It can be difficult for sales leaders to determine when and how to improve sales team performance. There is no overnight remedy; it takes time to achieve measurable results. However, there are activities and behaviours you can put into place within your sales system today to elevate results and quota attainment.
I’ve tried to look objectively at how successful sales organizations boost results, so here’s my take on five tips for doing just that.
1.Sales Managers don’t just manage, they coach.
I’ve found that one of the major bottle necks that hinders performance is a disconnection between management and teams. I firmly believe that as well as being expert sales people, frontline sales managers also need to have strong communication skills – not just with their external clients but also with their internal teams.
Sales Managers need to nurture individuals and become a mentor / coach for their colleagues; a strong sales manager takes pride in motivating and sharing sales techniques with others, which ultimately benefits team members in terms of direction and direction.
A successful and motivated group is a well-oiled machine, whereby the sales manager and sales teams work in harmony for one common goal, which brings me nicely on to the next tip.
2. Work as a team, not as a group of individuals.
We’ve all heard the saying ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’. I’ve experienced team work at play, as well as groups of individuals at play. The true team will be more productive, more successful and have more fun, whereas the ‘non-team’ operates in a silo environment, solely focussed on their individual results; not sharing best practice, protecting their empires etc. I could go on, but I’m sure you get the drift!
When groups work as a team, they’re constantly stimulated; striving to improve, to find better ways to deliver, which brings me on to my third tip.
3.Don’t be afraid to shake things up.
As per tip 2, when individuals work together as a team, motivation and engagement levels increase. Conversely, less successful groups tend to stagnate, either consciously or sub-consciously.
I remember way back in my career as a pretty raw member of staff, how de-motivating it was when I asked a senior manager ‘why do we do that’, to be met with the response ‘that’s just how we do it here’.
It’s easy for organizations and teams to fall into bad habits, so I recommend sales leaders encourage their sales team to challenge current systems; enforce and accept inquisitiveness. If you recruit a new member of staff, take on board their questions; ask them what they think of an approach, what do they propose if they’re in doubt. We shouldn’t be afraid to challenge the status quo.
Image Courtsey of quotefancy.com
It’s always a good and refreshing discipline to take a step back and ask two questions – 1) why do we do that? and 2) could we do it better? It may be that the process being undertaken is robust and fit for purpose, but there’s a chance it could be improved, so my challenge to you is to take some time to stress test it and just consider the alternatives.
4.Start at the end.
This may seem a little strange but let me explain!
We’ve discussed coaching, teamwork and stress testing the process, but what’s the point? Honestly, if we haven’t got an end goal in mind, there is little point in aligning everything else.
Using a soccer you might have the best equipped team in the world at your disposal, highly trained, motivated and raring to go, but if there’s no goal at the end of the pitch, where are they going to aim?
I recommend visualizing a specific end goal in your mind’s eye, from which you can set immediate goals along the way to help plot the success of you and your team. Not only does this ensure the team is motivated, but it also provides a direction; thus you and your team will remain focused and target driven.
5.Know your speciality and prioritize your leads.
It’s very easy to chase every perceived lead but be careful! Not all leads are what they seem; they might not be a lead at all.
I’ve seen ‘hungry’ organizations following every scent, only to realise that some of those scents are not what they appear or were opportunities actually outside their scope of expertise. Of course, such leads can be followed up and possibly won, but the stark reality is that they’re likely to take take more time to manage because of our lack of expertise in the field. We may do a poor job, which upsets the client and damages our brand, and takes our focus away from our core.
Chasing every piece of business is seldom born out of hunger – it’s more likely born out of desperation; a lack of sales in our core environment. So, my recommendation is to focus energy on core activity. Have a defined awareness of what your specialist competency is – what do you excel at? In knowing this, you can focus your marketing and sales efforts in the right areas, freeing up time and energy to make the sales, have delighted customers and increased revenues.
Perhaps you have other tips? Share your tips and thoughts with me in the comments section of this post. If you’d like further information on this topic, contact us today for your copy of our research arm, CSO Insights’ 2018-19 Sales Performance Study Report Summary.
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