Are you constantly wishing your sales team would produce more leads and close more sales? Have you wondered why there are just a few people who generate most of the sales? Perhaps very few on your sales team is producing! You need to ask yourself, just what does it take to build a great sales staff?
Building an effective sales team starts with having the right manager. To be most effective, managers have to be able to: sense opportunities, watch for new possibilities, build communication with employees, and work well with those in authority. A manager must possess planning and organizational ability and have a flair for communicating ideas and goals. Last but not least, they should be able to measure and appraise performance.
If you are thinking of promoting one of your salespeople to the post of sales manager, keep in mind that the best managers come from the middle of the ranks, not the top. This may seem backwards, as we are used to stepping up the ladder one rung at a time. But salespeople with slightly less ego drive, are better organized, more detailed, and can delegate. Take this into consideration when choosing a manager.
After choosing a great manager, you will need to focus on the rest of the team. There are definitely steps you can take to increase the productivity of your salespeople.
- Offer training. This can be in or out of office training. Training in assertiveness, time management, listening skills, closing techniques, etc. are good choices and can give your employees an edge.
- Product knowledge. Do your salespeople know their product inside and out? If not, offer training to increase product knowledge.
- Team building. Hold positive meetings to encourage communication between sales staff and management. These sessions should build the team and increase morale and productivity.
- Team selling. One innovative way to increase productivity is team selling. Develop a team selling system that allows the strengths of each salesperson to complement another. Perhaps one salesperson is better at bringing customers in and the other is better at closing customer sales.
- Could they effectively work together?
- Incentives. Make sure you have an incentive program that builds on group sales in addition to individual productivity. Instead of setting employees against each other, let them work on team goals as well as individual goals.
- Match salespeople with managers. If your company has more than one manager, this can be very effective. Some people just don’t have good chemistry. Reassign salespeople if possible to managers with whom they are more suited.
- Increase personal awareness. Help your sales staff become more aware of their strengths and weaknesses. Have objective performance reviews, using them to accent their strengths. This doesn’t mean ignoring weaknesses, but you need to focus on the strengths. You must help your salespeople learn how to use their strengths effectively.
Though none of these steps are foolproof, you will be making a good start in building a great sales staff by taking a close look at each one. By improving the productivity of your sales staff, you not only help your employees, but you strengthen your company.
Jan Kantor is a former Daily News columnist and business consultant