When it comes to managing salespeople, don’t take a one size fits all approach.
One of the most beautiful things about working in sales is that there is no one way to do it well. Having dedicated my life to working in sales and leading and managing salespeople, I’ve seen every variation of person find a way to succeed once they find the formula that works best for them. So while 100 cold calls might be the right formula for one person, it might not work for someone else.
With different backgrounds, experience levels and individual strengths, each of your salespeople embodies unique attributes that make them successful in the field of sales. In fact, sometimes the only thing your salespeople have in common is the place where they work. Yet, all too often managers try to fit salespeople into a common methodology for achieving results.
The key is to focus first on the end result, then work with your team to find the right way for them to get there. So if you tell your sales team they have to get to the top of the mountain by a certain date, I guarantee each person will find different routes and tactics to reach the top. The trick is to let them do it in the way that works best for them.
For sales managers who want to be more strategic while building trust with their teams, try a different approach. Instead of creating very strict parameters for how to reach those sales goals (number of meetings, number of calls, etc), provide salespeople with the tools to succeed, then measure their performance based on the quality of the outcome.
Here are three ways to maximize the results of your sales force.
1. Set expectations. Provide your team with clear revenue goals. Focus on the end result, say, for example $100,000 in revenue. Confirm and reinforce those expectations, while making sure your team has the tools and the resources to achieve those results. Outline the sales process for everyone on your team, then set up specific times to check in on the results. This approach shifts the conversation to be more about the results, rather than focusing on the process it takes get generate those results.
2. Hard Work Looks Different to Different People: Someone brand new to the field needs to be measured on effort—because it will take them time to build that pipeline. Other more seasoned sales professionals, on the other hand, may work primarily on referrals. Don’t hold your salespeople to the same standard of how to get to the top of the mountain, and rather focus on their unique situation and skill set. In the event that the results aren’t coming forward, it may be time to reverse engineer the model to figure out the bottlenecks. This is where Situational Leadership comes to play.
3. Use Situational Leadership. Situational leadership is when managers adjust their leadership style to fit the employee’s strengths. This allows managers to tailor their approach to produce more results from their team members. Based on the notion that not all people respond to the same style of leadership, managers can take a customized approach. This is a way to incorporate trust, strategy and accountability, not to mention treating employees like adults who are in control of their own destiny. (Learn more about how to maximize employee strengths here.)
To build strong and successful sales teams, start the sales training process with the end result in mind, then allow people to play to their strengths to reach those goals. Not only will this approach eliminate frustration, but it will maximize the performance of the sales team. For more information on how to build a winning sales process for your team, please contact Carver Peterson here.