Sales isn’t an easy job. I’ve been there. During semester breaks, I was a part-time salesgirl at various shops in a shopping mall. I took a telesales job soon after graduating (which I miraculously survived for a year). Working in the sales department was challenging.
I was constantly anxious if I’ll get a deal or hit the monthly target. I can only imagine the challenge of leading a sales team. In this article, I’ve compiled some tips on how to lead an effective sales team. I’ve also included tips on motivating your team members, keeping them happy, and some management strategies that will lead your sales team to success.
Hire people who take feedback well
Salespeople meet new challenges every day. If they are unwilling to hear feedback and change the way they work, they won’t make any progress and hit their KPIs. How do you know if they’re coachable?
During the interview or probation period, do a role play and ask them to conduct a demo of the company’s product or service. After that, ask them what they think about their performance and give them feedback. From this exercise, you’ll be able to see their skill and how open they are to feedback and applying it. Hire only coachable people.
On top of being coachable, your sales team should consist of results-oriented people. They must have the drive and determination to reach the goal, ethically, of course. As a leader, even if your team is sales-oriented, you should create a healthy environment that is transparent, honest and integrity.
It’s good to inform the team that achieving the target is crucial, but the process also counts. You don’t want your team members to stab each other at the back for the sake of numbers. This could cause the whole team to go down.
Appreciate all wins publicly
The sales department of a company I worked with has a small bell on each team’s table. Whoever gets a sale rings the bell, and everyone in the room, including the other groups, claps their hands. It was very motivating!
When you lead a sales team, you can go beyond placing a bell. Be generous with praise, and appreciate small and big wins publicly. Compliment your team members and be specific about it. You could pat them on their back, thank them for their hard work, and give rewards.
Conduct regular training
Everyone in the sales team faces or talks to the customers daily. They must have an in-depth knowledge of the company’s products or services. You could conduct regular training. For example, you could have this training on a monthly basis. This is to freshen their memories about the products and services, good sales practices, sales techniques they should avoid, and so on. You could also keep them updated with the latest news in the company. You’ll never know if the information will be helpful when they’re talking to the customers!
Give one-on-one coaching
You may have already trained your team, but everyone is unique. No matter how busy you are, take time to schedule one-on-one coaching. This is especially important for those struggling to hit their target.
Regular one-on-one coaching will help your team members become more confident and skilled at sales. You could do a lot of role-plays with different scenarios with a variety of customers. This could enable them to handle difficult situations.
Induce happiness and show empathy
Research from the University of Warwick shows that happy employees are 12% more productive at work. What’s better than a sweet surprise from the boss after a tiring day? Surprise your team with dozens of doughnuts, chocolates, chips, or refreshing drinks to cheer them up.
Show empathy and be ready to play outside the company’s rule book if you should. For example, if their family member is suddenly sick and needs help, you could let them call it a day.
Use technology and automate things
In this modern era, use any technology available that could lighten your team’s work. Your team should focus on bringing sales, not spending more time on manual paperwork. For example, use an excellent cloud-based CRM for smooth collaboration. This is to help you to keep track of calls and clients.
Some tools allow team members to multitask. For example, tools that automatically document client meetings and calls. Look out for the latest technology that could be useful to increase team productivity and efficiency. You can also ask your team for input if there are any tools they need.
Distribute accounts fairly
As a leader, you’ll be the one who distributes accounts to your team. While it’s easier to pass the best accounts to your best salespeople. You must ensure a balance and that the system is fair to all.
For example, just because some people are new doesn’t mean you should only give them accounts with low opportunities because you’re scared they’ll screw up. You want each team member to feel they have a chance to succeed.
Pay their salary and bonus on time
Money is still the number 1 factor that motivates employees. Remember to pay their salary and bonuses on time. Also, as a good sales leader, you should fight for your team’s bonus. For example, if the company has agreed to set X amount of their budget for the bonus. Then, the boss changes their mind. It’s your job to defend your team.
The bonus has to be as agreed upon. It’s unfair for those who have worked hard since the beginning of the quarter only to find their bonus is significantly reduced. The changes in the bonus policy should go into effect in the next quarter. Remember, happy employees, are more productive.
Be an inspiration to your team
You, yes, you, can inspire your sales team! You don’t have to be an influencer or a famous person. Some of the things that you can do to inspire your team are:
- Be positive and energetic, and say ‘good morning to them.
- Show your appreciation and praise them in public.
- Be willing to help your team to succeed, not for personal gains.
- Take responsibility for what happens to the team.
- Be honest and transparent.
I hope you find this article helpful, and I wish you and your team success!