If you’re new to sales management, you need to develop the skills to lead your team. Adding a few sales management strategies to the mix can help you motivate the team to achieve the goals you’ve committed to. In this post, we list 10 sales management strategies to consider.
Is the long-term plan in your organization evolving to a remote-work business model? Your employees may cheer about not having to deal with a grinding commute. They might also miss the camaraderie of the department lunches and in-person meetings. One way to keep your team interested and engaged is to properly manage expectations. You may not yet have a date for when you can work together in the same location. But you can certainly explain the specific goals and objectives you expect them to work toward during the next quarter. And to ensure they feel accountable, ask your team members to participate in setting the goals.
It’s one thing to establish goals and objectives. It’s quite another to stick to them despite evidence that they aren’t working. In today’s economic climate, you should add agility to your sales management strategy. When your reps bring back negative feedback from prospects, dig into the details. It may be time to change the value proposition you’ve been using.
Research shows that younger employees want to develop their skills. When they don’t get suitable coaching from their manager, they’ll leave the organization. Most managers don’t know how to coach because they haven’t been trained. If they do try to coach, their efforts are often all about educating their reps on what worked for them. Instead, managers must focus on the skills their reps need to develop.
If your team members enjoy working with each other and for you and the organization, they’ll be more engaged. How do you know if this is happening? Compare your turnover statistics with the average. Our research shows the typical sales manager deals with a 37% turnover rate. If your turnover rate is higher, review the reasons people are leaving. If the culture is too competitive, emphasize teamwork in your department. And review your compensation structure to be sure you’re not pitting your reps against each other.
Part of your sales manager training program should focus on helping your sales managers communicate with reps. If your managers were previously peers of their reps, they should learn how to change their conversations. In the past, they may have complained about corporate policies or leaders. As managers, they should speak supportively of company goals. Otherwise, they’ll find it difficult to maintain rep commitment.
Sales managers often assume that whatever motivates them will also motivate their reps. If you’re working toward a big yearend bonus, you can’t help but share that anticipation and excitement with your team members. The problem is, not everyone is motivated by money. If your reps have taken a comprehensive sales skills assessment, you’ll know what motivates them. Remember that some reps might like a chance to pitch a large prospect or get additional training.
The compensation package isn’t the only factor that motivates sales reps to do their best. Managers must take the time to learn personal details about their team members. The better they understand their team members, the more effective their recognition efforts will be. While some reps are very happy to have their successes celebrated on the team chat channel, others will appreciate it more if you allow them to become more visible to senior leadership.
Moving into a management role means learning how to use your time efficiently. If your previous training hasn’t included a module on how to make work plans for a day or a week, sign up for one. If you’re still having trouble getting your work done after that, start tracking exactly how much time you spend on specific tasks. And don’t forget to include the hours you spend searching online for a new takeout option for lunch. Once your become aware of how you’re spending time, you can set up an improvement plan and stick to it.
The Feedback Process
Feedback is a two-way street. Today’s managers should know that the old “my way or the highway” attitude doesn’t succeed in an organization staffed with highly educated and independent thinkers. You want to have hardworking and creative thinkers on your team. Don’t demoralize them by insisting your are always right. Open the door to receiving feedback from your team members. And when a rep tells you something you don’t particularly want to hear, thank them and promise to take action.
Some sales managers look at recruiting as the opportunity to shape the department in their image. Don’t let this be your legacy. Get a clear mandate from your corporate leadership about the organization’s direction. Be realistic about the type of sales organization you are running. And then use the latest tools, especially a sales skills assessment, to hire the candidate who is the best fit for your organization.