There’s no doubt about it, sales is a highly competitive, results driven business. That’s why having the right leadership is crucial to a sales team’s success.
So how can you be the leader that your team needs? How can you help them negotiate the highs of target smashing one day, followed by the lows of rejection the next? How can you keep them motivated every single day, so that they deliver the results you need?
1. Understanding individuality
One of the most important rules of managing a sales team is to know your team on an individual basis. Whether that be from one-to-one meetings, team building occasions, or even over a simple coffee – getting to know your team’s individual strengths and weaknesses is important. That way, you can provide them with what they need, while they know that they can trust you to deliver for them. Encouraging a blanket rule for how to manage and motivate your team might sound like an easy option, but it rarely works.
2. Embracing rewards
As a competitive species, most salespeople often perform better under pressure, or at least with an incentive to spur them on. Knowing exactly what drives your team is important for being able to motivate them effectively. Set them a goal or a target or even pit them against other colleagues within the department, and you’ll soon find a well-motivated team looking to reap the rewards of their success. Just make sure that the rewards are attainable, fair and appropriate – think clocking off a few hours early or a shopping voucher over pay rises or anything too permanent.
3. Taking ownership
As a sales manager, chances are you’re in that challenging position of middle management. Using this position to the best of your ability is important when managing a sales team. Though you may sometimes have to pass down orders given from higher up down to your own team, knowing when you can negotiate with the management above can make the difference between your team seeing you as a fair and trustworthy manager and simply someone who gives them orders. Treating your team as your team at all times and looking out for them as necessary can keep motivation levels up, and work at its most efficient.
4. Lead by example
While most of us know this in theory, it can be more difficult to deliver in practice – especially if you’re fairly new to management. From general office etiquette to specific business targets, everything you do has to be an example of what you want to see from your team. Many salespeople can lose respect for managers if they see bad examples, which can dilute your authority, ultimately making you an ineffective leader. So make “lead by example” your mantra – set it as your screensaver or stick it on a post-it note if you need to, but keep it front of mind at all times.
5. Stay ahead
Being the go-to authority is one of the cornerstones of good management. Your team needs to trust you and see you as the authority they need to lead them and help them develop. Staying on top of everything that’s going on within your team, as well as the industry, will position you as the leader that they need should a query arise. Being out of the loop can portray a lack of effort or knowledge, which is the last thing that a team wants from a manager.
6. Utilize SPM software
Sales Performance Management software is one of the most effective ways of enhancing your management by allowing you to become actively engaged in the performance of your team. By using reliable data to monitor where their strengths and weaknesses lie, you can guide them where necessary to help improve their techniques and ultimately their success rate. All in all it’s a bonus for you, the company and employee motivation. Use it effectively, and it may even lead to bonuses all round!
Ready to take your sales team’s performance to the next level? Find out how using Sales Performance Management to monitor and guide them can help you do just that.