your team.
Time for your team is not just a gift but an imperative- share it wholeheartedly
This is probably one area where those who make the transition from salesperson to sales manager will strive to make the biggest adjustment. Top sellers are used to being selfish with their time as they are very focused on their targets, calendars, and schedules. They often detest unnecessary interruptions. But as sales manager, you practically don’t own your time. Your members will always need you. They will constantly approach you for any problem or concern. They would always want to consult with you.
There’s no other way to go about this but to share your time generously. Not only is it the right thing to do being the leader, but both you and your members will benefit a lot from spending and sharing time working together.
A good leader is a great motivator; be generous with praises
As the team leader, you have to keep your members inspired and motivated to reach their goals. You won’t achieve this by focusing on negative things, on mistakes and short-comings. Playing the blame game is a sign of weak leadership. Help your members boost their confidence. Congratulate them if they are doing good. Be very vocal in giving credit where credit is due.
Sales people are no different from all other workers. While financial targets certainly drive them, sales persons also work best when they feel good about themselves.
Changing with the times- as a modern leader. Empower your members
Traditional managers tend to control everything they could in their team. They subscribe to hierarchical views of leadership, where they act as task masters ready to order their people around.
Today, the narrative has changed. Leaders enable and support their members to achieve their goals. They no longer merely dictate but articulate their vision instead. They allow teammates enough latitude to do things on their own, in their styles and beliefs.
A good manager is also great at empathy, especially since many of them know what it’s like to be a sales person. Now they can have a better understanding by looking at things from their team’s perspectives.
Inspire members with the value of teamwork
In any team and work environment, conflict will almost always arise, at one point or another. This is further highlighted when members on the opposing end come from different teams or even departments. Your sales team members may find themselves at odds with the marketing team, for instance over creative concerns.
Don’t allow both teams to engage in an unproductive blame game. Hardly anyone wins in such an exercise. Encourage them instead to find common grounds, establish shared goals ( sales, quotas and the like) and work well together.
Practice reciprocity especially in giving and receiving feedbacks
It is within your duties and prerogative to give criticisms to your members. Try to make them as constructive as possible. The aim is to help them improve their skills and enhance their sales techniques to better reach their targets and goals.
Go the extra mile and employ a two- way feedback mechanism process. Solicit their criticisms and feedback on your performance and leadership as well. Take as much of it as you give out. This will inspire confidence in your members. This will also foster a culture of trust and openness within your team.
Success stories are meant to be shared for inspiration
When you and your team score big wins whether it be exceeding targets or sealing new deals, initiate and encourage the team to celebrate. Everyone must feel good about victories big and small. But it is not just all about cheers and chants. Take the time to discuss with your team why and how you achieve the feat. Make it a learning experience for everyone, and something from which they can draw inspiration from to always strive for excellence.
Get to know your members well
It is strategic for any sales manager to be familiar with their members. Each part of the team is special and unique. As such, there’s no one size fits all type of management style to cater to all members. A manager must strive to understand the particular strengths and weaknesses of each team member. Knowing all these can afford a good manager the flexibility to adjust leadership style according to members’ particular needs, dynamics, and opportunities.
Encourage continuous growth by setting goals and providing the right tools to your members
You want everyone onboard your team to be successful. Developing effective sales processes for your team that strongly defines expectations is a step in the right direction.
There should also be corresponding metrics to allow members to manage the given sales processes.
Of course, to fully equip members, an empowering manager should provide the right tools for the sales team: initiate training, meetings, ensure they have access to good technology, among others.
Remember, as sales manager, you act as coach to your members on a daily basis.
Leverage emerging technologies to add value to your team
The best sales managers are in constant looking for ways to bring out the best in their team. Since there’s no escaping or ignoring the prevalence of technology in our lives, you should tap this to improve your team and your targets.
One example is the availability of software that can increase sales efficiency and effectiveness. A recent study bears out that 65% of companies stated that the ability to find content quickly was a major sales pain point. Utilizing sales enablement software for your team, for instance, would allow team members easy access to content most relevant to their sales needs and goals, whenever and wherever they may need it.
Overcome sales roadblocks
You have to learn to identify the roadblocks getting in the way of your team’s sales goals. Determine the most pressing issues and plan your action points accordingly.
For instance, time is your members’ most valuable resource. A study suggests sales team waste a whole lot of precious time searching for sales content when access to sales software could be the easier and faster way to get the content and information they need.
To teach well, you must constantly learn, too
Leadership even for the best is always a work in progress. You become a better leader when you become a better person. Never stop learning. Seek mentors. Read books on leadership and other relevant topics. Learn new skills. Study latest industry trends. Build fellowships with colleagues and encourage dynamic discussions. When you learn more, you get to share more with your team.
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