One common thread I often see in regards to sales teams is that very often effective sales people are often promoted into team management, where perhaps they have less experience. You don’t necessarily have to be a good sales person to lead a sales team, so here are some tips.
Go Crazy On Training
As I’ve said before, you can never do enough training. Both during onboarding and to refresh memories, share what’s working. Training is a solid investment for any sales team and you need to lead from the front. Training needs to be short and sweet and should not feel like attending a college lecture though.
Processes and Rules
It’s important to have an established framework of how you bring in sales but this doesn’t mean you have to have a million rules. Too much structure can be a killer and I would say the temptation to micro-manage is especially prevalent in sales teams. Where you have people on the road, people doing ‘research’ it can be tempting to look over their shoulder. This is easily one of the easiest ways to upset and discomfort your team, although undoubtedly supervision is important no one wants to feel as though big brother is watching them. Don’t over-rely on metrics and deadlines to drive performance.
Let Their Talent Shine
When I talked about building a sales team, I talked about the benefit of having different characters who will appeal to different sort of prospects. It’s important where people have different skillsets that you get the most out of them. I’ve most often seen this be difficult for managers where they have been successful in a particular way and feel others should follow their path.
I talked in the past about the importance of dividing up your sales team, there may be occasions where a few people might work on the same account. It could be that you wish to cross-sell two different services that have different sales people attached to them. It could be that one sales person is more technical than the others, either way you don’t want to have too many voices in one conversation and even where a team up may be required, it’s important to have clear rules to define who should do what.
Where a simple excel spreadsheet might suffice for a few people, undoubtedly you will need a way to store and share information on possible prospects, where they are on the sales funnel etc. There are all manner of different systems out there, some more complicated than others, I would certainly recommend something like Trello which is free to use as a good way of having a to-do list for various team members. I’ve used salesforce in the past which was decent. Whatever you do don’t spend lots of money developing your own…for some reason every company I’ve worked with did this at one stage or another and it never turns out well!