Sales Management Excellence: 5 Ways to Increase Sales
All management excellence is equally difficult. Unfortunately, without it sales managers are destined to reach mediocrity.
How can you increase sales today? That is a challenge I hear frequently from sales management. If you have a competitive product, your only limitation is creative thinking.
Here is a story to illustrate a point. Einstein taught at Princeton for 22 years. Every night the janitor, who cleaned his classroom, would find the blackboard filled with complex equations. At the bottom of the blackboard was the word erase. In the upper right corner of the blackboard Einstein always wrote: 1 + 1=2. Below that was written: Save. Intellectuals have theorized that Einstein favored the creative mind, but always encouraged everyone to begin with the basics. Certainly, that is good thinking for improving sales, and management excellence, too!
Management Excellence: 3 Key Elements
First, make sure you have clear expectations and goals. 80% of performance issues relate to this. In one organization, the management and the sales team had goals. However, no one knew the company’s goals. Ensure that your goals are aligned with the company and clarified for each member of your team. Coach each sales rep about these goals and how they tie into their personal goals. Always make sure the goals are documented. Finally, clearly discuss incentives and bonus’s and their relationship to the goals. For example, one company I worked with changed all of these and six months later–confusion. My company came in, noticed the problem and communicated about and fixed the misconceptions. Sales jumped 33%! Sales managers payouts were awesome. They loved us.
Second, when was the last time you did “hardcore” sales training? I am talking about going through your sales process, objection handling, product presentations and closing techniques. The best sales training involves experiential activities: role-play, simulation, case studies and assessments. The best sales training is also conducted every month. Why? Because salespeople are like athletes that need to hone their skills to become champions. Unfortunately, few organizations do sales training like this today.
Third, make coaching your greatest strength. When do you coach? Every day with everyone. How do you coach? Formally and informally. Formal coaching involves weekly one on one sessions to review goals, plans and results. Informal coaching is about all your daily contact with reps: phone, email, text, meetings, etc. Coaching must reinforce positive behaviors and activities. Athletes train 10,000 hours in four years to participate in the Olympic Games. All of them have coaches that give them intense coaching, feedback, and training. Above all, the best in any field does this and so should you.
Management Excellence: 2 More Strategies to Win
Fourth, lead with flexibility. Everyone needs goals, plans, training, and coaching. Teach your trainees. Inspire your stars. Motivate your reliable performers. Take the time to understand each rep: family, background, strengths, weaknesses, dreams, and interests. Customize your interaction with each person. Most importantly, give direction and support as needed tuned into each person’s capabilities and hot buttons.
Fifth, management excellence requires giving helpful feedback and guidance. It is one thing to say to a rep-“sell more or I will fire you.” It is much more effective to say-“Martha let us look at your numbers and result. What do you notice? You are right, your closing percentage is high. Good job! However, the sales activity is low compared to others. Imagine if this activity was higher? Do you see anything else?… Let me add, that your sales appointments are with more non-targeted prospects. Let me show you. would not you agree you need to change that?” Give timely, specific, and helpful feedback and your reps will respond more positively. All great achievers have coaches that have done this for them. Consequently, that is why feedback is called the “breakfast of champions.”
Pulling It All Together
These five strategies are the basics that power successful selling in reps. Too many in managers lack the knowledge, skill, and execution to do these well. To achieve management excellence you must be a student of the game. You will out distance your competitors and cultivate a sales team that reaches exceptional sales goals.
Also, do you want more ideas on how to inspire your team? Check this out this eBook-How to Motivate-NO-Inspire People.
In addition, do you want to learn how to be a more effective leader, especially in challenging times? If so, I suggest you check out eBook: The Superstar Leadership Model
Finally, go here for our RealTime Learning & Training leadership and personal development website. Micro-learning and career advancement at your fingertips!