Welcome back to another Sales Insight blog post, where today I want to offer you my personal top five sales leadership tips that will help you build your world class sales team.
#1 Look at yourself first
It is the responsibility of the sales leader to create an environment in which their sales team thrives, and therefore I’d always suggest the first thing you do is reflect honestly on your own performance. It can be all too easy to get distracted by other things going on within the organisation and lose sight of the fact it is your sales team’s performance that ultimately determines whether the business performs well or not. As such, it is essential that you are prioritising activities that support the team and their success.
#2 Systemise your recruitment
Next, make sure you systemise your recruitment and onboarding so that you’re profiling candidates based both on their character and their competency levels. Through the profiling process you should be testing their ability to do the job you’re actually recruiting for. You can do this by creating a simulated environment and observing how they sell and carry out the tasks you’d expect them to in front of a real customer. Again, with so many sales leaders being time poor, we often try and shorten – or even cut – this process which results in substandard candidates and wasted time and money.
Onboarding also comes into play here because you need to ramp people up to be as productive as they can be, in as short a time-frame as possible. You can read more about onboarding here.
#3 Increase your effective coaching to impact performance
From research and my own experience, I can tell you that when each sales team member is given a minimum of three hours effective coaching a month by the sales manager, there is a direct correlation with the overachievement of targets. Conversely, when we see limited, ineffective, or indeed no coaching at all, the sales team typically fail to hit their targets altogether.
It is also important that you focus your coaching efforts on the right people. Take a moment to categorise your team in terms of their performance; low, average or high. The large majority of your team will be ‘average’ performers and it is they who are the engine of your performance and should therefore be the main focus of your coaching efforts. Just a 5-10% performance improvement in the ‘average’ members of your team will return a a significant impact on the team’s overall performance.
#4 Run inspirational sales team meetings
You need to be running inspirational and motivational sales team meetings in order to get the most out of your sales team. To do this, make sure you are looking forward, rather than just reflecting on past performance and be honest about your pipeline to ensure your aspirations are achievable.
Rather than individual account review summaries, which can be more effectively communicated in their written reports, instead get your sales people working together on live account reviews. This involves selecting one or two existing opportunities and bringing the team together to clarify objectives, devise a strategy and agree an action plan. Not only does this promote and support best practice and personal development but, ultimately, it improves the chances of winning the deal, with a greater proportion of the value.
It can be easy for valuable sales team meetings to become hijacked with other functions, which can then dominate proceedings. So, be firm and take time to plan so you know the correct areas will be focused on.
#5 Check for old habits that may impact the value you’re able to capture
All organisations now recognise, what we term The Three C’s; that you need to be able to Create new value with your clients, Communicate the differential value that you bring, and then Capture a fair share of the value you created with those customers. Therefore, my final piece of advice to you is simply to test your sales team’s ability to do these things. You can’t capture what has not been created or communicated, so it’s essential to ensure none of your team are stuck in old selling habits that may hinder the process and stop you being as successful as you could otherwise be.
If you’d like a further chat about this or any other topic that we’ve discussed then please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.