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As sales managers or employers, you play an undoubtedly crucial role to the success of your team. You set the tone, culture, and expectations of the work environment. With so much invested in your team, it may not be easy to take an objective look at your team. Whether you’re a new manager or a seasoned one, sometimes you may need a quick reminder about how you can make small changes and improvements to your hiring process or management style to foster a more productive work environment and team.
Here are 30 tips that will hopefully inspire you to look at your own team and how you manage them with fresh eyes:
1. Just as we always encourage our sales people to follow up with potential clients, be sure to follow up with your sales team on discussions brought up in coaching, training, or sales meetings. Ask them whether the information was useful, how they are able to apply it, what issues they are still encountering. When you follow up on key discussions, your sales people will be more likely to actively apply the material to their daily activities.
2. Managers often emphasize to their employees the necessity for constant development and training. Don’t forget that the same applies to you. Consider taking a professional sales management or sales coaching course to help you manage your sales team toward more productive and profitable possibilities.
3. Goals do not have to be just about hitting numbers; you should also set developmental goals with your sales people. Tangible goals around habit and attitude improvements as well as knowledge and skills acquisition goals will produce well-rounded professionals who will better be able to achieve their sales targets.
4. How do you set your sales team up to succeed? Assess and evaluate skills and learning curves, and then set goals that are challenging but realistic based on the skill set of the individual. The more successes a sales person sees, the more likely they will strive for larger challenges moving forward. Setting unrealistic goals right off the bat may not allow for an environment in which the sales person can grow toward the challenge.
5. Be a resource for your team. Share your own success stories, best practices, and advice on your areas of expertise, and direct them to appropriate external resources when needed. Show your team that they can come to you with challenges and questions.
6. Do you know your sales team and how they learn best? Take some time to identify the personality types and learning styles of the people within your team in order to help you deliver your sales meetings, coaching, and training sessions in the most effective way.
7. Too often the delivery of bad news or criticism makes up the majority of communication between sales managers and their teams. Make it a point to regularly comment on and celebrate good news, effort, results, etc. A little bit of appreciation goes a long way in developing a motivated and resilient team.
8. Don’t allow negative morale to pervade your company culture. When signs of negative morale become apparent, find out what is at the root of your employees’ concerns, and then have an informative and open conversation with them about their concerns.
9. Do you spend enough time and effort coaching your sales people? When done properly, coaching can develop in a sales person the confidence and skills that will enable them to aim higher and accomplish more. Don’t stunt the growth of your sales team by not providing adequate coaching time.
10. With your sales team at the heart of your business, it’s important to keep them in constant development in terms of industry, product, and sales knowledge. Early in the year, work out a training and development plan with each sales professional, and stick to it, no matter how busy things get. Ensuring that your sales team is equipped with the latest knowledge will translate into more opportunities for new business and innovation.
11. The growth and development of a sales team starts at the top. By carefully observing your own workforce, you can identify where certain shortcomings lie. Then you can prioritize the most pressing ones, and work towards resolving them, whether through coaching, additional training, a revaluation of strategy, etc.
12. A goal of every manager or employer should be to maximize the skills and talents of their employees. Don’t limit your workforce by pigeonholing them into one role. Instead, have ongoing conversations about where their skills and interests lie, and help them reach their developmental goals. Helping employees realize their potential can benefit the company in the form of innovation and growth, not to mention employee-loyalty.
13. The primary role of any manager, especially a sales manager, is to provide leadership and guidance. The only way this will be effective is if you first build and maintain trust with your team. Then you can lead them to many great successes over the course of your work relationship.
14. When a conflict arises within your team, be sure to address the conflict openly and put some steps in motion for how to resolve the issue. Make it clear to your team that the responsibility of conflict resolutions lies with and is to the benefit of every member of the team.
15. Create accountability in your sales team by ensuring that you follow up on instructions and advice that you have passed down to them. In following up with them, you will also get a better understanding of the obstacles they are facing and be better able to advise them on how to overcome these issues.
16. It’s important for everyone on the team, not just management, to be aware of and understand the overall goals of the company. Be sure to give them lots of material and communicate frequently about this to ensure everyone is on the same page and can keep the big picture in mind even as they work in their own supporting roles.
17. The first step in creating a work culture, in which constructive criticism is well-received, is to encourage your staff to give you feedback on your own weaknesses and incorporate that feedback in an effort to improve.
18. Encourage your employees to develop a team culture by planning group charitable or other community activities that get your employees working together on something other than work.
19. Encouraging open communication in the workplace starts with you; practice open communication yourself when dealing with your staff and lead by example.
20. Take the time to learn what motivates your staff, and then work to implement these things and create a positive work environment.
21. It is in everybody’s best interest to reduce stress levels at work. Proper communication with employees about changes that may affect their routines and roles can go a long way toward creating a positive work environment.
22. When a mistake occurs, your immediate priority should be to provide support in order to resolve the issue, instead of wasting time delivering blame.
23. Be sure to demonstrate your appreciation for your employees on a regular basis, even if it in the form of a word of thanks for putting in extra hours on the latest project.
24. One way to boost employee development and stability is to create an ongoing process of providing and receiving feedback to and from employees.
25. An employer who always works behind closed doors does not convey approachability, but may instead foster a disconnection with the rest of the staff. Try to keep your door open more often than not to promote solidarity among the team.
26. Create an environment in which employees feel safe taking regular breaks during the day, enabling overworked employees to be more alert, engaged, and productive.
27. For all projects/ works you are taking up yourself or with the team, brainstorm on risk factors and record them down for reference and further actions.
28. Our worst time-wasting activities are often invisible to us. Ask direct reports and peers to identify tasks that you could do less often or stop altogether.
29. Avoid miscommunication with employees about their specific roles from the beginning. Clearly lay out your expectations with new hires and have frequent discussions to assess how the person is adapting to the new role.
About the Canadian Professional Sales Association
Since 1874, we’ve been developing and serving sales professionals by providing programs, benefits, and resources that help you sell more, and sell smarter.
Contact us today at MemberServices@cpsa.com or 1-888-267-2772 to see how we can help you and your team reach new heights in sales success.
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