To build a great sales team, a meaningful and consistent sales management process must be in place organization wide. It must be systematic and be implemented by systematic people. The process needs to be ongoing and able to be monitored for effectiveness.
The 8 Components Of A Best-In-Class Sales Management Process
1. Recruitment – Regardless of industry, recruiting top sales performers is the very cornerstone of any sales management process. Sales managers need to be recruiting constantly. Heard of ABC (Always Be Closing?). How about ABR (Always Be Recruiting)? Smart companies are looking for great salespeople even when they feel they don’t need more salespeople.
2. Selection – Always select new sales hires with great caution. Use multiple interviews and interviewers. Be sure to incorporate some sort of in-depth, valid assessment that measures the full array of capacities that help identify a successful salesperson for your unique, one-of-a-kind sales job. Take your time and don’t be tempted to shortcut the process in order to fill a slot on the roster. That can be a fatal error.
3. Establishing Expectations – Any world-class sales management process includes the development of a meaningful and in-depth orientation program for new salespeople. Your program needs to enculturate them into the unique environment that defines your organization. New salespeople need to understand the culture as it is defined by the norms, values and expectations of your company. Practical outcomes such as quota, contacts, CRM compliance, etc. fall into this bucket as well.
4. Ongoing Training – This is an area that is often overlooked as being as critical as it really is. There are lots of reasons for this. Sales managers often believe that if they hire only experienced salespeople, they will come fully prepared to perform. Wrong. The ramp-up time will be shorter. Wrong again. The real key to a successful training program is that it must be ongoing. It cannot be an event. Event training is simply not enough. The sales management process is just that – a process. "Ongoing" is the key word here.
5. Sales Coaching – Coaching is far different from training. Training imparts ideas, concepts or strategies in a safe environment. Coaching, on the other hand, means active involvement in the field. It means engaging the prospect while the salesperson is receiving meaningful, valuable direction from the sales manager.
6. Feedback and Course Correction – There is an old saying that goes like this, “The best way around is straight through.” But what does that exactly mean in this context? Sales managers must have the courage to provide both good and constructive feedback as quickly and regularly as possible. They also have to see the feedback as being important, must make the time to do it, need to know how to do it and must make it part of their ongoing way of working with their sales team.
7. Measurable Accountability – This part of the sales management process often proves to be emotionally elusive for lots of sales organizations. The reason is that there is a stronger tendency to talk about holding people accountable then there is a willingness to actually do it. Whatever the reason, the results are the same. And in the final analysis, there are lots of people with sub-par results, a few with superior results and a lot of confusion as to why.
8. Sustaining Momentum – This is the most difficult, demanding component of the sales management process. This is the phase of the process that requires a sales manager to be persistent and dogged. It requires a sales organization to keep the wheels turning and the energy level consistent. It is the difference between a flash in the pan, short-term burst of success and the legacy that is built through a sustained effort. And, frankly, not every organization has the fortitude to see it through.
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