No man is an island; so says the wise old saying. As a sales trainer, we have a training program we titled: Building a Winning Sales Team. As much as we want to build a complete sales professional who understands the Art of Selling and how to apply necessary strategies to become a success in his sales career, we also want to ensure that sales teams in organizations are designed to win. We want to see that organizations pay attention in hiring and building of effective sales teams. The mistake in this area is not usually ‘very’ easy to correct.
Getting the right sales team starts from the period of hiring. The Human Resources Department should get this job done properly. My five strategies to managing a sales team include:
- Get the right people on board.
- Train them.
- Show them the big picture.
- Let them get things done.
- Ensure monitoring and control.
Get the Right People on Board.
The rule is, OQP [Only Quality People] please. I often recommend that management includes the Sales Manager in the recruitment panel. Practical experience will count in this area. Again my rule on this is: Hire people who will work and not people who may work. Get experienced people on board or people who are amenable to learning; people who are teachable. This is the beginning point.
When you get the right people on board, what next? My simple answer is, train them. Don’t assume they are experienced hands. Train them as a matter of procedure. Develop this as a corporate attitude. Training binds people. Training blends a team. Training gives direction and defines a path. Train them on product knowledge, train them on team spirit, train them on procedures; train them on selling skills and strategies and other necessary areas. The more you train your team, the better they become.
Show Them the Big Picture.
There’s a big picture in every organization. Let your sales team know yours. Tell them about the vision of the organization, the mission, your core values and organizational behavior. This is something you gradually build overtime. This aspect can form part of the training but it takes a longer time to achieve. The concept of the big picture is a philosophy. It takes time to buy into a philosophy. This is why managers must see this aspect as one of the most important duties. This aspect is what makes the sales team. It is why the team exists. It is what defines the mission. Without the definition of the Big Picture, the sales team may wallow in confusion and move without direction.
Let Them Get Things Done.
This is where you talk about plans, sales target, territory management, procedures and work ethics. This is where you give them the necessary tools and expect results in return. This is where salesmen prove themselves on the job. This is where the appraisal comes in; to know who achieves what, when and how.
Ensure Monitoring and Control.
There has to be efficient monitoring and control. Don’t launch the sales team and go to sleep! The sales manager must be effective and efficient in the monitoring and control aspect to ensure that all efforts are in line with plans.
American automobile executive and author, Lee Lacocca said, “The speed of the boss is the speed of the team.” I agree with this thought and it’s a call to duty to all sales leaders. Sales managers must get things done. It is the duty of the sales manager to design a system that enhances team spirit and synergy. It is his duty to design a system that is result oriented. Unhealthy rivalry should be discouraged while competence and top performance encouraged. There should be a mechanism for monitoring input and output. The evaluation tool used in this is KPIs [Key Performance Indicators] which measures revenue and cost involved in sales activities. Build an inspired team.
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