The key to your success in managing sales teams is to focus their activities on the metrics that matter. This means understanding their personal style and habits. Habits are established and regular actions or practices. They are acquired by repetition and reinforced by success. Successful sales people have a specific set of habits that they do every day. The key to sales team motivation is to observe these habits, harness the knowledge and use it to point them in the right direction for achieving the company goals. No one expects you to have the perceptions of Sigmund Freud or Carl Jung so we are sharing our insights from managing sales teams over many decades. Our aim is to help you easily identify the positive behaviors in your team members. Then you can reinforce them so they become good sales habits within the whole team. That’s how you move the middle, your core performers, as well as your Star players.
In previous years organizations placed great emphasis on the ability of sales people to develop relationships with their customers. This meant recruiters looked for pre-existing or the ability develop strong interpersonal skills. These skills would enable them to better sell their product or services to a customer. These days however technology is advancing. Face-to-face interaction is decreasing. Sales people still need the skills that advance the customer conversation towards a sale. This means the ability to write concise and succinct emails, with a specific call to action. This is how a sales person gets affirmation that a prospect is interested in your product, when they complete an action their sales person has asked them to do.
Sales people need to cultivate their relationship with the customer by actively listening. The customers wants their needs to be heard and addressed as part of the way they progress towards a decision. Most people don’t want to be sold to, they want to buy the right product for their organization. Active listening allows a sales rep to tailor a product or solution to the needs of your client.
From a manager’s perspective, it’s important to have open communication within a sales team. This ensures all team members understand their individual role and how they can best support the team’s larger initiatives.
We find our true selves when we face obstacles. How we react, our decisions and next steps define a sales reps success in the long run. This just isn’t about rejection, though resilience and high self esteem are essential to handling people who say No or Not Now. This mental toughness is important. It translates into never allowing oneself to be discouraged. It means following through on next steps, the next customer and the next deal. It means learning from theses situations, and seeing failures as investments in their sales knowledge.
From a managers perspective they need their sales people to push through and not accept a No as a final decision. Successful sales reps seek ways to re-engage with customers and re-invigorate the discussion to solve their client’s problems.
Change is a constant. The old model of sales is no longer sustainable. It’s important that sales people keep up to date. Being a life long learner means always understanding economic, political and social pressures in order to be a better sales person, a better company contributor and better positioned to solve customers problems. Sales people have to be good colleagues as well and contribute to the continuous improvement of sales processes to better be able to attract and retain customers.
Sales managers equally need to be adaptable and guide their teams through changing environments. They must remain flexible in their strategy and approach with the team in order to maintain sales success.
Sales people have to be true believers. It’s hard to sell something if they don’t have a deep belief that their product or service will solve your prospect’s problems. For many sales people their passion borders on the fanatical. This is an easy trait to identify in your team members. If they are true believers they will excite their team and their customers into believing as well. The best salespeople aren’t afraid to show how passionate they truly are about what they are selling.
The learning for managers is that when people love what they do, they are willing to do more of the metrics that matter. They will give the company their discretionary effort to achieve more sales. Most sales people understand they are making a personal investment in their own future.
Organizations have to balance wanting their team members to think outside the box with their expectation of them executing activities, completing tasks and closing deals. The days of one-size-fits-all problems are well and truly over. So they want innovation, new ideas, new concepts and the ability to always see the three sides in any sale: the customer, the company and the sales person. A successful sale is a Win for all three. Sales people tailor solutions to each individual customers problems.
The manager is like the conductor of an orchestra. All team members have to play from the same song sheet. Then the manager has to allow and encourage solo expressionism that lifts everyone to new heights of sales practice to achieve company objectives.
Innovation comes from passion and freedom of expression. Execution comes from discipline and adherence to corporate culture, the way we do things around here. When executing against an objective highly successful sales people work within an agreed company framework for attracting, contacting and solving problems for customers. This means full follow through, including updating information in a CRM. No loose ends.
Managers assist their individual team members adhere to successful disciplines by monitoring rep performance and their progress against their KPI’s or objectives. They do this best with a leaderboard. Visibility of performance on a leaderboard motivates reps to do more activities to be at the top of the ladder. Discipline and the appropriate intervention by mangers helps the sales team develop good sales habits that can be practised daily to focus on the metrics that matter and hit their goals.
In these days of increasingly technological based conversations, sales people cant simply rely on having a good relationship with their customer. Big problems require the right solution. Sales reps need to have information about their product, how it is differentiated from competitive products in the marketplace and most importantly how it solves the customers problem. Understanding these three things allows the sales rep to have a more meaningful conversation with their customer and present a balanced approach that seeks the best outcome for the client, the company and the rep. Remember it has to be Win for all three.
Managers can assist by ensuring reps have time to learn and understand their product set as well as those of the competition. Don’t send your sales team out into the field half armed. They need to be full throttle to confront an increasingly globalized competitive environment.
How to Motivate the Middle
Once you’ve identified the right sales habits and understand how to engage and motivate sales people to do more activities, they will close more deals. As we have already discussed the best way to keep sales people on track is with visible performance tracking. Sales people are self motivated so if they see themselves falling behind their colleagues they will uplift in order not to be at the bottom of the ladder behaviors. leaderboards also highlight the right time for managers to intervene and counsel or coach a team member to help them be successful.
Here at Spinify, we’re passionate about helping teams visualize their goals and have fun while doing it. We help you display sales team performance, their progress against targets and goals and get the recognition they deserve in real time. The managers role is to create a set of habits that sales individuals adopt while you measure the metrics that matter to achieve better business results.