The economic growth rate could be better. Many companies have negative or low growth. That means sales departments are under-performing. Or, it means the loss of customers is greater than new customers coming in. Most executives will still equate that to not enough sales.
In one company we engaged, in booming times they were selling 10% of total revenue or $400 million a year. Now they are at half that number. What does this mean to them and you? Commissions and bonuses are lower! This is a death-blow to sales reps motivation. As a sales leader you need to ramp it up and find an antidote to these depressing results. The good news there are five powerful sales leadership strategies you can use today to “fire” up your sales team. The kicker-you might have to change to succeed.
The truth is most sales deficits are self-inflicted. If you want your people to be better you have to be better. For example, a sales executive called us because his numbers were flat. After further investigation we found a few issues:
Too much management time on the computer, reports and meeting.
Little or no sales training going on.
Fewer sales reps.
Discontented and unmotivated reps.
No promotions in place.
Does any of this sound familiar? We discussed this with this sales executive and adjusted priorities. We held a sales meeting with the team to identify the problems. With all of this input we finalized a plan with our leader and his direct reports and hit the ground running. By the end to the first month, progress was made. Their final quarter of the year they went from 80% of plan to 140%. Noticed what happened here. People weren’t fired or chastised. The leadership made adjustments and improved their efforts. The sales team responded successfully. Excellent!
5 Sales Power Actions You Can Take Today
Re-plan: Analyze results and meet with your team. Do the session differently. Change the room around. Go outside to a hotel if you can spend the money. Conduct the meeting differently. Instead of dictating change, engage your team with brainstorming and discussion groups to gain their input and buy-in. Do highly participative training. Have some fun, too.
Set new goals: Do one on ones with each rep to review their performance. Make it a dialogue not a monologue. Problem-solve together about how the rep can win. Relate new expectations to their income potential and their personal goals.
Coach: The most under utilized tool to sales management is coaching. Schedule this as if it’s a meeting with the President of your company. Use coaching to build your team up not beat them up. Do this with every rep based on your goal-setting discussion. Get in the field and interact with customers, and lead by example.
Train: Begin additional training in your planning meeting. Reps hate training that is boring and adds no value. All reps, even the best, need on-going training. Look at the superstars of any sport. How do they keep their edge? They out prepare everyone else. Why should salespeople be any different? So, improve your training process. Get outside help to power-up your approach.
Promotions: One sales leader we have worked with over the last five years has this adage-always have something going on! In order words he believes in continuous promotions with incentives for his team. Why? If you do the above four strategies with consistency and passion your reps will begin to improve because you are becoming a more effective leader. Promotions will challenge your sales team to explode their numbers. You will also discover good team competition that will bring out the best in each rep. One basic rule to follow: give everyone a chance to win.
These five Sales Power actions will give you a boost if you stick with it. Your success as a leader depends on it. The danger is to get started and then fall back to old habits. Whatever you do, stay persistent. Get a coach or partner to assist you if needed so your change in mindset becomes permanent and sales go up. Finally, remember this, Anatole France said, “To accomplish great things we, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe!”