Often sales managers will place the sole responsibility of reaching target on the shoulders of their sales people. However, as the leader of your team, there are many things that a sales manager does or doesn’t do that affect sales results.
Below are 7 things that sales managers do (or don’t do) that negatively affect sales. Do any of these apply to you and your team? Think about how you can rectify these situations and set your sales team up for success.
You’re hindering the success of your sales team if…
…you don't provide adequate training.
This could be any type of training from the initial onboarding training to ongoing formal sales courses that enable your sales people to stay current on the most effective sales techniques and strategies. Often times, the reason why sales people don’t get enough training is because in the hustle and bustle of the sales pit, targets and revenue are the prime focus, and development may fall to the wayside. You can avoid this if you evaluate gaps in the skills of your reps (e.g. use psychometric assessments) and then create a development plan with them so that they can get the training they need no matter how busy things get.
…your sales meetings take up too much selling time.
There’s nothing worse than attending a meeting that could have been conducted over the phone or via e-mail. It is important to hold regular meetings with your sales team to foster a sense of solidarity, keep each other updated, and discuss new tactics or changes. However, not everything needs to be communicated at the actual meeting. Before each meeting, send out an agenda of what will be covered, along with any documents that the team can look over before the meeting itself. Then, during the meeting you can spend less time going over documents, and more time discussing the meaning of them and how to implement an action plan. Both your sales team and your bottom line will benefit from more efficient meetings.
…your sales people are not given adequate feedback.
It’s crucial that sales people, regardless of their experience, are given ongoing feedback about not only their performance, but their attitude, their strengths and weaknesses, etc. Consistent coaching enables the sales rep to push themselves toward even higher performance standards. Without adequate coaching, sales people may continue doing what they’re used to, even if it may be detrimental to their success and that of the business. Make it a point to provide your employees with specific, actionable feedback, and follow-up on this information to encourage them to implement it.
…you motivate your reps solely with extrinsic/financial rewards.
While contests, incentives, bonuses, and rewards can make good motivators to get that extra boost in sales for the quarter, they shouldn’t be used in isolation or as the sole motivator for your sales people to perform well. A dependency on extrinsic rewards may lead to higher and higher rewards being required for sales people to perform. Instead, try to develop a team culture in which sales people are motivated by their passion, by their contributions to the team, and by their own development. This kind of culture in conjunction with occasional financial incentives will be much more effective than financial incentives alone.
…you don't provide adequate opportunity for learning and growth.
Most sales people would consider themselves to be ambitious. They clearly want to grow and obtain higher and higher levels of success. Mobility and growth can itself be a great intrinsic motivator of sales performance. Make sure that you have a process in place where newer sales people get the opportunity to learn from your more experienced reps and eventually get to work with larger accounts and have more responsibility. If you want your best sales people to stick around, make sure that they will continue to get new opportunities that will challenge and engage them.
…you point the finger instead of providing reliable resolutions.
If there’s one thing your team needs you to be as their manager, it’s reliable – especially in a crisis situation. The worst thing you can do when a problem or sticky situation occurs is to place blame. Instead, push asides the whos, hows, and whys, and provide your sales people with the guidance, solutions, and resources they need to resolve the situation. After the situation has been resolved, you can have a discussion with the people involved on what happened and how to avoid it in the future, but in the moment a problem arises, you need to be a reliable support for your team more than anything else.
…you don’t invest the time and resources to hire the right people for your company
Hiring the wrong person can cost your business thousands. As a manager, you owe it to your team to adequately screen the candidates you’re considering for the qualities that will make them work well with the rest of the team and make them successful within this role in your company. The Profile Sales Assessment, for example, is a great tool to see if there is a good fit between the candidate and the role. Be very careful about who you choose to hire; if it doesn’t work out, you’ll be left with wasted time and resources, and another open position to fill.
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