Managing a successful sales team is no easy task. You have limited control over what your sales reps do, and yet your career and financial well being is largely based on their individual success and accomplishments. The best and most successful sales managers possess common traits and utilize proven techniques to enable them to consistently outperform their peers.
By following these practical and effective management methods, you will increase your teams sales performance as well as the chances of advancing your own career.
- Adapt And Leverage The Strengths Of Each Team Member. It’s important for you to understand your reps unique skills, strengths, weaknesses, and what motivates them. To be effective, you need to adapt your management style to the needs of each individual and should not make the mistake of trying to manage or coach everyone in the same way.
- Set Realistic Sales Goals. Make sure the sales goals you set are challenging, measurable, and attainable, and hold your reps accountable for achieving them. The financial incentives available for reaching sales goals, and even those tied to specific deals, should be crystal clear.
- Lead By Example. Top sales managers earn the most trust and respect from their reps by rolling up their sleeves and getting their hands dirty. Work closely with the reps on your team that need the most help and you will increase your teams’ overall performance. Whenever practical, have your more successful and senior reps mentor your junior ones.
- Share And Celebrate Successes. One of the best ways to motivate your team while sharing valuable sales techniques is to have your reps present their most strategic wins to the rest of your team. By doing so, everyone will learn firsthand how their peers overcame difficult obstacles to close their best deals. It’s very likely that your other sales reps are having similar challenges with their own opportunities and will benefit from the experience and success of others.
- Provide Honest And Constructive Feedback. The best sales managers I’ve worked with were the ones that I learned the most from and those that provided prompt and constructive feedback. Make sure you point out and reinforce the positive behaviors while also suggesting changes in the areas your reps can improve upon. A well balanced discussion will be appreciated.
- Reward Your Top Performers. Rewards can be provided in many ways and it’s no surprise that most people in sales are in it for the money. Find ways to acknowledge the success of the individuals on your team and most importantly give credit where it’s due. One of the best sales managers I ever had, used to march us into our CEO’s office after we closed a large deal and share our win with them right on the spot. It was a great feeling to be recognized in that way, and although that approach may not always be possible, you should get creative rewarding outstanding performance.
- Assemble And Hire Top Caliber Talent. Your success is measured by the overall performance of your team, and it’s up to you to be sure you have the very best people supporting and selling to your customers at all times. If there are individuals that consistently under-perform no matter what you do, cut your losses and hire someone new to replace them.
- Connect With Your Customers. Engaging directly with your customers is essential to building your own relationships and will help you and your team grow the business. Additionally, it will enable you to assist your reps with their key deals and help overcome obstacles they face. Meet with key accounts early in the process so you can leverage those relationships when needed. Don’t be the stranger who shows up on the scene only when its time to close the deal.
- Stay Positive. Negative attitudes and actions are extremely contagious. By focusing your conversations and efforts on solutions instead of only the problems, you will see the behavior of your team change in a very positive way. Counter a discussion focused solely on challenges and issues with productive questions geared towards solutions.
- Have Fun. Creating and fostering a culture where your team works hard, plays hard, and has fun, provides additional incentives for your team to work collaboratively together and enjoy themselves while doing so.
As you can see, to become a top performing sales manager you must coach, mentor and organize your sales team to maximize their potential. Successful managers empower their team by providing an atmosphere of trust and encouragement. This is a challenging undertaking that requires skill and experience. Utilizing the methods set forth above will assist you to build on the strengths of your team and help you to exceed your own sales goals.