As a sales manager, your team’s success is your responsibility. If you’re a new sales manager or if your team hasn’t been doing as well lately, you may be looking for more new strategies. Here are some of the strategies that the most successful sales teams use.
One of the biggest mistakes that team leaders make is that they start to consider all the team members the same. They may do this because they think that it makes the treatment of their team fairer. After all, you should treat all of your members the same. The problem with this approach is that not all of your team members are the same. You can still acknowledge their differences while remaining fair to everyone.
For example, if you have a team member who excels at making connections with large businesses, you may want to utilize those skills. You would want to assign him or her to assignments that fit his or her skills. On the other hand, you would not want to send out a new team member who is still training to create those connections. There are several types of roles you could assign to your team. Those roles may include:
• Closing a sale
• Customer management
• Lead qualification
If you assign specialties to your representatives, they are more likely to perform based on their strengths. Take time to learn everyone’s strengths and weaknesses so that you can properly assign jobs.
Burn out is common in the sales industry. Do not look at your sales team as a machine. There may be times where your team feels like a well-oiled machine, but remember that this may not always last. In the sales industry, burnout is common. Unfortunately, burnout isn’t an individual’s problem but it is usually a reflection of the company. A team may be motivated at first, they may be driven to make sales, but after a while, if they feel like they aren’t appreciated or given the benefits that they deserve, they may lose motivation.
It’s important to set up incentives for your team. People love to be recognized for their work, but they also love rewards. Think about different incentives that your team might appreciate. For instance, consider extra pay after particularly difficult projects. Consider providing money or a reward for members who reach certain goals at the end of the month. This can be a lot of fun for your members and for yourself to set up.
Money isn’t the only reward that you can offer. You could offer a representative time off or you could take the entire team out to lunch or a movie. Think about recognizing team members who are doing extremely well during meetings. If your employees feel valued and if they feel like they have goals beyond making sales, they are more likely to feel motivated and refreshed.
Without a strategy, you won’t make a lot of sales. Develop an overall sales strategy for the entire team, but don’t forget to think about strategies for individual representatives. Every person has his or her skills that you can use to the team’s advantage. Meet with team members regularly. You should assess their performance often and consider where they excel and where they have weaknesses. If they have obstacles that are preventing them from reaching different quotas, then you may want to change their strategy.
If you focus on individual strategies, you are more likely to have a better picture of the roadblocks that tend to get in the way of your team members. While the success of the team is important, your team is only successful because of individual representatives.
Sales representatives have to be proactive in order to make a sale. Sales will not just come to your company. Instead, they have to know how to close a deal. You need to stay positive with your team. Focus on the positives, rather than the negatives. For instance, if one of the team members is having difficulty selling the product, do not blame the product or the economy. Instead, think about ways that you could sell the product more efficiently. Talk to your team member and create a strategy that will work best for his or her personality.
Make sure that you train all of your representatives. Training programs are a key to success, even amongst veteran sales representatives. Some members of your team may only come to you with basic knowledge. You are supposed to help them build on those skills and to become effective members of your team. Every member of the team needs to have product knowledge, the process knowledge and how to close a deal.
A structured training program is more likely to yield results. Then, after training, you need to have reinforcement. It’s not unusual for someone to forget their training. In fact, most people will forget training content after a few months.
Most sales managers were apart of a sales team to begin with. Sales managers tend to be those who excelled in selling and were eventually promoted to manager. Of course, being a manager requires more skills than being a good salesperson. You also have to be a good leader. Don’t forget about how you found success as a representative, however. You can use your experience and apply it to your team. What did successful managers do for you? Think about their techniques and try to apply those techniques to your team.
During a sales meeting, everyone should be able to speak at the table. While you are the supervisor, make sure that every person feels like he or she has a platform to express ideas and concerns. Your representatives are out there making sales and closing deals, they may have a solid grasp on the different obstacles that they face. Listen to their obstacles and their ideas on how to overcome them.
In addition, be open to criticism. As a leader, your team members need to be able to trust you. It’s normal to feel defensive when someone criticizes you. Often, sharing criticism can be difficult for the representatives too. Instead of becoming defensive, thank your team member for the concern and for sharing his or her feelings with you.
If you know that you’ve made a mistake or done something wrong, you should always take accountability for it. Open up to your team and allow them to see that you are just as fallible as they are. Resentment can grow between a sales team and the manager if the team feels like the manager is out of touch. Someone successful in rep management is willing to listen to every member of the team.
A successful sales team is achievable. In sales, there will always be obstacles, but as long as you know how to overcome them, you can have a sales team that can turn a profit. As long as you are willing to look at each individual on your team and build on his or her skills, you are likely to have a successful team.
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