Expert Advice from Chris Young, Director of Client Growth Management
Sales management is often a profession where you learn as you go. This advice from our Sales Effectiveness expert can help lead your sales team to the next level.
Focus on clear and concise communications
In a sales organization, information should follow a two-way path from executives to sales managers to sales team members, with questions, concerns and comments flowing upstream. For example, if there has been a product enhancement, the manager should distribute details to the sales team and be prepared to answer questions and clarify key benefits.
One way to decrease the risk of poor communications is to reduce the need for it. If every member of your team knows exactly what to do in various situations, communications become unnecessary. For example, if a customer has a “big ask,” sales team members should know to consult management.
Ongoing, two-way communication makes it easier to recognize repetitive customer requests and offer detailed group training on how to handle them. This allows the manager to provide first-hand information, get direct feedback and hold the sales team more accountable. The key is to make sure the path for communication is always open and clear to stop preventable mishaps and to keep everyone in the know.
Improve Your Sales Communications with: a clear path, group training, and an open door policy
Make sure everyone is involved
There shouldn’t be a single member of your sales team that is not involved in achieving big business goals. The purpose of picking a good sales methodology for your team is so everyone can follow it. However, team members who prefer to do things a different way are not always a “poor fit” for your organization. A one-on-one meeting can help clarify the situation.
Allowing members of your team to make suggestions that could improve your sales process may be beneficial. After all, some people might look at a tree and say “the tree is brown” while others say “the tree is green”. In fact, both observations can be correct, if one person looks at the trunk and the other is focused on the leaves. Keep in mind, however, that, as a manager, you get to decide which part of the “tree” to focus on.
If a team member isn’t adopting your strategy, it may indicate that he or she either doesn’t understand the strategy or simply doesn’t want to conform to it. Either way, it’s important to recognize the situation and clearly communicate your expectations. After all, bad sales practice is money down the drain.
For more tips on managing your sales team, check out this blog entry.
Improve your sales management with: team involvement, one-on-one meetings, and goal setting
Review current processes
Though your business may have had certain processes in place for a long time, that doesn’t mean they are still the best and most efficient methods for your team. You can prevent falling in a sales rut by reviewing often-used processes to identify any that are particularly difficult or complex.
You can do the audit yourself or assign each member of your team a specific area on which to focus. Either way, someone should review every process that is important to a sale to determine how easy it is to complete. If it’s not easy, you should look into ways to improve it. If a certain team member uses the process most, their input can be particularly valuable.
Improve your sales processes by: reviewing important procedures based on feedback from team members
Put technology to work
Automation is often the solution for process-related problems. The challenge, however, is that new technology seems to pop up every day. In addition, investing in a solid technical infrastructure can be costly. If chosen wisely, however, the right technology can save time, resources and ultimately money.
Encourage your sales team, office staff and technicians to investigate new technologies that can make their jobs easier and help them work smarter. Automating customer relationship management and estimating, or making it easier for customers to visualize project results can reduce costs and increase sales. To help get you started, we’ve created a workbook on finding the best apps for your business.
Learn to work smarter by: keeping in touch with new technology, involving professionals throughout your business, thinking about the future of sales
Track your progress
After identifying and correcting some of the problems in your sales strategy and/or execution, you need to track the results in a concise way that offers valuable insights and feedback on a consistent basis. This way, you can keep track of your business and provide information to key stakeholders and/or sales team members.
Tracking the most appropriate key performance indicators (KPIs) is critical. Whether you use a targeted software application, or simply keep a running report in Excel, with your goals, projections and performance in view, you can make every decision an informed decision. Determining which KPIs you should measure can be tricky. This short article can give you a start.
Improve your sales tracking by: reading up on KPIs, learning more about Excel, and keeping numbers updated
The bottom line
Streamlining your sales requires you to look at the big picture, zero in on the problems, and then put solutions in place. There are many obstacles that get in the way of good sales that can easily be removed after evaluation. Don’t let something small get in the way of big numbers. Get on the road to increased sales today.
For actionable tips, check out our webinar, Simplifying Your Sales Process to Close More Deals.
About Chris Young, Director of Client Growth Management
Chris teaches business owners around the nation how to drive strategy to increase sales opportunities and growth through Sales Enablement, Strategy Implementation and Team Management.