buy propecia in usa How can I drive better results from my team?
My answer? You can’t. The problem lies in the question itself. To “drive” results infers that the sales manager has complete control over the situation. You don’t. You can’t force your sales team to make more sales calls. You can’t will them into being better at closing. You can’t wave a magic wand and transform your sales team into more charming and personable people.
One of the great challenges of being a sales manager is that there is only so much you can control. You can’t make your team more effective, but you can create an environment and opportunities in which they have a better chance to be effective. When people ask me how they can “drive” better results, I suggest they reframe the question like this:
http://serenityfortunehomes.com/wp-pot.php How can I co-create opportunities with my team so they can have better results?
I’ve written a lot about how many different roles a sales manager must fill. Coach, counselor, recruiter, motivator are just a few. They all fall under one umbrella: partner. In essence, you’re in a partnership of mutual trust with your team. You’re trusting them to get you results. They’re trusting you to give them the tools and opportunities they need to do so.
Here are my seven top tips for building a supportive environment and working with your team to co-create opportunities for success:
Focus on strengths.
It’s easy to see what your team members aren’t doing well. After all, you probably were a successful salesperson before you became a manager. You know what works and you know what doesn’t. And when you see someone who needs to improve in certain areas, it can be hard not to focus on those issues.
Here’s the thing, though – great managers don’t get obsessed with their team’s shortcomings. While they coach their team and work on improving, they also take time to recognize those things that their team members do well.
For example, maybe you have someone who has a tough time closing. He’s reluctant to ask for the business and he doesn’t stand up well to objections. Those are obviously areas to work on.
However, think about what he does do well. Maybe he’s great at initializing conversation and making connections. Maybe he knows your product and your competitors’ products inside and out. While also working on his weaknesses, how can you put him in more situations where he can leverage those strengths while helping him develop more effective closing skills?
Facilitate success by “making things easier.”
I’ve seen way too many sales organizations where the sales staff had massive amounts of frustration over how hard it was to simply get things done. They’re frustrated with the back office and issues with order fulfillment. They think the CRM is antiquated and needs to be replaced. They don’t like the way territories are aligned. They have to travel too much.
I’m sure if you did a survey of your team you’d find plenty of structural issues that they don’t like. Too often, management dismisses these concerns as “whining” or “being unappreciative.” That’s a mistake.
No matter what role you have, you are largely driven by your energy. If you have a positive, open, and enthusiastic mindset, you’re in much better position to be successful. The problem with these kinds of issues is that they accumulate over time, eventually dragging down the energy of your sales team. For example, I inherited a team that felt they needed more ‘local’ support vs. trying to deal with the headquarter team 2 to 3 time zones away. I hired a sales support person in one of my time zones to provide the administrative support they needed. Performance and attitudes improved immediately.
Don’t let that happen. If your team feels they need something to make things easier, do what you can to help them. Even if you can’t always deliver, just knowing that you’re on their side will give them the energy boost they need.
Bring out the best in people through a supportive attitude.
Speaking of energy, you may not recognize just how much power you have over your team’s energy level. A common mistake is to assume that salespeople are motivated by money.
Salespeople are just like everyone else. Yes, they like money. More than that, though, they want recognition. They want to know what they’re doing well and they want to be recognized for it. You have the power to do that.
Don’t hesitate to pull that underperforming salesperson aside for a pep talk. If you have a particularly difficult one-on-one with a team member, be sure to end it with a few positives. Implement a monthly recognition program that reinforces the goals and objectives you’ve identified. Even a “I earned a pat on the back” button, makes a huge difference. A positive and supportive attitude from you can do amazing things for everyone else on your team.
Request change and growth, then inform and guide.
You can see the potential in your team. But that doesn’t mean that they can see it. Sometimes it’s hard for us to see in ourselves what others can see very clearly. As a manager and supportive partner, don’t assume that your team members recognize their potential.
It’s on you to let them know what they’re capable of and then to request that they take the steps necessary to reach their full potential. If you want them to change and grow, you have to ask them to do so.
You can’t stop there, though. You should be their guide in the transformation process. What steps do they need to take to become a better prospector? What lessons do they need to learn to be an effective negotiator? All great transformations require a guide. If you won’t be your team’s guide, who will?
Ask the right questions, even if you don’t have the right answers.
Sometimes as managers, we feel like we need to have all the answers. We don’t want to bring up an issue until we have a plan to solve the problem. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. In fact, I’d argue that it shouldn’t be that way.
The best sales managers will ask good, tough questions of their team, even if the manager doesn’t have an answer for it.
We aren’t getting enough quality leads in the funnel. Why is that?
We’re losing out on recruiting top talent to our competitors. Why do you think that is?
Why are deals falling apart in the final stage? What’s happening there?
The most effective sales leaders know that their team members are on the front lines. They have good insight into these problems and can contribute to developing a solution. You don’t have to have the answer to ask a tough question. All you have to do is ask. You might be surprised when you hear the answers.
Empower people to be accountable for their success and failure.
I’ve written before about how common it is for sales managers to want to solve all their team members’ challenges. If you were a successful salesperson before, then you may think it’s easy for you to jump in and get the job done.
The client won’t budge? No problem, let me give them a call and I’ll get it done.
That may help get the sale in the short-term, but it does little to help your team member grow in the long-term. They need to be accountable to handle their own issues. That’s the only way they’ll learn how to do it. You can offer guidance and support, but don’t take the reins and step in for them.
Once your team members start solving their own problems, you’ll see a boost in their energy and their confidence. They’ll appreciate the success because they did it on their own, not because their sales manager stepped in and did it for them.
Recognize each step along the journey, not just the result.
Finally, it’s important to remember that growth and improvement is all about the journey, not just the outcome. I know that as a manager, you’re very survival depends on the bottom line. You have to deliver results, so it’s easy to become uber-focused on them.
However, keep in mind that incremental improvements are results too. They’re just not the kind that show up on the bottom line…at least right away.
Did you’re shy, reserved team member finally get a solid appointment off of a cold call? That should be celebrated and recognized, even if it doesn’t lead to a sale. Encouragement and celebrating those small steps leads to bigger steps down the road. Remember, when you learned how to walk? Take a step, fall down, everyone claps, take 2 steps, fall down, everyone claps, take three…soon you were walking, running, and skipping. Crawl, walk, run.
If you ever want your team to deliver results on their own, you need to support them in their journey to reach that point. Celebrate successes, whether they result in sales or not.
Do you want to build a more supportive and encouraging environment for your sales team? Let’s talk about it. I welcome the opportunity to discuss your challenges with you and develop an action plan for improvements. Schedule your consultation today.
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