Sales have changed almost beyond recognition over the last ten years or so. Thanks to new technologies and increasing collaboration between sales and marketing teams, the role of sales has changed somewhat to focus more on developing leads than on cold calling companies.
But with the sales landscape constantly changing it can be difficult to keep on top of it, and employees often lose productivity as a result. That’s why, as a leader, it’s your responsibility to manage your team in such a way that you pass on productivity protocols and run a tight ship.
Here are seven of the best tips to help you to do just that.
1. Be careful with promotions
Just because someone is your top salesperson, it doesn’t mean that they’ll be the best person to promote into a managerial role. Think about it – if they’re doing a great job as a salesperson, shouldn’t you let them continue doing that and bring in somebody else to lead the team?
Many companies automatically promote their most senior or highest performing salesperson when they need a new manager, but that’s inefficient at best. Managing a team requires a different set of skills that your top salesperson may simply not be able to offer.
2. Focus on culture
Offering incentives can be a great way to encourage staff to bring new clients in, but setting goals and rewarding people for achieving them will only get you so far. In the end, moral incentives are more valuable than monetary incentives, which is why you’ll want to create a culture in which everyone feels like part of something bigger than just themselves. That way, they’ll hit their goals because they won’t want to let their colleagues down – and any financial compensation will be an added bonus.
3. Use the right tools
Your sales team will work much more effectively if you give them the tools and the training that they need to get the job done. They may also want to outsource tasks that they’re less proficient at, such as writing formal letters and emails. When a salesperson asks for a tool or a service, provide it – they know their prospects best, and it’s worth investing some cash if it’ll bring them in on a retainer.
4. Don’t over manage
Management is important of course, but if you overwhelm people by carefully scrutinising everything they do and micromanaging their time then they’ll quickly use their initiative to find a job at a different company. Instead, be sure to give employees the authority that they need to go off and try new things themselves – as long as they’re meeting their overall goals. You may even be surprised by the results when your team is encouraged to take the initiative and improve processes that lead to increased productivity.
5. Get the balance right with your processes
Processes are important because they help to standardise your operations and create consistency, but if they’re overcomplicated or cumbersome then they can actually make your team less productive. That’s why it’s so important to get the balance right between using processes to support people and using processes to cripple them and stop them from getting their jobs done. Regularly audit your processes to see if there’s room for improvement and don’t put them up on a pedestal and refuse to change them.
Less than a third of a salesperson’s time is actually spent selling. The rest of it is spent on unproductive, repetitive tasks such as data entry and filing. Accordingly, it’s a good idea to automate as much of the process as possible so that they can spend more time doing what they do best – making you money.
A great way to start is with a CRM and project management system like Daylite, which helps you save time and access prospects’ information at the touch of a button – so you can spend more time talking to them and building a relationship.
7. Celebrate wins
Be sure to celebrate your successes so that your team knows that their work is being watched and supported by the wider company. There’s nothing more demoralising than bringing in a big new client and not even being given a pat on the back. Be sure to recognise employees and to reward the whole team – and not just the lucky individual who brought it in.
Productivity is a must if you want your sales team to be successful, but the responsibility doesn’t only fall on your employees. As a manager or small business owner, it’s vital for you to lead by example, and that extends to providing the tools that your employees need to get the job done.
Empower your employees to be productive and you might be surprised by how eager they’ll be to repay you.
About the author:
Chris Richardson is a journalist, editor, and a blogger. He loves to write, learn new things, and meet new outgoing people. Chris is also fond of traveling, sports, and playing the guitar. Follow him on Facebook and Google+.