Managing a sales team is both rewarding and challenging. Not only do you need to manage the sales performance process, but you also must lead, inspire, and motivate your people as well.
Some sales managers are great at the process side of things. Others are better at getting the best from their people.
Not all sales leaders have the time to attend Sales Management Training so let’s take a look at some quick sales team leadership tips that you can implement to help improve the performance of your sales team and at the same time improve your skills and competencies as a sales leader.
If you want to level up as a leader and help your team reach its Sales Targets, start by focusing on yourself. Invest time and resources into developing qualities that the best leaders tend to have. Here are some specific personal development tips that can benefit sales team leaders:
1. Practice Active Listening
Practicing Active Listening won’t just make you a better salesperson. It also makes you a better leader.
Active listening is all about consciously striving to both hear and understand what someone is saying.
You don’t just take in their words. You also interpret the meaning behind those words.
When you become a better active listener, it’ll be easier for you to understand where your team members are coming from and why they’re making specific decisions. This will also allow you to offer better guidance and help them achieve their goals.
2. Learn to Prioritise
As a sales team leader, you have a lot on your plate. If you struggle with time management, you need to get better at prioritising.
Every day, when you make your to-do list, evaluate each item, and rank it based on its importance.
Consider, too, which tasks need to be completed by you, specifically. Use your time primarily for tasks that only you, as a leader, can handle.
3. Get Comfortable Delegating
Another important aspect of managing your time and being a good leader is delegating.
Good leaders trust their team members to help them accomplish tasks. They don’t feel the need to take everything on themselves.
When you prioritise, your to-do list each day, identify the tasks you must complete and the ones that someone else can handle for you. Then, delegate those tasks to streamline your schedule.
4. Improve Organisation Skills
It’s much easier to lead your team and meet your sales goals when you’re organised.
You should be able to quickly find training documents, reports from the last month or quarter, resumes for new applicants, and other important documents.
If this isn’t the case for you, set aside some time to organise your office and give everything a dedicated place.
Consider using a tool like a project management software to help with organisation, assigning tasks, and keeping track of deadlines, too.
5. Invest in Coaching or Leadership Training
You don’t need to know everything to be a good sales team leader. However, you do need to be open to learning and improving your approach.
Investing in coaching and leadership training programs is a great way to learn new skills and strategies.
You can then take this information back to your team members and use it to help them improve. Here’s a useful Guide to Sales Coaching.
To be a great sales leader, you need to have the right team working for you. This means you need to sharpen your hiring skills. The following tips will help you with the process of Hiring a Sales Team and choosing the best people for the job:
1. Consider Communication
One of the most important characteristics of a good salesperson is the ability to communicate with others. When you’re interviewing candidates, pay special attention to the way they communicate.
Do they speak clearly and confidently? Is it easy to understand what they’re saying and why they’re saying it?
Consider both written and verbal communication skills, too. New salespeople will likely be sending a lot of emails, texts, and other messages to potential clients, so they should be able to communicate in multiple ways.
2. Ask About Experience
Most sales experts will tell you that a person doesn’t need years and years of education to be a great salesperson. What matters more, in most cases, is experience.
When evaluating candidates, be sure to ask about their past sales experience.
You can also ask about experience that’s relevant to sales.
For example, if someone had a job that required them to talk on the phone a lot, they likely have good communication skills, which can translate to good sales skills.
3. Conduct Sales Skills Tests
During interviews, it’s also helpful to conduct Sales Skills Tests. This will test their competency and motivational levels.
You can also present a hypothetical situation like one they might face if they join your team — such as trying to sell a particular product to a hesitant client — and ask them how they would handle it.
4. Look for Good Culture Fits
A candidate might have a lot of experience and great sales skills, but that doesn’t automatically mean they’re a great fit for your team.
In addition to skills and experience, you also need to evaluate candidates based on how well they’ll fit into your team and company culture.
How can you tell if someone is a good culture fit? Consider answers to questions like these:
Do their values align with the company values?
Are they committed to ongoing growth and professional development?
Do they seem like they’ll get along with other members of the sales team?
5. Base Decisions on Coachability
A candidate might not have all the answers or a lot of experience. However, that doesn’t automatically mean they can’t be a good asset to your team.
Sometimes, it’s more important that someone is coachable and willing to learn.
Consider each candidate’s enthusiasm and how eager they are to improve their sales skills. They might end up sticking around longer and producing better results after learning from you.
Even if you build a team of the most impressive candidates, you still need to train them. We’re not just talking about Sales Training Courses here. The right training process makes it easier for team members to hit the ground running, maximise their productivity, and — of course — make more sales.
These 5 tips will help you level up your training process and give your team members the tools they need to succeed:
1. Improve the Onboarding Process
Great training starts with great onboarding.
The onboarding process provides new hires — including new salespeople — with essential information about the company. This includes the following:
Company and department policies and guidelines
Instructions for logging into the computer system and creating accounts for specific software programs
Explanations of the company values and mission
The onboarding process should also include sales-related information. This might include information about the products or services you sell, as well as information about your target customers.
2. Use Gamification to Boost Motivation
Salespeople are often quite competitive.
Don’t try to squash their competitive nature. Instead, tap into it and use it to keep them motivated.
Use gamification in your training process to increase engagement and encourage team members to push themselves to the next level.
You could do this by offering prizes for completing training modules or offering points for each sale (and then rewards based on the number of points earned).
3. Schedule More 1:1s
Even though you oversee leading a sales team, you’re also in charge of training and leading individual salespeople.
Make sure you’re meeting with your team members one-on-one to discuss their goals, talk about their progress, and address areas in which they need to improve.
If you’re only holding team meetings and never sitting down for one-on-ones, you’re missing out on opportunities to provide personalised coaching and help each member reach their full potential.
4. Provide Constructive Feedback
Whether you’re giving feedback to a group or an individual team member, keep it constructive.
Tell people what they need to improve, but make sure they feel supported as well. For example, you could brainstorm with them to come up with potential solutions to a problem or outline a plan to help them develop a particular skill.
Constructive feedback keeps your team members motivated and encourages them to keep improving over time.
5. Recognise Accomplishments
Make sure you also recognise your team’s and individual members’ accomplishments, too.
If your training strategy only involves pointing out what people are doing wrong or could be doing better, you’ll have a hard time keeping your team motivated.
This could lead to more serious consequences over time, too. For example, team members might eventually stop trying to go the extra mile because they never get recognised when they do.
A good leader motivates their team. One of the best ways to motivate your fellow salespeople is to consistently set new goals and encourage them to stretch beyond their perceived limits.
Listed below are 5 tips that will help you improve the goal-setting process and ensure your team achieves — or even exceeds — their goals:
1. Get the Whole Team Involved
Even though you’re the sales manager, you shouldn’t be the only one setting sales goals.
Instead of simply telling your team what you want them to accomplish in the next month, quarter, or year, get them involved in goal-setting meetings.
Talk to them about what the team accomplished in the previous month or quarter. Then, encourage them to suggest specific goals based on the areas in which they want to improve.
In addition to setting goals for the whole team, encourage each team member to set their own personal sales goals as well. These further increases motivation and keeps everyone focused on continuous growth.
2. Align Sales and Marketing Goals
When sales and marketing teams align their goals, the whole company benefits.
Work with the marketing team leader to set goals that benefit both teams. Talk about how your goals relate, too, so you can all support each other and help the company generate more revenue, successfully launch a new product, etc.
3. Set SMART Goals
Team and individual goals should both follow the SMART framework:
These kinds of goals are more likely to yield results than vague or unrealistic goals with no clear deadline.
Explain this framework to your team and ask them to evaluate their goals with it in mind. If they can’t check each box, they need to go back to the drawing board and refine their goal.
4. Identify KPIs
Key performance indicators, or KPIs, also play an essential role in helping you set clear goals.
KPIs quantify team performance and define what metrics you’re using to assess team performance. The following are some examples of sales related KPIs:
When you take the time to identify specific KPIs, it’s easier for you as a leader to refine your sales strategy and figure out what factors you’re going to focus on the most moving forward.
5. Monitor Individual and Team Progress
Be sure to check in regularly with your sales team and individual salespeople to see how they’re progressing toward their goals.
Whether you meet weekly, every two weeks, or every month, it’s important to set and stick to a check-in schedule.
This ensures that team members aren’t procrastinating and are consistently working toward their goals.
It also helps you identify specific ways that you can improve your leadership style, provide more support to your team members, and set them up for success.
Workplace Culture Tips
As a sales leader, you have to do more than create a Sales Plan and come up with new Sales Team Motivation Ideas. You’re also responsible for creating a positive workplace culture for everyone on your team.
Workplace culture has a huge impact on people’s performance and productivity, as well as the likelihood that they will stick with a company long-term.
To ensure you’re providing team members with the right kind of work environment, follow these tips:
1. Stop the Blame Game
Frequent blame is not conducive to a positive workplace culture, nor is it conducive to achieving your sales goals.
Don’t blame your team members if you fall short of a particular sales goal. Furthermore, make sure they’re not blaming each other for falling short or making mistakes.
Encourage each team member to be accountable for their own actions, own up to their shortcomings, and focus on how they can improve in the future. Make sure you’re doing the same as well.
2. Avoid Micromanaging
As a sales team leader, you should be checking in on your team members regularly and asking how you can help. However, you need to strike a balance between being an attentive leader and micromanaging.
If you’re constantly looking over people’s shoulders, they might end up feeling on-edge and afraid of making mistakes. This, in turn, can hinder team morale and make it harder for team members to achieve their goals.
3. Present Solutions, Not Just Problems
Part of creating a positive workplace culture is focusing on solutions, not just problems.
In other words, if you need to inform someone about a mistake or tell them about something they need to improve, make sure you’re presenting a solution.
Don’t just point out someone’s flaws and leave them guessing as to how to fix them.
4. Encourage Transparency
A positive team and workplace culture also include transparency.
Team members should feel comfortable being honest and open, whether they’re responding to Icebreakers for Sales Meetings or sitting down with you for a one-on-one meeting.
If you want your team members to be transparent with you, make sure you’re transparent with them. Honesty works both ways.
5. Seek and Act on Feedback
Another way to encourage transparency and foster a better team culture for your salespeople is to regularly seek and act on feedback.
Ask your team regularly what you can do to improve or better support them in their roles. Then, whenever possible, act on their suggestions.
If team members see that you take their suggestions seriously, they’ll know that you care and want them to succeed. They’ll also be more engaged and motivated.