A successful sales team management takes a lot of time, effort, and special touches. Salespeople are wired differently than others. Their defining qualities – fearlessness and unrelenting determination are what make them both great at closing deals and, at times, be a handful to manage.
There are strategies you can adopt as a sales manager that will inspire rather than confine your sales team toward greater results.
Coach, don’t preach
When a member of your team lacks a skill, position yourself as a coach rather than telling them what to do. Present the facts of the situation and ask for their input on how they would suggest addressing it. As a manager, you want them to own the solution than having it put upon them. There’s possibly no more effective way to persuade a salesperson to use a different approach than by showing them. Try recreating a few calls with your sales rep to demonstrate how your strategy works and let your rep take over and practice.
If you use a rulebook, put it away. The more compliance-driven your culture in the team is, the more your sales team will resist. Although you need to track sales activity, but beyond that, it’s better to avoid complex sales processes that tie the hands of your sales team. Find the balance between management and over-management.
Read this in-depth article about salesforce management insights by experts: https://www.tenfold.com/sales-leadership/sales-force-management
How To Help Your Sales Team Improve Productivity
The first step is to provide them with clear department goals. This will help your sales team achieve higher levels of productivity. Incorporating those goals to company strategies will help them clearly see the bigger picture and better understand the part they play in creating it.
The next step is to help your salespeople in translating the department goals into individual goals. Those goals should be specific, with outlined objectives which they can focus on. The goals should be measurable and have deadlines so the rate of their progress can be tracked and monitored.
Goals need to be analyzed, organized, and prioritized. Those that directly relate to corporate initiatives and contribute to the accomplishment of other goals, should be placed at the top of the list.
After the goals have been prioritized, action plans for accomplishment need to be developed. Those plans must be as detailed as the goals themselves. They should include definite steps, taken in a definite sequence, within a definite time frame, and with specific outcomes in mind.
The more specific the plan is, the easier your salespeople can stay on track and measure their progress. If the process becomes temporarily disturbed, a well-constructed plan makes the path to getting back on track easier.
Another tip on how to improve your team’s productivity is to allow team members to do what they do best. For example, if you have a salesperson who shows prowess at prospecting, but is not doing so well at entering information into the company’s CRM program, rather than assigning him that task, get him an assistant to help with it. This allows the salesperson to invest more of his time and effort into uncovering new opportunities which would highly contribute to accomplishing the department goals, it’s way better than insisting that he spend time in front of a computer.
4 Tips to Improve Sales Team Performance
Sales Performance Management is about improving the performance of your sales organization and your sales team’s effectiveness as well as efficiency. Here are a few ways to improve sales performance:
- Encourage personal development.
Personal development is something that should be strongly encouraged from your employees; self-improvement is about enhancing life at work, as well as individual life, too.
Personal development starts from within, but it should be encouraged by you to reinforce its positive effects.
Encourage your members to start each morning by choosing to be positive each day. Follow through with the attitude to match, and you’ll set yourself up as well as your team for success throughout the day.
Apart from adopting a positive attitude, a healthy diet and regular exercise routine can do miracles for a person’s personal development. Once an ideal routine is fixed, they’ll have more energy than necessary that can be used to do better at their job.
Open communication is the key for a positive workplace that encourages personal development. If something’s wrong, your team members shouldn’t keep their feelings pent up; instead, they should feel free to talk out issues with their teammates and with you. When an employee comes to you with an interpersonal issue, take the time to listen – this shows them that you care about their well-being and that open communication is welcomed in their workplace.
- Make sure the salesperson is knowledgeable about the product/service being sold.
Product knowledge is a key sales skill. Understanding your products’ features allows your team members to present their benefits accurately and convincingly. Customers respond positively to eager salespeople who are passionate about their products and keen to share the benefits with them.
Although knowing your own products may seem a bit of a “no-brainer,” there are different levels of product knowledge. For example, how many times have you yourself been inquiring into a feature of a product and the salesperson said, “I believe we can do that, but let me just make sure and get back to you.” While being honest is unquestionably better than providing misleading or incorrect information, the best strategy is to know that answer “on-the-spot”. Even if it accomplishes nothing else in helping you close that particular sale cycle, it has at least taken less time than necessary. The best possible outcome, however, is that the buyer has gained confidence and trust in the sales person because he shows that he is clearly knowledgeable about the product he’s selling.
- Teach the salesperson how to overcome objections.
Training your sales team to properly respond to objections can help increase their performance. Coach them to use questions as responses so that they will be able to figure out their customers’ true concerns and address them with all the knowledge they have gained.
Objections like “I just need to think about it”, actually means that “I do not trust you enough yet.” There are hidden meanings to objections which your team needs to uncover first.
By asking questions, the salesperson clearly shows that he cares about his customer’s concerns. The more effort your salespeople put on getting to know their clients by asking questions, the more likely those clients will be able to trust them and give them their business.
In addition to providing further information about a client’s needs, an open-ended question delivered in response to an objection will give a salesperson time to collect his thoughts and adjust his strategy depending on how the conversation goes. There is almost no problem in customer interactions that cannot be solved by asking questions.
- Provide tailored, one-on-one coaching sessions.
Every sales leader and manager want a productive, efficient, and effective sales team, but only 1/3 of salespeople meet or exceed quota, according to a research conducted by Aberdeen Group. Sales managers who do not invest the time and resources into coaching are missing out on a valuable opportunity and effective way to develop their salesforce.
Sales coaching should be a ‘must have’ requirement rather than a ‘nice to have’ requirement. Ultimately, the purpose is to know how to improve sales performance of the sales team by leveraging tools, messaging, and training. According to the International Coach Federation, “the average company can expect a return of 7 times the initial investment in coaching”. And research from The Corporate Executive Board Company shows that “sales reps who receive just three hours of coaching a month exceed their goals by 7%, boosting revenue by 25% and increasing the average close rate by 70%”.
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