The skill level of your sales team will either set your organization apart from the competition or erode trust in the eyes of your buyers.
It’s critical that you set your sellers up for success with the proper training and the leadership they need to thrive in a competitive environment.
High-performing sales leaders follow these 8 best practices:
1. They seek input from salespeople about their quotas
The quickest way to upset a company’s sales team is to mess with pay plans. An abrupt change in a pay plan creates a distraction from results-oriented behaviors. If you decide one day to adjust, reduce, make changes, or otherwise alter a pay plan without being very intentional about it, expect problems to arise.
Instead of making unannounced changes, great sales leaders get support and suggestions from their team. Begin to make your changes by asking for input. Don’t ignore your team when it comes to their pay. They may have some great ideas.
2. They provide organized sales skills training for sales reps—regardless of experience
Unfortunately, many managers believe that people who have a few years of selling experience don’t need any training. The truth is that everyone – regardless of experience or age – needs some tips or a refresher course every now and then to continually improve. It's also important to have your team operating with a consistent sales process so that everyone is on the same page and able to "speak the same language."
Ironically, it’s often the experienced “old pros” who really know the least. In many cases they have built their contact database based on relationships and being “professional visitors” and could really benefit from sharpening their skill sets.
Too often, a seasoned salesperson will simply rely on outdated selling techniques that don’t cut it with today’s sophisticated buyers.
3. They focus on “in-process" measurement rather than waiting for “end-process" assessment when evaluating salespeople
Measuring performance based on pure sales results alone won’t tell you where to provide coaching in order to positively influence the outcome.
It can be more challenging to measure performance throughout the sales process, but doing so will give you a great deal more insight into your team’s ability. It will tell you exactly where improvement needs to be made.
Every member of your team is better in some steps of a sale than in others. Thoroughly understand where those skill sets lie (and where they don’t). Then, you can more effectively coach your team in-process to help them improve and see the benefits demonstrated in your end-process metrics.
4. They free their salespeople to finalize their own transactions
The best sales leaders recognize the importance of “teaching someone to sell so they can eat for a lifetime.” Unfortunely, many sales leaders don’t permit their sales reps to complete transactions. Salespeople must have the ability to usher a sale from beginning to end.
Simply put, learn how to manage (and coach) in the field and determine the point at which salespeople must carry the ball themselves.
5. They institute a sales process and coach within that system
The best sales leaders understand that salespeople who want to consistently make more sales with less effort follow a consultative sales process that keeps the focus on the buyer. Research from the Harvard Business Review shows companies using a dedicated sales process saw an 18% boost in revenue over those who did not.
When a company’s entire sales team follows the same process, a strong sales culture is established and cross-departmental alignment is more easily acheived.
6. They pay attention to every member of their sales team
In practice, most sales managers tend to spend the majority of their energy coaching the “very best and very worst” salespeople on their team (the top 20% and bottom 20%).
The bottom line is that every member of the sales team should receive coaching--to help them keep doing what they're doing well and to improve where they have challenge areas.
The only salespeople who shouldn't be coached are the ones who aren't open to coaching. In this case, it may be time to release them to the marketplace. Learn more about how to spot "coachability" in salespeople in this post.
7. They understand the importance of selling AND leading
Sales Leaders have to spend time “in the trenches” with members of their teams. Without that credibility, leaders find themselves in positions of weakness. It becomes difficult not getting bogged-down in administrative or managerial paperwork, but it is essential that you keep one foot in the fire in order to accomplish two things: First, you will gain credibility with your team. Second, you will have a better idea about the challenges they face.
You must also fulfill your role as Leader, don’t forsake it. After all, it is what you were hired to do!
For many sales leaders who started out as salespeople, this is the biggest challenge. The requirements for successful sales leadership are completely different from those for success in sales.
Quality sales management training is necessary to give sales leaders the tools necessary to lead their teams to success.
8. They understand and encourage the individual differences within sales teams
Every salesperson on your team comes with their own set of unique motivators, behaviors, and communication styles. The most successful sales leaders understand they must approach each team member in a way that gets through to them.
The most effective sales management training courses teach sales leaders how to recognize their own behavior style and adapt it to match the styles of each of their team members.
Speak with a representative from The Brooks Group today about auditing an upcoming Sales Management Symposium and deciding if it's right for your team.
View the video below to hear from one of our clients on his experience of the sales management training.
Are you fed up with lost productivity, time, and sales? Stop investing in lackluster salespeople, and start building a team of A-players today with this actionable guide.
Published on March 28, 2017