Often sales managers are good salesmen, but not necessarily good managers. Having been promoted based on their own performance, they have very little idea of how to ensure the success of a team as a whole. Teaching others their personal sales techniques isn't enough. Good managers will look beyond a singular number (i.e. monthly sales / revenue) to help each member of the team succeed at all the elements of a sale from start to finish.
Here we outline five secrets to successful managing of sales teams.
1. PrioritiSe training
Initial onboarding and continuing training programs are essential to a successful sales team, whether you are working with veteran sales reps or building up a team of new hires.
In fact, high-performing sales organisations are twice as likely to provide ongoing training as low-performing ones, says SiriusDecisions.
In most cases, sales reps will come to you armed with basic sales knowledge. But you should develop a training program that continually builds on that foundation. Sales techniques and strategies are always evolving, so keeping up to date on industry best practices can help your reps stay sharp and continue to progress.
In addition to sales best practices, your program should incorporate company-specific training including:
- Product knowledge
- Sales processes
- Prospect qualification
But one-time training probably won't cut it. Research shows that without a structured training programme and ongoing reinforcement, sales teams forget 84% of the training content within 90 days. So if you don’t have a robust continual education programme, your training investments are likely to be wasted in the long term.
2. Segment your team
In the interest of seeming fair or equitable, some managers may fall into the trap of treating all sales reps (and their assignments) the same. But for best performance, sales managers should get to know each team member to learn their strengths, weaknesses, and preferences, and assign their accounts and roles accordingly.
For instance, do they like building relationships with small business prospects or larger clients? Are they seasoned sales professionals, or are they still learning the ropes? Perhaps some reps have in-depth knowledge of a certain market or sector, or maybe they are strong closers but average prospectors.
The specific roles and functions your team needs may differ, but a typical segmented team will have the following specialities:
- Inbound lead qualification
- Outbound prospecting
- Closing new business
- Continued customer success/management
Assigning your reps based on their specialities (and segmenting prospects accordingly) can propel sales growth and foster a happier and more motivated sales team.
3. Set a strategy and align processes
While you should have an overall strategy for the sales department, also consider working with sales reps one-on-one to develop personalised strategies based on each salesperson’s role or accounts. This dual approach to setting strategy will make it easier to meet goals, track progress, and fine-tune processes.
Also, meet with your team members regularly to assess their performance and learn what roadblocks they are facing in meeting their quotas or delivering on specific KPIs. By focusing on individual team members, you can get a clearer picture of what issues your team faces in performing at its best. You can track team-wide barriers, as well as nail down on individual issues.
4. REduce Admin work
You will be hard pressed to find anyone, let alone a sales rep, who likes doing admin work. Keeping contact records up to date, logging calls in the CRM system and making sure diaries include all meetings are usually last on the list of things sales professionals want to spend their time doing. So use technology to help them spend more time doing what they like doing.
Telephony-CRM system integrations will automatically log calls and make it easy to jot a note down regarding what the call was about. Some also have contact record pop ups when a contact is calling, that will show the rep who is calling, and give them the most current information without the rep having to lift a finger. Other modern business telephony features such as mobile twinning and soft clients, will allow your sales team to work while they are out and about, just as if they were in the office. The result? Less admin work and happier sales reps.
5. Promote creative incentives
Sales is a tricky beast that can quickly burn out even the most tenacious sales reps. To keep your team fresh and motivated, you will need to incentivise them. Of course, you can (and should) provide a clear compensation package, but you will likely need additional rewards and benefits to maintain a healthy and productive team.
Most people (especially sales professionals) are motivated by two things: money and recognition. And while you can provide these incentives in straightforward ways such as commission, it is a lot more fun (and motivating) to shake things up.
Here are a few incentives and rewards that don’t involve directly offering cash:
- Take the team out for a movie or other activity during the workday.
- Give the sales rep a day off.
- Spotlight standout performers at daily or weekly team meetings.
- Pay for a cleaning service to clean the team member’s home.
- Buy lunch for the team.
- Offer to do the prospecting for them.
- Share their success stories with the whole organisation (at the next company-wide meeting or in a newsletter).
- Reward team or individuals with a “late-start” day (on a slow week) when they reach a predetermined goal.
VTSL are leaders in unified communications technology, providing organisations across the UK and Ireland with the solutions they need to work smarter. From integrated telephony-CRM systems, to video and conferencing, to enabling flexible working through mobile phones that work just like the office phone, VTSL is committed to helping companies use technology to get ahead. Find out more about VTSL's award-winning VoIP business telephony system, network solutions and software integrations by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org today.