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Topics Covered: <a href='/resources/search/?query=Performance management'>Performance management</a>
Sales Strategy
Sep 25, 2017 | Canadian Professional Sales Association lock

When you have an amazing experience at a restaurant, you may not even notice all of the components that come together to build this feeling. You know that your table was ready when you arrived, the food was good, and the service was prompt.  However, behind the scenes, there is a significant amount of planning, training, and hard work that allows the restaurant to pull off your dinner experience so flawlessly. The hosts optimized the tables and layout, the chefs were well trained to prepare the food, and the servers were efficient.

Like a well-run restaurant, a sales team needs to develop so that all of the stages of the customer journey are accounted for and optimized. To do this, you need processes, tools, and, most importantly, people. However, it is often difficult to know which skills to look for in the hiring process and how to direct the team to improve performance. We’ve compiled a few tips to help – find out how you can develop and grow your people into a high-performing sales team.

Hire for Long-Term Ability

Many organizations hire because they have an immediate need. While this in itself is not a hiring mistake, the urgency that it creates can lead to hiring mistakes. Try to avoid hiring the first person who fits your job description, and instead wait for the candidate that will succeed at your organization in the long term. When the team needs someone to fill a specific job duty, it can also be tempting to hire a candidate because they know a specific tool or process. This is also a pitfall – a smart, capable candidate can learn tools and processes within a few weeks and a poor candidate will take much longer to develop sales ability. Hire a candidate who will learn your tools and processes, and who will contribute to your bottom line in a meaningful way long into the future.

Compensate the Entire Team for Team Success

Unlike at a restaurant, where compensation tends to be standardized or based on tips, compensation in a sales team is tricky. Depending on the type of product, the length of the sale, and the organization, compensation structure should be adjusted. While it makes sense to reward individuals for closing sales or filling the pipeline, it also makes sense to reward the entire team for team success. If an additional bonus is granted if the entire team meets their targets, for instance, there is more incentive for the team to work together and share knowledge, which benefits the whole organization. When taking this approach, however, it is also important to create a culture and work environment that facilitates sharing knowledge.

Make Performance Goals Clear, and Measure

Failing to communicate your expectations around performance is one of the worst things you could do as a sales leader. Direction around the activities the team and individuals should focus on, the results they are expected to deliver, and how they will be measured and compensated is critical for meeting company objectives. For instance, you may be measuring your sales team on how well they keep their CRM records up-to-date. If the sales reps do not understand that this activity impacts their overall performance evaluation, it’s unlikely that they will spend the needed amount of time on it.

As a sales leader, it is important to approach team growth as a long-term investment that can be tweaked and optimized over time. Like a restaurant, the menu may change over time, but good service is always the same.

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