Have Your Given Your Reps The Right Tools For Success?

BY Kathy Crosett
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Are your sales reps whining that they don’t have enough autonomy? Maybe they’re telling you, as Lee Salz wrote about a while back, that they can take care of business on their own. Go ahead and give them the freedom to run, but make sure you give them a game plan first.

Business owners who survive the tough odds of generating profits five years after they open their doors aren’t just lucky. They plan. They strategize. And, they set goals for their sales reps and other employees.

Skills Development

You wouldn’t let just anyone manage your payroll or developing your product line. In fact, to stay current, you probably send your developers and HR people to conferences for training. That same attitude should hold true for your sales reps. Before you let your sales reps out the door to represent you and your company, train them. Make sure they’re on board with how to handle leads and how to compare your product to what the competition is hawking.

Sales Reps' Role In Building The Bottom Line

Reps who want more autonomy need to have a solid understanding of the overall business plan. Show them their role in the plan. Are they responsible for 20% of the total revenue for the company? How are they going to achieve that number? Work with them to set percentages for the amount of revenue that will come from new versus existing accounts. 

Get their buy-​in, and as you do, listen to their input and adjust percentages and quotas accordingly. Your reps have unique perspectives about prospects and clients. When you act on their input, they feel more engaged in the process and the outcome.

Regular Progress Reports

Managers who want the company to succeed don’t set annual goals and then head out for weekly kiteboarding sessions. They stay in touch with their sales reps. You don’t have to hover over your reps, but you should require a regular update. If your best reps are struggling to close a prospect, share your expertise during a ride-​along. If they’re failing to score enough assessment and discovery calls, coach them on that part of their sales training. You'll get impressive and fast results when you use an adaptive sales coaching system like SalesFuel COACH for this process.