Managing a Sales Team Can Be Challenging
Sales professionals are often ambitious and driven, and they value freedom and independence in their jobs. However, their motivation can plummet for a variety of reasons, and it’s important as a sales manager to identify what the issues are for struggling team members. There are several challenges to managing a sales team and a variety of methods I use to help combat those challenges.
One of the best things you can do for your sales team is to lead by example, even if you don't have a sales background. Think about the behaviors or habits you want to encourage, and make sure that you demonstrate these regularly. It's important to embody these values if you want your team to follow your lead. Find opportunities for you to meet with your salespeople individually and as a team in social settings. Trust is created when you get to know a person.
To manage your team members effectively, make sure you get to know and understand them individually. This familiarity will help you to customize your motivation and reward strategies, as well as understanding their needed areas of development. Consider asking your team members to complete personality and strengths tests, and use the results to start creating a "personality profile" for each person. You can then use these profiles to assign people tasks that play to their strengths, and you can identify and address any important weaknesses.
Spend time at the beginning of each year creating a developmental plan for each salesperson you manage. List the top skills they need to improve, and help them access training to assist with their development. Focus on improving one skill every month or quarter, provide regular feedback, celebrate successes and recognize achievements.
Additionally, I suggest role playing before a prospect call and debriefing after the meeting. Making this a habit with your salespeople will allow them to become good self-evaluators of their sales methodology. Pretty soon, they’ll simply handle their communications with you like a succinct debrief, sharing areas where they could’ve done better and behaviors they’ll look to incorporate moving forward.
Good sales teams are made up of determined, enthusiastic professionals. And, while it's tempting for sales managers to focus on numbers, it takes a lot more to motivate and manage a team of salespeople effectively. Get to know the personalities, strengths and weaknesses of everyone on your team. This will help you structure your team and tailor rewards to individuals, and it’ll increase their engagement and motivation bringing overall success.
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