By Al Davidson
If you’re leading a sales team – whether in a Fortune 500 company or a small startup or at a family-owned restaurant – one of the constant challenges is keeping your team motivated and working together and staying on the same page. Some people who are really great sales people struggle to be good sales managers – it’s a different set of skills. Also, some great entrepreneurs who are wonderful at founding companies tend to struggle with coaching and mentoring sales people – founders tend to be high-level visionaries who don’t always have the front-line presence or the patience to coach sales people on a day-to-day basis.
Whatever you sell, whatever industry you’re in, whatever the size of your sales team might be, here are a few key concepts and strategies to keep your sales team energized and motivated to sell, sell, sell!
Make Everyone an Owner
Sales people tend to be more motivated when they have a sense of ownership and see a strong connection between their efforts and their rewards. Make sure your sales people are being compensated with significant upside potential where they make more money when the business makes more money. The best sales people will often want to work in an environment with lower fixed salaries but higher potential commissions – they will want to bet on their own ability to be successful sellers so they can capture more of their upside.
Collaborate Internally, Compete Externally
Sales people are sometimes pulled to two different extremes that can make it challenging to maintain effective teamwork: competitiveness and complacency. Some sales people are hyper-competitive and are driven to hit their own individual metrics, no matter what happens to the rest of the team. Other lower-performing sales people tend to get complacent – they get too comfortable with just barely meeting expectations and tend to shy away from pushing themselves harder.
To bridge the gap between these two extremes, try to create a sales team culture where everyone understands that they are not technically “competing” against each other – they are competing against your competitors. Sales people should want to collaborate with each other and see each other succeed – if your company is doing well, there should be enough success for everyone. With the right spirit of internal collaboration, your top-performing sales people will be more likely to support and mentor the other sales people on your team, and your lower-performers will be less likely to get complacent and fall behind.
The best sales people are entrepreneurial, and will often have good ideas on how your business can expand your market share and get new customers. Listen to your sales team and reward them for having initiative and bringing new ideas to you. The best sales people want to work independently and will often “manage” themselves, if you give them a lot of trust and leeway to operate in the way they feel is best, based on the customers’ demands. This doesn’t mean you should give your sales team hands-off …read more
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