Nobody said that being a good sales manager (or a good sales director) would be easy. It’s not. Many new managers simply don’t know what to do and how to deal with managing people when they start their new positions. You have to hold your workers accountable and that cannot be achieved without effectively communicating what your expectations are. It’s all about finding the right balance each and every day. For example, you want to give your reps space so they can focus, but if you give them too much space, they may really they can get away with not being very productive.
Here are factors you can keep in mind so that you become the best sales manager that you can can be.
Change is the only constant when it comes to managing a sales team. The industry is constantly changing, and, rather than fighting the change, it’s better to just embrace it and also teach your employees to embrace it. Business is never a clear path to getting more and more revenue. It can, at times, seem like a complete mess—financially, technologically, economically, etc. Great sales managers don’t panic and remain calm at all times so they can face challenges with a clear mind and lead with logic and reason rather than raw emotion. This is why your work ethic must always be strong. You never know when changes are going to occur. They could happen at any moment. Teach your sales team to never fear change; instead, they should embrace it and expect to regularly occur. The best sales managers turn change into opportunity.
Salespeople are prone to paying more attention to what a manager does instead of what he or she says. Trust is what keeps any relationship in tact. If your word is your bond, which it should be, your team has to trust the words that you say. This won’t happen overnight. You have to be consistent in your approach to managing by exemplifying what you say.
This being consistent and not being easily persuaded. For example, if you always change your opinion and strategies based on the last conversation you had with any of your salespeople, you will lose their trust and respect due to seeming weak-minded and easily manipulated. You’ve got to stand strong through thick and thin. You now have people counting on you, so don’t let them count you out by appearing to be spineless. For example, when you set a deadline or sales goal, stick to it no matter what. The last thing you want is for your team to view you as a joke. A good sales manager knows that establishing trust is everything when it comes to sales.
Now that you’re a sales manager, you’ve got step up and be a positive example. If you get caught lying, going behind someone’s back, or making nasty comments, then you betray your team members and it will be next to impossible to regain their trust and respect. They will immediately lose their motivation and not deliver quality work. Remember, just like you are observing your reps, they are observing you. If you do make a mistake, don’t hide it or pretend it didn’t take place. Take responsibility and move forward.
You can’t afford for your salespeople’s productivity to decline. To ensure this doesn’t happen, you should regularly provide feedback to everyone. Whether it’s positive, negative, or neutral, people like knowing that their efforts aren’t going unnoticed. If you never give feedback, you’re going have employees that never give good effort. They’ll say to themselves, “Why do I even bother doing hard work? He/She never even seems to notice.” There have to be consequences when things go poorly and sometimes a little praise when the mission is accomplished.
Don’t wait until quarter or annual reviews to speak to your team members one-on-one. They will appreciate you doing it regularly. You also can’t put off actively correct problems. When you notice someone doing something incorrect, talk to the person immediately and offer solutions for how he or she can correct the problem right away. Feedback isn’t all about making your reps feel good that they’ve been spoken to, it’s also about preventing mistakes from taking place in the future. Find the perfect balance in your feedback between constructive criticism and praise. Just don’t go overboard with your praise or your sales team might get too complacent and think that they don’t need to work as hard to make you feel satisfied.
You want your salespeople happy and motivated to give you their best. A great way to ensure this is to implement some healthy competition into the sales room. For example, you could hold a competition where the first person to fifteen sales gets a free Starbucks gift card. Tangible goals like this will keep enthusiasm in the room throughout the day and prevent your sales team from losing their motivation. Never underestimate what a little competitive spirit can do for your team. Finding creative ways to incentivize your sales team to perform will do so much more than screaming at them to get more sales. If you notice that some of your reps seem to be drained of enthusiasm, don’t stay silent. Talk to them about what it is that’s causing them to feel burned out and offer some solutions that they can implement. Honest conversations go a long way to getting your reps to stay enthused and motivated.
You’ve got to take a hands-on approach and keep interacting with your team every step of the way. You can hide in your office doing administrative work with your door closed, but the longer you do that, the more likely it is that your sales team will get jaded and distracted from delivering you quality results. Remember, your team will be a lot more likely to take initiative when you are consistently taking initiative. That’s why you need to be as actively involved with them as you possibly can be. You will build loyalty amongst your team by being so accessible. Even if, at the end of the day, all you really care about is sales numbers, you’ve got to consistently show your team that you care about everything they’re doing; otherwise, their will never improve.
You can get your sales team to develop themselves to get more sales by teaching them that every day is a learning experience about the prospects and customers. They will get more sales once they learn crucial techniques such as how to determine prospects’ buying motives while on calls. Help them develop techniques such as this by thinking of yourself as not only their manager, but their teacher or educator. Think of all the things you’ve learned in your career that helped you make more sales. Next, periodically apply what you’ve learned to your team members so they can develop the skills and techniques that they need to thrive. Some will be more skilled than others, but don’t get frustrated when someone is raw. That usually means they have raw talent that you can cultivate into success. You must create a focused plan of learning objectives and always stick to that plan. Don’t be afraid to consider hiring a sales consultant or coach if you feel your team is very underdeveloped and your strategies don’t seem to be working. An outside consultant can quickly get your team up to speed in just a day or two.
Congratulations if you’ve implemented new techniques and strategies into the salesroom; however, that’s not good enough. Improvement doesn’t just happen and stay stagnant. It’s a never-ending process. You have to remain aware of this and never grow complacent or lazy. Otherwise, the improvement you made two weeks ago will fall apart and you’ll have to start from scratch. Seek to constantly make improvements—every single day. Otherwise, your team will start to lose momentum. If you’re constantly striving for improvements, you’re much less likely to hit a critical point where you have to spend a sleepless night desperately looking for innovation. Instead, your innovations, should be a slow and steady stream of constant improvement. Never mistake innovation for improvement.
Five Ways a Good Sales Manger Ensures Constant Improvement:
-First, measure activities constantly. Whether it’s closing ratios or forecasting the sales, stay up-to-date on metrics so you understand what areas need to be improved.
-Third, take time to look in the mirror regularly and analyze yourself. Ask yourself what you can do to not only improve your team, but improve yourself to be a better manager of your team.
-Fourth, you must make sure your employees stay motivated or improvement is never going to take place. Evaluate how you can best motivate every single personality on your sales team.
-Fifth, seek improvement each and every day and teach your reps to do the same.
Sure, no one said it’d be easy to become a great sales manager. But your role will be a little easier now that you are equipped with the above techniques to implement into your role every day. Good luck. And if all else fails, keep in mind that hiring a consultant will provide additional benefits to you and your sales team. Be the best sales manager that you possibly can. Don’t ever strive to be a good sales manager, strive to be a great sales manager.