Every sales manager wants a high-performing team. Yet, too often, sales managers are their own worst enemies when it comes to reaching this goal. Making some simple changes can go a long way toward creating a better sales team, one that generates stronger results. Here’s three strategies sales managers can’t look past.
How often does this scenario happen in your organisation? One of your salespeople walk into your office declaring, “we have a problem.” (Notice the use of the term “we”). The sales rep blurts out the problem, and you reply, “let me look into it, and I’ll get back to you.” In the blink of an eye, you’ve accepted a delegation, and agreed to provide your sales rep with a progress report.
This kind of pattern is too common, with many sales managers falling into the trap of taking on their sales reps’ problems, reverting to their old, pre-manager action-orientated mindset. However, in doing everyone else’s job, they’re not doing their own job: coaching and developing their team. The repercussions are that developing sales reps are given less support, less coaching, and less attention – a surefire recipe for an underperforming team.
On the contrary, sales managers with high-performing teams prioritise the development of more great salespeople, refusing to get sucked into the day-to-day. They teach their sales reps to solve their own problems, and are deliberate in managing interruptions. Prioritising manager responsibilities over low-level tasks will have the biggest impact on the team’s overall performance in the long run.
Have a think about where you currently spend most of your coaching time. For many sales managers, it’s with the A players, helping to win the big deals; or on the C players, because those people need the most help.
While this strategy is often a go-to, it’s not going to generate a significant improvement in overall sales performance. Why? The A players are least likely to need your help, and the C players’ results are probably going to go from poor to medium, at best. The better strategy is to coach one or more of your B players and turn them into stars.
Using your coaching time to turn a moderate B player with an eager attitude into an A player pays off in many ways. Firstly, you’ll have another rep who produces great results. Secondly, you’ll create competition for your current A players, spurring them on to even better results. Thirdly, you’ll demonstrate to other reps what happens when they take your coaching advice and work on raising their skill levels – and this can transform the culture of your entire sales team.
Highly effective sales managers realise that coaching their sales team builds confidence and motivation, and propels their team to be better, and faster. Therefore, they take advantage of every opportunity, scheduled or unscheduled, to provide feedback that will make their sales reps perform better, and deliver better results.
What they don’t do is wait until scheduled times to provide backward-looking feedback, talking about what happened last month or last quarter. They spend time observing each rep in action, providing real-time feedback, so the salesperson can act upon the advice immediately, and not resent why they weren’t told sooner.
One final tip: Share our 100 Sales Tips for 2017 ebook with your team!