Searching for new techniques to manage a sales team? In this article, we will not only address a multitude of approaches to improve salesman organization, but we will present the solution which has been proven to improve salesman success in teams all over the world.
How to Manage a Sales Team
Not only do you want to manage your sales team, but you want to take your sales reps to the next level in order to increase your company’s gains.
Here are some strategies to manage your sales team in stride:
Tips for Managing a Successful Sales Team
Get the Right People on Board
Sales is one of the most difficult industries to be in; cold-calling, getting leads, and closing sales is no easy feat. Thus, those in the field usually possess extraordinary talent, resilience, and motivation to fill sales positions.
While it might seem like a no-brainer, effective sales management begins with establishing your sales team, But, which should be established first – your sales team or a stellar sales strategy?
In Jim Collin’s book Good to Great, he explains how crucial it is to get the right people on board first and foremost because with the right people on your team, you can accomplish anything.
Therefore, your number one priority as a leader should be hiring adaptable, effective learners ready to take on the unpredictability that the sales environment has to offer.
Collin’s uses the analogy of a bus. From his book:
If people join the bus primarily because of where it is going, what happens if you get
ten miles down the road and you need to change direction? You got a problem. But if
people are on the bus because of who else is on the bus. Then it is much easier to
change direction (42).
To be blunt, you must first bring the go-getters with a successful track record onto the team and remove those who will not contribute to the success you want to achieve.
While Collin’s presents some useful information, keep in mind it does not necessarily mean you should kick everybody off your sales team and start with a clean slate, and neither does it mean to only hire salespeople who have closed million dollar deals. It simply means make sure you have the right people on your team before you create your course to victory.
Look for employees who understand your sales goals and have the experience to accomplish them. Put the time and effort into finding driven team members who will move your company forward – those who will take pride in working for your company (of course, assuming you take pride in them as well).
Simply, as Jim Collin’s states:
“First Who: Get the right people on the bus. Build a superior executive team.
Then What: Once you have the right people in place, figure out the best path to Greatness
2. Create an Onboarding Strategy
Walking into a new job can be stressful for many people. Even if your new employee’s workload is clearly lined up, you must spend time getting he/she acquainted with your company’s culture because it is your responsibility to make sure he/she is comfortable.
Thus, it is important to help new hires get up to speed by sharing resources, for example your company’s mission and goals, a competitor overview, employee benefits, and company perks as soon as they are hired.
In regards to the first day of work, some companies make the first day, or at least half of the day, all about making the new rep feel welcome by ditching the paperwork and allowing them to establish interpersonal relationships with the team. As a result, this creates a comfortable workplace environment that the sales team member is excited to be a part of.
Here are some ideas to help establish interpersonal relationships for the new team member:
- Send out a welcome email
- Introduce him/her to each team member if your company is small or to your department if your company is large
- Organize a casual team breakfast or lunch when a new employee is hired
- Assign a team “mentor” to be there initially for the new employee
By developing a strong onboarding strategy, you will show your new employees how grateful you are to have them on your team – and you will hopefully decrease employee turnover at the same time.
3. Create a Cohesive, not Competing Team
Sales teams must often work closely together in order to achieve their plausible goals. For this to happen though, everyone must be on the same page to make a more effective sales organization.
As an example, in our research with sales teams, we noticed that sometimes employees can be so determined to make a sale that they may forget to follow the rules.
One of the sales teams we observed had about a half of dozen sales people. Here, one salesperson would frequently quote a different price for the same product than their colleagues which inevitably created issues when two customers, friends, happened to compare notes.
Do you think the customer who paid more for the same product felt that the company was loyal? Of course not.
The moral of the story: Your team should be at consensus to prevent one team member from quoting a price different than another.
To prevent similar mishaps from occurring, it is a good idea to establish unity amongst team members. Team building exercises are a great way to improve team dynamics.
4. Sales Team Development
Don’t be afraid to have high aspirations. Sales teams that set out to reach high but not impossible goals will flourish.
High expectations creates extra motivation to achieve an innumerable amount of success, even if the target is not ultimately reached. In other words, would you achieve more by accomplishing 80% of a large goal, or 100% of a mini goal? Most likely 80% of a large goal.
When setting goals, consider setting SMART goals, goals which are:
- Achievable OR Agreed Upon
- Realistic OR Relevant
Make sure you set action items along the way by breaking your goals into smaller pieces to boost your team’s chance of achieving your company’s goals.
5. Invest in Continued Education
Sales is an ever changing business, and one must be prepared to adapt to the new trends which are constantly evolving.
At one time, sales was all about walking door to door, and at another time telemarketing was the greatest fad. Nowadays, there are countless tools available for prospecting and making the most out of your efforts.
With that being said, there are so many things you can do for lead generation and engagement. How do you figure out what works best for your sales team and company’s goals?
One great way is to invest resources into learning and development, meaning classes, workshops, and summits.
If you are on a budget and looking for less expensive resources, consider finding a webinar or reading a book. There are countless resources out there that may be as helpful as attending a workshop.
Is there more?
Utilizing the previous techniques will allow your sales team to grow tremendously. But, we also promised you a seamless and easy-to-implement solution at the beginning of our article. So, what is the tool that you can implement to maximize your team’s performance and boost your customer’s confidence in what you do?
The Solution: Sales Manager’s Tool
There is no doubt that the technology to support sales teams and processes have grown leaps and bounds, but how effective can it be if a sales team cannot prioritize leads and opportunities?
To dive deeper, a sales director can spend thousands of dollars on tools but if they are unable to see where account executives or even SDRs are mis-prioritizing, how can he/she help them, re-prioritize, and develop better criteria in time to prevent loss in sales?
This is where the solution, Priority Matrix comes in.
Leading a sales team can be a big responsibility, but it doesn’t have to be with Priority Matrix.
Priority Matrix is a quadrant-based sales management app that helps sales managers and their teams prioritize tasks to reach sales goals.
Priority Matrix will improve your organization in regards to:
- Sales Project Management
- Sales Task Management
- Sales Time Management
- Sales Team Communication
- Sales Prioritization
- Sales Team Organization, and
- Boosting Customer Confidence
Sales Project Management
Stay on top of all of your accounts by creating individual projects for each in Priority Matrix. Here you can monitor the account’s stages in the quadrants so your sales team has a high level (yet detailed) view of statuses and strategies. These projects can then be nested in a different project and prioritized based on various criteria which will give the team a full understanding of the priority level of each.
Sales Task Management
Priority Matrix allows you to keep track of tasks by inputting tasks into Priority Matrix along with notes, screenshots, and a due date. In addition, you can delegate tasks through the app, check progress on tasks, and evaluate each team member’s workload.
Sales Time Management
Customer’s on average save approximately 45 minutes per day by using Priority Matrix to stay organized – time that you can spend finding new accounts!
Sales Team Communication
Priority matrix facilitates the conversations that make better sales people outside of team meetings.
We know how important it is to prioritize sales leads. That’s why Priority matrix puts the priorities and needs of the company first. This idea encourages sales people to take a much needed look at priorities and not chase a lead long after it is no longer worth the time.
Sales Team Organization
Take advantage of our advanced features such as Gantt charts, employee performance reports, and project status reporting to make sure your team is living up to their expectations.
Boost Customer Confidence
When your team is on the right track, your customer’s can tell! If they trust you, there is no doubt that they will send referrals your way.