Is your sales team underperforming?
Are they lacking the motivation to improve their performance?
If the answer to these questions is “yes,” then know your team is not alone. According to a survey done by Hubspot, 66% of salespeople are not reaching their quotas.
There are a number of reasons why your team is not performing at its peak level. Here are some of the top ones:
- They do not like their job and should not be in sales
- They do not feel like they have a mentor or coach to guide them
- They have not been properly trained
- They lack prospecting skills
- They do not have Drive
- They do not properly understand your company’s service or product
The list goes on and on.
There are a seemingly infinite number of reasons why your sales team is struggling to reach the success that both you and they want. Not only is this frustrating to Sales Managers because they need their team to reach sales goals, but it can result in high employee turnover. Further, this has the potential to cost your company a great deal of money.
In fact, some estimate that losing an employee and hiring someone else to fill the position can cost your company 200% of the employee’s annual pay.
We are guessing your company would like to do without those costs. And that is where you come in. Ensuring that you are a good Sales Manager will help you avoid the problems associated with an underperforming sales team.
However, there is more to leading your team to success than you may think. While you need to meet your quotas and always adhere to company policies, there is a great deal more that happens behind the scenes. This includes inspiring your team, motivating them, leading them to better sales performance and guiding them to success in their careers.
So how do you help your sales team find success?
Read on to find out the effective sales management strategies you need to adopt today to get your team on the right track and avoid sales management mistakes.
- Provide regular one-on-one coaching and feedback to develop salespeople’s skills. This boosts productivity, confidence, and abilities.
- Encourage continued learning through ongoing training to keep information fresh. Create a strategic training plan for the year.
- Leverage sales technology and tools like CRM to increase efficiency and collaboration. Ensure new tech integrates well.
- Streamline the sales process using playbooks based on top performers’ tactics. This brings consistency across the team.
- Build a positive culture with flexibility, development opportunities, social responsibility, etc. This increases engagement and retention.
- Understand each salesperson’s unique personality, learning style and preferences. Adjust management strategies accordingly.
- Inspire your team by being energetic, appreciative, caring, accountable and honest. This motivates excellence.
- Use competitions focused on clear goals to boost performance. Keep it simple, fun and rewarding.
- Invest time getting to know each rep’s selling style, motivators etc. Strong connections drive productivity.
- Hire driven salespeople and nurture the team for continued success. Provide support tools to maximize potential.
Top Sales Management Strategies for Sales Teams
1. One-on-One Coaching
We understand: Sales Managers are busy.
This makes it tough to stay on top of everything on your to-do list, and most often, one-on-one coaching falls through the cracks.
But, in order to help your sales team reach peak performance, that needs to change. Regular coaching is integral to your team becoming more productive, more confident and more skilled at sales.
In fact, companies who provide solid coaching to their team see a 16.7% growth in their annual revenue.
If your sales team is properly coached through a variety of customer interactions, they will be better prepared to handle difficult situations. And this means they will be able to close more deals.
In addition, one-on-one coaching allows your reps to feeling more confident in their approach to sales since they will have input from an expert (you).
Your best salespeople will appreciate any help you can offer, as long as you are still allowing them certain freedoms and flexibility.
And, if worse comes to worst and you are hard-pressed to find time to work one-on-one with each of your salespeople, at the very least provide regular input.
2. Encourage Continued Learning
Starting your salespeople off on the right foot with comprehensive sales training ensures you avoid many common problems that plague the sales industry.
However, a study by Harvard Business Review found that 87% of what people learn in a live training is forgotten in a mere 30 days.
So get your effective training in place, and watch your middle performers become top performers that can generate more revenue for your company.
It is important to train your team regularly to keep the information fresh in their minds.
A great sales management strategy to help you do this is to create a strategic training plan for the next year and make sure your team sticks to it. This training should reinforce previously taught lessons, while also adding in new strategies for them to continue building their skillset.
Further, you also encourage your team to pursue continued education on their own to perform at their best and stay ahead of the competition.
3. Use Technology
Thanks to constantly improving technology, many parts of the sales process are becoming automated, thus quicker and easier for your salespeople to complete.
There are lots of sales enablement tools available today, one example is cloud-based CRM.
A good CRM makes collaboration much easier, as well as eases the difficulty of keeping track of calls and clients.
Further, equipment such as tablets and headsets allow your salespeople to effortlessly multi-task, allowing client meetings and calls to be well-documented without taking your salespeople’s focus away from their clients.
The key to bringing technology into your sales team’s efforts is to ensure it works seamlessly with the tools and systems your team already has set in place.
Also key is to always be on the lookout for the latest developments to ensure your team continues to be as productive and efficient as possible.
You can even take this one step further by asking your team their input — find out if there are any tools they think would help them better execute their job.
4. Streamline the Sales Process
Though the sales process will not always be one-size-fits-all, you want to have a general sales process in place that provides your team with the tools and information it needs to reach its sales goals.
One of the best ways to develop an effective sales process for your team is to create playbooks.
Playbooks take the processes of your best salespeople and share those tactics with your underperforming sales reps.
This results in a more efficient, productive and consistent sales process across your entire team.
It is crucial to keep in mind when using playbooks, however, that they will not fit every situation. Instead, they act as a flexible guide that will take your sales reps through the journey of the buyer.
5. Establish a Good Company Culture
Though having a strong company culture has always been important, its importance has become increasingly important to employee satisfaction lately.
Why is that? Millennials.
Millennials, according to the Pew Research Center, rule the U.S. workforce. In fact, there are nearly 54 million of this generation’s people working, and they place a lot of importance on a company’s culture.
Thus, it is in your best interest to find ways to improve your company culture and provide your employees with some key things, including:
- Flexibility. This can be flexibility in scheduling, in the location they work from or the way their office is set up.
- Professional development. Millennials are looking at how to advance in their careers, and want positions at companies that will help them develop and grow.
- Reputation. Reputation is important not only within your industry, but also when it comes to being a socially responsible company. Make sure your company is donating, volunteering and practicing sustainability.
Other powerful sales management strategies to improve company culture include:
- Creating a positive physical and social environment
- Celebrating employee achievements
- Showing appreciation for salespeople on a regular basis
- Organizing events and competitions to keep salespeople engaged and excited about coming to work
6. Understand Your Sales Team’s Differences
Though many successful salespeople have similar personality traits, including Drive, recognize that does make everyone a carbon copy of each other.
Your salespeople will have different personalities, learning styles and coaching preferences. So, be sure you do not treat and coach everyone the same way.
Instead, take each individual’s unique personalities into account and adjust your management strategy accordingly. This will increase the chances of each of your salespeople performing to their full potential.
If you are looking for assistance in better understanding your salespeople’s personalities or preferences, consider using a sales assessment test, like The Production Builder™, which is designed to give you coaching and mentoring guidance, based on each salesperson’s unique personality profile.
7. Inspire Your Team
Successful Sales Managers understand the importance of inspiring their team.
In fact, they use inspiration as one of their top sales team management strategies. They do so by helping each salesperson see how successful they can become, and motivating them to maximize their potential
Inspiring Sales Managers are often described as:
- Energetic. Having a positive, uplifting attitude that is contagious
- Appreciative. Truly showing gratitude for the hard work of the sales team and recognizing/rewarding them accordingly
- Servant-hearted. Caring about the success of the sales team more than personal gain
- Accountable. Taking personal responsibility for what happens, even when the consequences are unpleasant
- Honest. Always telling the truth to both co-workers and customers
Creating an environment in which your team feels inspired will motivate them to excel at work.
And you know what that means — better sales results and greater revenues.
8. Drive Competition
If you are looking for a powerful sales management strategy to boost your team, creating a competition is a great option.
Here are few tips on how to create a successful sales competition:
- Define a clear goal. Whether you want to improve customer service, increase sales volume or simply survive a seasonal slump, you must first clearly communicate the objective of your contest to your sales team.
- Keep it simple. Try to focus on one goal during your competition. Also, make sure the rules are easy-to-understand so your salespeople can easily participate.
- Have fun. Chances are most of your salespeople have a natural Competitiveness. Encourage friendly banter around the competition to make it more fun and interesting.
Keep hype up about the competition by posting news and sending out updates via email.
Whoever ends up winning the competition, be sure to recognize and reward them for their accomplishment.
9. Get to Know Your Team
How can you expect to be successful in your sales management strategies if you do not know your team?
Knowing the team you are working with is an absolute necessity in the world of sales. Not only do you need to know the obvious things — your salespeople’s names and faces — you also need to take the time to get to know sales-specific things about them, including their:
- Selling style
- Learning style
Gaining this level of understanding will allow you to form meaningful connections with your sales team. This close rapport confers many advantages, including better collaboration, increased trust, and the ability to motivate your team more effectively.
When salespeople feel connected to their Sales Manager, they are more productive. In fact, according to a Gallup poll, companies whose employees are more engaged have 21% higher productivity rates than those who are disengaged and disconnected.
So take the time to get to know your team and you will see your sales soar.
10. Build a Winning Sales Team
As a Sales Manager, you are no longer able to ensure sales by going into the field yourself. Instead, you need to place your trust in your sales team to do the job.
So, what sales management strategy do you use to reach that level of trust?
Trusting your team begins with building a winning team. If you want to have a strong team, you must hire strong salespeople, people who have Drive.
You can determine whether your candidate has Drive by implementing a sales aptitude test such as The DriveTest® into your hiring process. This test will filter out those who are not built to be strong salespeople.
Using The DriveTest® will save you both time and money — a lot of money. In fact, DePaul University reported that you can count on waiting six months and spending an average of $110,000 to replace a lost sales rep.
No company wants to waste that kind of money. Instead, work to build a great team from the start. The extra money you spend up-front will be well worth it in the long run. Invest time in hiring the right people, training them thoroughly, and developing a positive team culture.
This will pay dividends through increased sales, higher retention, and reduced turnover expenses.
11. Cultivate a Winning Sales Team
Beyond building a winning sales team — you also have to nurture it for continued success.
Here are some of the top ways to lead your sales team to success:
I. Invest time and resources to help your team hit their quotas.
Even highly Driven salespeople still need supportive tools to help them maximize their full potential. Provide your team with the resources they need to do the best job they can, whether that is a certain software program, presentation material or even administrative assistance.
Check out Sales Psyched! as a resource to help your salespeople take their selling to the next level with psychological selling tips.
If a small investment can help your salespeople close valuable leads more efficiently, then the investment will be well worth it.
II. Ensure your approach is best for your team.
The way you approach sales and quotas may not actually work for all of your salespeople. It is important that you work with each individual rep to provide them with the approach and support they need to be successful.
III. Create your own goals and track your progress.
Though it is your job to keep track of your sales team’s progress, you need to keep track of your own goals and progress as well.
12. Identify Sales Team’s Barriers to Success
Your team may be struggling with some barriers that are keeping them from reaching their goals. And, it is your job to identify those barriers and help your team overcome them.
Here are the top three sales barriers holding many sales teams back, and how you can break through them:
I. Fear of being rejected
Work with your sales reps to change their perspective on rejection. Do not let them assume that a cold call will result in a rejection. Rather, help them be hopeful that a cold call will result in a sale.
Another way to help salespeople overcome their fear of rejection is by ensuring your salesperson thoroughly understands how your company’s product or service can help the customer and is able to communicate that.
Further, providing your salespeople with scripts addressing common customer concerns will help them better anticipate objections and prepare solid responses.
II. Poor communication
Did you know that 92% of all customer interaction happens over the phone?
This statistic shows the importance of communication in sales.
The key to your salesperson having a successful sales call lies not in them doing all the talking, but rather in them doing a lot of listening. Listening connects salespeople with customers and makes the phone calls more of a conversation rather than a pitch, which helps build a longer lasting relationship.
III. Lack of content and/or social media marketing
With 90% of marketers stating that social media has increased exposure for their business, there is no denying its importance.
And why is that exposure so important to your sales team?
First of all, it establishes credibility. It is easier for your salespeople to sell when the potential customer has seen your product or service advertised on social media. It provides a level of knowledge and comfort for the prospect.
Secondly, it allows your team to see where they are positioned in comparison to your competition. Social media marketing typically warrants feedback, and that feedback helps your team understand their place in the industry, and what they can do to improve their sales tactics.
Thus, you are missing out on a number of potential leads if you do not have a strong social media strategy in place.
In fact, sales teams have been shown to improve their closings by 67% when working together with the marketing team.
13. Help Your Sales Team Create Effective Sales Plans
Successful salespeople do not get to where they are simply because of luck.
Instead, they used sales plans. And, because each of your salespeople is different from the next, you need to work with them to create sales plans that work well for each person on an individual level.
Make sure each member of your sales team includes the following in their sales plans:
- Define their own goals
- Create easy-to-follow plans to ensure consistency and progress
- Improve time management
- Improve prioritization strategies
When developing prioritization strategies, your salespeople should base their decisions on the following considerations:
- Which activities will close the most leads
- Which activities will generate the most prospects
- How and when to nurture their leads
14. Start Early to Stay Ahead of the Curve
This is one of the most effective sales management strategies for you to implement into your company.
Similarly to how your salespeople should anticipate customer objections, you should anticipate potential issues that could arise within your sales team and have a plan to address them before they become a problem.
Hiring a strong sales team is the best way to get your team off to a promising start, and minimizes the chances of bad hires slowing down the team’s progress.
From there, you will want to provide your new salespeople with the proper coaching and skill teaching they need to do well right out of the gate.
Do not wait until they show obvious signs of a struggle to bring them in for additional training or coaching. Be proactive about identifying opportunities for further development.
Schedule regular one-on-one meetings to discuss progress, provide feedback, and work through any issues early on. It is much easier to keep sales reps on track than try to course correct once problems arise.
15. Pay Attention to Seemingly Small Issues
After your sales team is trained, regularly check in with them and pay attention to their numbers to see if you start to notice any negative trends with specific individuals or within the team overall, however small.
This could be an indication that part of the sales process needs to be improved.
Say one of your salespeople has a few bad calls in a week. They could be having a rough week, or they could not be using their skills in the right way to close deals. Though a week of struggle may not seem like a big deal, it could become a bigger issue if they do not tackle these issues early on.
Doing so is important for not only the company goals, but also for the individual salesperson. They could be having more trouble with sales calls then you realized, so you want to address this problem before it becomes something larger.
Providing additional training and coaching early on shows you care about their professional development. It will boost their confidence, skills, and job satisfaction. Catching issues early prevents setbacks that could be discouraging. Being proactive helps ensure each rep reaches their full potential.
16. Give Your Team Detailed Feedback
In order to create a culture that promotes growth and success, you need to give feedback to your sales reps.
Research has shown that when a manager places focus on employee strengths, workers are 30 times more likely to remain engaged in their work.
However, it is important that you not only provide feedback about what your employees are doing right, but also the areas in which they could improve. In fact, many high-Drive salespeople look forward to constructive criticism, because it helps them get one step closer to closing more deals.
So, make sure you are giving your sales reps the feedback they want and need.
The best way to do this is to be specific. Avoid micromanaging your employees and, instead, provide them with new things to implement that they can track and report back to you on, rather than you checking up on them.
Give clear, actionable feedback focused on behaviors they can change. For example, suggest trying a new script for overcoming objections or starting each call with an icebreaker question.
Have them practice the new techniques and keep a log of results. Set a timeline for follow-up and collaboration. This approach empowers sales reps to take ownership of their development while keeping you informed.
17. Identify and Communicate Both Team and Individual Goals
Numbers are a crucial piece of sales.
And, to increase your chances of meeting the numbers the company has set, you need to clearly communicate the goals you expect your team as a whole to reach, as well as the goals of each individual person.
Not only do your goals need to be clear to your team and each salesperson, they also need to be realistic.
If you have a new sales rep on his first week of work, do not give him the same goals you give your veteran superstar salesperson. Instead, adjust his goals to fit his individual skill set, and give him a chance to succeed. Also, keep in mind that while numbers in sales are certainly important, they are not everything.
It is important that you also set developmental goals with your salespeople. These goals are the key to building a strong sales team across the board. Schedule one-on-one meetings to discuss each rep’s strengths, weaknesses, and aspirations.
Collaborate to define specific skills they want to improve. Make the goals measurable and time-bound. Check in regularly on progress and provide support needed to reach targets.
Setting clear objectives tied to growth makes development a priority, not an afterthought. Your team will be motivated knowing their advancement is a shared focus.
18. Make Sure Your Sales Team Knows Competitors’ Offers
A good salesperson does not only know their company’s product and service inside out, but they are also aware of what the competition is offering.
One of the best ways to do this is to have your salespeople complete a SWOT analysis for your company. By learning your company’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, your rep will be well-equipped to handle nearly any situation that may come their way in a call.
Customers want to know what makes you different from the competition, and your sales team needs to be able to answer with a solid response.
By knowing the competition well, your salespeople will be able to anticipate any objections that the customer may have to the product or service, and will also know how to sell your company’s product better.
Make sure your team understands competing products’ features, pricing, and positioning inside out.
Roleplay scenarios where they must counter a customer’s concerns about choosing your offer over another. Have them highlight specific areas where your solution outperforms rivals. This enables reps to pivot objections into selling points. An in-depth knowledge of the competition equips them to win more deals.
19. Celebrate Individual and Team Wins
It is a sad fact, but many Sales Managers do not celebrate their sales team’s wins, and probably do not realize the negative effect this has.
Taking the time to recognize and celebrate wins in your sales team can yield major benefits, including increased job satisfaction, productivity and motivation.
In fact, 78% of employees say that recognition makes them more motivated in their work.
Sales can be quite stressful, so you want to keep things positive and happy whenever possible.
Plus, seeing the recognition of other salespeople’s success will continue to motivate your team to strive for more.
Part of that recognition and celebration is also taking the time to sit down with the sales reps and asking them what they feel went well in the sale and how they can implement their successful strategies into future calls.
Schedule debrief sessions after big wins to capture insights while fresh. Ask open-ended questions to uncover tactics that secured the deal. Identify best practices that could work for other reps. Brainstorm ways to incorporate these proven approaches going forward.
This review process maximizes learning and growth from each accomplishment. It also shows salespeople their achievements are valued and builds confidence.
20. Set High Goals that Are Realistic
Stretch goals are a great tactic to use with your sales team, as long as you are giving them the guidance they need to get there.
By setting stretch goals that are high, yet realistic, you are giving your team a chance to seriously boost their confidence.
However, you have to be careful not to set stretch goals too high, to the point of where it is impossible to reach.
The best way to keep your stretch goals realistic is to set ones that around 60-70% of your team can, without a doubt, reach. Any lower than that, and you risk the goal being too hard to reach, and the team’s confidence plummeting. Any higher than that, and your team will not feel the same level of achievement when the goal is reached
Though it may feel at times that leading your sales team to success is impossible, as you can see, it is not.
By simply taking the time to plan and implement the sales management strategies outlined above, you should start to see a noticeable improvement in your sales team.
Have you tried all of the above strategies, but still are not seeing an improvement in your team’s performance?
It is important to keep in mind that a strong sales team begins with hiring the right salespeople. If your sales team is comprised of a number of low-Drive salespeople, you will likely see your team continue to struggle to find consistent success over time.
When recruiting, assess candidates not just for sales experience but for core attributes like motivation, work ethic, competitiveness, and persistence. Use behavioral interview questions and role playing to evaluate sales aptitude.
Check references thoroughly. Test for skills through activities like mock calls. Build a team of hungry, high-energy reps from the start. If your existing team lacks Drive, consider restructuring roles or bringing on new hires. The foundation of sales success is talent.
Transforming an underperforming sales team into a high-achieving one takes time and consistent effort. Do not get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results from implementing these strategies. True change happens gradually.
Keep analyzing what’s working and what’s not on a regular basis. Adjust your approach based on data and feedback. Celebrate small wins to keep motivation high.
Most importantly, lead by example. Model the behaviors you want your team to demonstrate. Be the type of leader they can respect and want to work hard for. Build a culture of accountability, transparency, and mutual support.
With persistence and commitment to continuous improvement, you can build an empowered, thriving sales team. The reward will be growing revenue and satisfied customers. Keep your vision fixed on the potential and stay focused on making progress every single day.
Sign up for a FREE trial of The DriveTest® today to discover whether your sales team has the Drive necessary for true sustained success.