Engage Your Sales Team
With turnover costing more than you’d ever want to calculate, it’s no secret that keeping top salespeople happy is good for business. Consider the following strategies when leading your sales team.
Strategy #1: Top salespeople need a good push. Achievers love new challenges. They want to stay with an organization, but in order to do this; they need to be stretched in some way. This could come from a new role, exploring new terrain or being challenged by additional responsibilities. They need to be pushed to reach just beyond their current capabilities. If you can help them become better, give them fresh problems to solve, more responsibility, or additional roads to explore; your chances of extending their tenure with your firm will increase. They will remain with an organization where they can stay engaged and immersed in activities just beyond their current capabilities. (For more insight, check out The Talent Code, Greatness isn’t Born It’s Grown by Daniel Coyle.)
Strategy #2: Understand the drivers that motivate your salespeople. Current research concludes that Gen X and Gen Y are more likely to need praise than prior generations. Executive leadership must create opportunities for them to develop new skills and take the time to understand what is driving their career objectives. Here are the most common motivators for sales professionals: compensation, public recognition, incentives, purpose, autonomy to make decisions and leadership/skill development.
Strategy #3: Empower top sales performers. If you include your top sales reps in the decision making process, seek their input on new initiatives, and employ their good ideas, they are more likely to feel integral to the team. When your reps believe that they have helped shape company policy, actively directed change or facilitated even minor improvements, they feel significant.
Strategy #4: The strength of consistent communication. One of the top complaints of many sales reps is their lack of accessibility to their sales manager. Unreturned phone calls and emails don’t go unnoticed. Your rep might not confront you directly, but they notice the behavior. If you aren’t engaged, chances are they can easily become detached from your mission. Pulling priorities sometimes leave reps at the bottom of the call-back list, don’t make this mistake too frequently or you might wind up calling back too late, only to find they have decided to move to another organization.
Strategy #5: Set a higher standard for the group. Be willing to exemplify the behavior you want your sales team to embrace. Creating and maintaining a sales force that holds everyone accountable for bringing in new business and carrying their share of the group quota is a great way to build a winning team. Hiring and developing a peer group of high achievers is one of the fastest ways to raise the level of the entire sales force, and will yield meaningful progress towards your revenue goals. Surrounding your great reps with other ambitious sales pros eager to bring in new business, sends a clear message to everyone: “Get after it, hurry..hurry.”
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