by Kelly Smith
It takes a lot of hard work to find highly-skilled sales people who are the right fit for your organization. Once
they’ve been on-boarded, it’s up to the sales manager to keep the sales team engaged, motivated and challenged, so they become and remain top-performers. The following is a collection of best practices for sales leaders to follow to
help keep your team at the top of their game.
Set High (But Realistic) Expectations
Everyone should know what their sales goals are at the beginning of each month and quarter. Set sales goals with
realistic expectations; the reps should feel confident in their ability to meet the goals, but will still need to challenge themselves to do so. If your team members always hit quota halfway into the month, it’s a good sign they need a bigger challenge. If the majority of reps consistently miss their goals, the quota may be too ambitious. Get feedback from your top performers to find out what they think about the quota setting process. They will provide invaluable insight that will help you set achievable objectives.
Be a Positive Leader
Leaders set the mood for groups. Sam Walton said it best: “Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost
the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.” Take
a few minutes each day to greet members of your team, ask them about how they’re doing and get to know them
outside of sales numbers. A little effort on your part can go a long way toward building a sense of camaraderie
within the team.
A great leader also acts as a mentor to their team. Invest in educating and mentoring your sales staff, so they become better sales people and employees. By helping find ways to develop their strengths and improve their weaknesses, their job performance will improve dramatically.
Optimize the Sales Team for Success
It all begins with a logical, well-thought out, easily duplicatable sales process that is easily monitored and automated.
If your sales process is working correctly, you should have minimal disagreements over lead assignments, account
ownership, and commission credit. The key is to ensure 100% adaptation by each team member for every lead and
subsequent sale. A poorly enforced process leads to a lack of follow-up, missed opportunities and lost sales.
If your sales process seems overly complicated or just doesn’t feel like it’s right for your team, call a meeting with
your top performers to get their feedback. Find out what they like and don’t like about the current process, what’s
worked for them in other sales jobs and what their top priorities would be in a new system.
Build a Culture of Transparency
In sales, you are considered successful based on your ability to consistently achieve your quota every month, quarter,
and year. Make sure that you build a culture of transparency and accountability with your sales team. Let them
know exactly where they stand concerning their goals by creating a leaderboard, posted where the team can see
it on a regular basis. The benefit of a leaderboard is that it reinforces the positive behavior of top performing sales
reps while calling attention to the underperforming reps who need to increase their numbers. The best result is in
demonstrating that excellent performance is achievable. Another way to build transparency is to ensure that the
sales team understands how all parts of the sales cycle affect their ability to increase the number of sales. Assign
goals that are sales related, such as lead generation, demos scheduled/performed or proposals sent. To make
sure that the team understands why you are assigning these goals, walk them through the sales pipeline process
- What is the average number of proposals needed to generate a sale?
- What is the average number of demos/needs assessments required to move a prospect to the proposal
- What is the average number of qualified leads necessary to advance to the demo/needs assessment
- What is the average number of prospects required to move to the qualified lead stage?
- Now make them do the math to figure out the number of leads they need to generate a sale. They will now have
some non-sales related targets that you can use to hold them accountable, with the added benefit that they will
understand how those numbers will directly benefit them in the future.
Everyone loves receiving congratulations when they accomplish a goal. By nature, sales people like recognition. Take
a few minutes out of your sales meeting to recognize deals that were closed that week and have the sales person to tell the group something that they learned from the experience. It might be a tip about researching the client, an approach they used during a demo or how they overcame an objection. It could be something that will help another team member with a sale that they are working on!
Managing a high-performance sales team is a hands-on task that requires a lot of dedication from the manager.
By implementing some of these best practices, we think that you will find that the payoffs are more than worth
the effort. Simply put, it’s about building a sales culture that produces fantastic results by keeping team members
happy and engaged.
About the Author
Kelly Smith is a Senior Marketing Coordinator at ACOM Solutions, a Sage Gold Development Partner. ACOM
has provided AP Automation, Enterprise Content Management and Paperless Payment Solutions to more
than 4,000 organizations worldwide. Learn how ACOM can help your organization go paperless with Sage by
Article reprinted from the Winter 2016 issue of Bellwether.
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