Image by: Kaz
By Dexter Lunde
When you’re starting from scratch, it can be hard to figure out who you want on your team with you. Choosing your business partner (if you want one) seems like the hardest decision but it generally doesn’t get any easier after that. Every member of your team is important and must add something special to your work family. Everyone from your business partner to the janitors that you hire.
This includes your sales team.
#1) Is It the People or Is It the Strategy?
There are a few main ways to increase your sales:
- Find more customers/clients/consumers in your market
- Place larger sales (get more products
- Increasing the number of sales that each salesperson closes
Work these three concepts (all three) into your sales meetings. How can you achieve these things? How can you use positive reinforcement in order to achieve these goals?
Focus on how to get your current sales team to find target clients and customers instead of wasting their efforts on trying to get everyone to buy your products. Which products should you have more available than others?
#2) Strengths and Weaknesses
The great thing about having a diverse team is that each has a strength and a weakness. Instead of focusing on trying to improve upon each salesperson’s weakness, why not focus on their strengths.
Use various forms of assessments (performance, data-driven, on-site, questionnaires, comment cards, etc.) to assess each of your salespeople’s assets. Which assets help that particular person’s ability to share something special with the team?
#3) Perfect the Process
Come up with a process in which you can hire the workers that you need, not just more of what you currently have. This should start in the very beginning by looking through sales books that are in your particular field. In addition to that, take a look at your candidates and ask yourself these questions:
Will I be able to coach this person when he needs it?
Can this person improvise and how does he face challenges?
Has this person taken the initiative to lead when needed?
Does this person have knowledge of the product?
The answers to these questions are important because it shows that the candidate is able to be a team leader, has the ability to sell your product, and that this person is capable of adapting to the changes in your sales methods.
#4) Always Train Them – All the Time
When you’re a parent or an educator, you find that every moment with children is a teachable moment. You can teach them about math, science, reading, and other academics in a school setting but you can also teach them aspects about life (and applied academics) while going about your everyday tasks.
This goes the same for your fantastic sales team. Remember that just telling them how to do things every once in a while doesn’t count as training. You need to be helping them become the best sales team as you can. If you aren’t, you shouldn’t be surprised if your sales numbers plateau or even drop.
Training sessions should talk about critical selling points and concepts, organization, being a part of a team, communication, product information, etc. There are so many topics, that I couldn’t possibly list them all here.
#5) Hold Them Accountable for Their Actions
If you’ve got a team member who’s lagging behind everyone else, there may be a problem with his management and not the actual strategy. Look at your communication with him (and others). Do you have a daily plan (which incorporates more than just sales numbers)? Does he know what is expected of him when he comes to work? Are you actively trying to help him succeed? Does it appear that he is giving it his all?
If you have answered yes, but his numbers are still lagging, it may be time to change up your line-up. That being said, you have to give him warning and the tools that are needed to help him be at his best before you send him packing. Give him a chance (or a couple) and know when to cut your losses if it doesn’t work out.
#6) Commission = Bad
I’ve talked with salespeople who have worked on commission, those who haven’t, business owners who do it, and those who don’t. The general consensus and conclusion (based on the number of sales per employee and their overall happiness with the company) is that working on commission is bad.
You want to be able to give your sales team (well, your whole team) piece of mind about their paychecks so they can focus on working their best at work. When you bring in competition (like working on commission), your team members will start backstabbing each other, worrying about making ends meet, and they won’t be happy there. Unhappy team members = lagging sales.
Now it’s your turn. What types of tips do you have for creating an effective and happy sales team? How do you keep your sales team happy? What questions do you ask when you hire them? Are you a part of a sales team? What questions were asked of you when you were in the interview process? Which questions made you think hard about the job? What are your favorite training opportunities? What makes training fun for you? Let us know about your experiences with this topic by writing down your thoughts and ideas in the comment section below.