Successfully managing a sales team isn’t rocket science. However, it does require insight, experience and an understanding of what makes your people tick. These tips will help you to get more from those that you lead on a daily basis.
Clarity is key when it comes to expectations
Successful management of sales people means being up front about what you expect from them. Ensure that your team understands the lines between over performance and under performance and whether you’re looking for a consistent % of quota or will accept figures that are high one month and low the next.
Be transparently sales driven
Sales is a competitive environment and attracts people who are motivated to succeed. Key to successful management is being open about targets and rewards and drawing a clear line between productivity and results (as opposed to just activity). Be transparent about the sales metrics you’re focused on so that everyone is on the same page.
Focus on high, yet achievable, goals
If your team achieves 65% of a stretch goal they will be doing more than if they’re achieving 100% of a mediocre goal.
Make ongoing training and development a priority
A robust training infrastructure will support the positive development of everyone in the team. Depending on your business this may include modules that focus on product knowledge and understanding, communication, leads and prospecting and competitive intelligence.
Get your team comfortable when it comes to taking feedback
Not everyone finds it easy to accept feedback about their performance. If you’re interviewing people to join your team you can role play a situation and see how they respond to receiving feedback. For an established team introduce regular constructive feedback sessions so it’s a habit everyone gets used to going through and learning from.
Don’t forget to incentivise
This could be a system of rewards and bonuses – or it could be something as simple as public recognition of achievement. In a sales environment, displaying tables and live feeds of sales closed and each person’s totals can be very motivational.
See your team as individuals
You’ll need to identify the needs and motivations of each member of your team to understand how to manage them effectively. For some that could be more ambitious targets, for others it may be protecting them from office politics so they can go on and do a great job.
Allocate the right people to the right tasks
For example, the most expensive team members are usually best allocated to tasks that are low volume but high value, such as building partnerships and relationships. Lower value team members can focus on converting prospects to leads.
Return to transparency at every opportunity
The more transparently a business is run the more information the sales team will have to work with. With this approach, everyone understands what is expected of them, what the goals are as well as how the business’ culture, processes and policies are defined.
Effective management of a sales team can make all the difference to how successful it is overall. It’s a key skill that can improve your team’s career prospects, as well as your own.