10 things to do to help manage your sales team
How did you get to manage a sales team? Promoted sales person? Side step manager? Business owner? Or maybe you just have to manage the sales team because nobody else wants the job. Whatever the reason, managing a sales team is different from managing any other group of people in the organization.
By the very nature of the work they do, salespeople often have strong personalities, are used to rejection and are self-motivating. They should be team players of course but are often highly competitive with the rest of the team. This makes them harder to manage.
Over the next few weeks I will be posting new articles in the blog relating to the challenges and solutions to managing a great team, but in essence, you will need to consider the following:
Know what you need (Hunters / Farmers / Farmer’s wives) and employ the right people.
The first stage is to decide what type of sales people you need to do the job. This will depend on your product/service and the type of customer who normally buys it. We are often tempted to employ hunters because we want them to close more sales, but the farmers are often better at developing the larger, long-term business.
Know your customers
What sorts of people are buying your product/service? A detailed analysis of the customer type and their normal buying styles will help you to decide what sort of sales people you need to grow your business.
Develop the sales team’s skills
Sales people will often argue that they don’t want to waste their time with training. They know what they need to know. In my experience, this is never true. Skills development for the sales team is vital if you are going to stay ahead of the competition.
Give them the right tools
There are a wide variety of tools that will help the sales people to do their job and the most important of these is the Customer Relationship Management System. A good CRM system will help speed up the sale, develop better relationships, record all sales activity, and help you manage the team.
Sales people will often feel that they are distant from the rest of the activity in the organization. It is essential, therefore, to set up systems that encourage improved communication channels between the sales team and the rest of the organization. Better to overdo communication that to leave the team feeling isolated.
A motivated team will be a successful team, but it is impossible to motivate anybody unless you are motivated yourself. Get motivated, stay motivated and then get the team in the same frame of mind.
Encourage the team to believe they are running their own business
Salespeople must understand the important elements of running a business. I like to give sales teams the task of developing a business plan for their area at the beginning of each year rather than simply agreeing targets. Targets are essential of course but only as part of an overall plan.
The sales person’s performance is easily monitored. Using simple strike rates, weekly reports and performance against targets, to more complex pipeline management, written sales strategies and the detailed information that can be extracted from the CRM system, we can set up exception reports that will show good or bad performance.
Reward and Recognize
Sales people need to be paid well if they are to continue to perform. A good commission structure for the Hunters or a good basic for the Farmers and Farmer’s wives will help you to employ the right people and keep them. Keeping them motivated, however, will often depend on the other creative ways that you decide to reward them. A variety of awards given on a regular basis will help to boost moral, but a simple “pat on the back” (metaphorically of course) is often more powerful.
The last item on this list is all to do with working together with the rest of the organization. Sales people often forget that they are part of something much bigger than themselves and they have to work together interdependently if they are going to get the job done.
The above 10 items are the basis of good sales management. Over the next few weeks, I will be expanding on each one to help show how to grow a great sales team. If you want to add or expand any of the above just make a comment below and I will respond