Submitted by Danita Bye, Founder of Sales Growth Specialists
There are a few important elements that keep sales teams going strong. It’s a sales manager’s responsibility to hire the right people, develop a team environment, create a structured sales process, and provide motivation.
By Kelly Burkart, Star Tribune Sales and Marketing
If you’re in charge of a sales team, big or small, your goal is to invest time and money wisely as you train your sales force. To develop an effective and motivated sales team without draining the budget, implement some of these effective team management strategies.
Hire the Right People
Start by hiring the right people. According to Danita Bye, a sales management consultant with Minneapolis-based Sales Growth Specialists, you want people who are coachable and trainable. They should have an intense desire to succeed and an unconditional commitment. “We don’t always find this commitment on a sales team,” says Bye. “Sometimes people give up too easily.”
Choose people who are willing to take personal responsibility. “Almost all organizations with sales challenges have an excuse-making problem. Salespeople blame the economy, company politics, marketing or the product they’re selling.” But those who take responsibility will find ways to get around obstacles.
Finally, hire people with a positive outlook about the job, themselves and the events happening around them to bring contagious energy to your team.
Develop a Team Environment
Hiring great individuals will make it easier to develop a synergistic team. Identify and continually communicate the one common goal you all share, and encourage creative new ways to achieve it. Bring out the leadership qualities in each team member by encouraging sharing, mentoring and coaching.
Encourage individuals to develop short- and long-term goals that can be shared with the rest of the team. Provide time during regular team meetings or special planning sessions when they can report on their progress. Sharing goals with each other creates accountability and makes individuals more vested in outcomes and successes.
Another way to encourage teamwork and new thinking is to infuse team meetings with games, brainstorms, role-playing or other activities. To be effective, participants should enjoy the activity and learn something from it that can improve their abilities and results.
Create a Structured Sales Process
Successful selling starts with a strong sales process from training and goal setting to closing deals and delivering on promises to customers. “Salespeople need to know what to do and what success looks like for each step,” says Bye. “Clear expectations are key. People have to have a track to run on.”
“High-performance sales managers have to know what gets their salespeople out of bed in the morning,” says Bye. “They know what motivates them now and what their personal goals are down the road.”
A fair and well-executed compensation system is a key motivator that can also help you hire and retain top-notch salespeople.
Motivation also comes from believing in a product or a service and having access to strong selling tools. Prepare salespeople with training and information, as well as the powerful questions that differentiate you from the competition. Then they can clearly and passionately communicate with customers.
Kelly Burkart is a Twin Cities-based freelance writer.
Danita Bye, Founder of Sales Growth Specialists, works with CEO’s that are frustrated with lack of TOP LINE revenue and poor performance by their sales department. SGS works to help them develop a team that wins more new accounts.