Having an efficient, organized sales team is essential for profitable business. And yet, even having top-notch sellers isn’t a guarantee that your business will thrive. Why? Well, there are many reasons for this, but many can be tied back to the support they receive. As a sales manager and team leader, it’s up to you to ensure the team has what it needs to sell.
This can be a daunting task, especially because sellers are unique in their approaches and strategies. You also don’t always know what they need. Instead, you only know when they aren’t meeting their goals. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can help the team meet and exceed their revenue goals. Keep reading to learn three ways you can support the sales team on an individual and group basis.
Before anyone can go out and sell, they need to understand what the overall goal is. This means their revenue goal, but more importantly, the company’s goal. If you are a service-based company, it may mean contracting with five new companies every quarter. The goal here would be expansion of services to new business enterprises. This is opposed to upselling and offering more services to the same few companies you’re already contracted with.
When working with a sales team, it can be helpful to sit down with them individually and as a team to discuss overall goals. A seller should have a say about the goal, or at the very least fully comprehend why their selling is essential for the company. Once this is in place, then you can discuss performance analytics and measure how your business’s key performance indicators (KPIs). Using this kind of tool, you can identify what is currently working for the sales team and what needs to be improved upon.
Goals should be thought of as roadmaps or guideposts. Having a goals conversation once a year isn’t helpful to you, the seller, or the company overall. Rather, goals should be discussed periodically throughout the sales cycle. This is how you can identify early on if a goal is being met or even if it is unattainable. From here, you and the sales team can identify how to work toward this goal and prioritize it.
Sales can be a cutthroat industry. Depending on a seller’s background, they may feel like they are competing with their teammates. This, obviously, isn’t conducive to a team mindset and may only halter overall revenue goals. Fostering a welcoming, inclusive culture starts from the top-down, meaning it starts with you.
Being inclusive is more than just saying that you’re inclusive. You need to demonstrate it from the very beginning. This can look like interviewing and hiring sellers from different backgrounds and mindsets. It can also look like talking with sellers individually and asking them for direct feedback on how you’re doing as a leader. When an employee feels like their opinions matter, they feel more connected to the company as a whole.
It can also be beneficial to set up regular meetups where work isn’t the main focus. If your sales team is located in the same area, perhaps you suggest a happy hour after work. Or, you can schedule a team lunch and have remote employees dial in for an informal mid-day gathering. Ask your sellers what types of activities they are most interested in doing together as a team.
Team bonding can be advantageous as employees learn more about each other and gain skills during the process.
Nobody likes the feeling of someone staring over their shoulder. There’s a fine line between being an engaged and involved sales leader and micromanaging. As mentioned before, each seller has their own way of conducting business. It’s not your responsibility to know the nitty-gritty details of what they are doing each hour. Rather, you should be focused on their overall performance and work ethic.
Micromanaging can be particularly challenging if you aren’t physically with your sales team on a regular basis. It’s quite common, however, for sellers to be distributed across the country and focused on geographic regions. If this is the case, scheduling a weekly check-in with each seller as well as a team meeting may be conducive. During these catch ups, you can discuss any new points of contact and plans for the next week.
In a team environment, you can provide overall direction for each individual seller without dictating their every move. This is the time for you to celebrate each other’s wins as well as strategize next steps for certain clients. It’s also a chance for others to receive feedback and chat through any setbacks. The more the sellers can lean on each other for advice, the less hand holding you’ll need to do.
Leading a team of sellers is no easy task. A sales team is one of the most crucial departments of any organization. Without them, most businesses would not be profitable. But even the most stellar crew of sellers isn’t a shoe-in for a profitable year. Just because a sales person excelled at their previous company doesn’t necessarily mean they’re geared up and prepared to excel at yours.
In order for your sales team to knock it out of the park, there needs to be certain factors in place. To start, establish goals with each of your team members and for the team as a whole. Next, put in place practices to foster an inclusive working environment so everyone feels welcome. And lastly, avoid micromanaging by building up the team and giving sellers autonomy over their day-to-day. These practices will benefit employees individually and help propel your sales business for years to come.