As an entrepreneur, you rely on your sales team to generate the capital that you need to facilitate your growth and prosperity. The best product in the world is useless, after all, without talented sales professionals to deliver your product to the masses. If the product in question is something of your own design, then you may be tempted to create that the product sells itself. After all, you did significant market research, identified a gap in the market and created something to fill it. That’s awesome and you should be proud, but that’s no reason to underestimate the importance of your sales team.
Your sales team need to be nurtured without being pampered, challenged without being deluged, and developed while still being allowed the time to do their jobs and earn their commission. It’s a fine line, but one that all entrepreneurs and sales directors much walk every day. Here are some tips to help you walk that line:
Invest in their development
Inside sales requires a level of talent, but talent will only get you so far. Don’t be afraid to invest in your sales team’s development, even if it takes them outside of the realm of inside sales. Remember that today’s sales executive could be tomorrow’s consultant or even partner. They could play a huge part in driving your future success and growth so it’s important to get in on the ground floor and invest in these extraordinary individuals. Whether it’s a weekend skills building retreat or the kind of online MBA California’s Redlands University offers, investment in your team’s development could be the difference between them aiding in your success, or your competitor’s.
Lead without micromanaging
There’s nothing more stifling to a sales professional than micromanagement. Talented salespeople tend to be independently minded people who dictate success on their own terms, learning from every conversion and every lost lead without the need for your ubiquitous, hovering presence. That said, even the best salespeople need direction. So, lead from the front by setting a positive example and sharing key instances of best practice with the whole of the team.
Create a team, not a group of individuals
Sales executives tend to think in monetary terms. They think individualistically, focusing on their targets, their bonuses and their money. This is absolutely fine, until your executive hits his or her target and takes their foot off the gas, abandoning interested leads because they no longer have the incentive to follow up on them. Chances are, they’re unlikely to share those leads with the rest of the team unless incentivized to do so. Creating accountability for each other within the team while retaining their individual targets and bonuses is a great way of getting the most out of the whole team.
Know your team’s strengths
Sure, they all have the same job, but your team will have very different strengths and personality types so it’s important to get to know them to keep them properly motivated. Some may be extremely motivated, smashing their target month on month, but have very poor teamwork skills. Some may be wonderfully affable and a real asset to the office dynamic but just barely get by when it comes to their targets. How will you marshal these disparate traits into a cohesive sales team?
While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, a combination of development, team building and coaching while granting professionals autonomy and appropriate motivation is proven to keep your sales team on point while growing your business’ growth.