Written by Sean McPheat |
How come so many sales managers who are highly intelligent and experienced are still unable to motivate their teams to achieve great results?
What happens to great salespeople so that when they become sales managers they fall by the wayside?
What makes a good sales manager comes down to what they do on a daily basis that builds a great team and supports successful individuals.
Here are just a few of the things great sales managers do daily to achieve great results.
Learn from every experience
They learn from every experience, so mistakes don’t continually keep happening.
A great sales manager will daily reflect on what went wrong with a certain issue and see what they could do to make it better.
They learn from the errors or mistakes, so the symptom or cause aren’t repeated.
They practice Kaizen in all their dealings
The Japanese word Kaizen has many interpretations and I like the one that hints at creating a culture where employees throughout the organisation are actively engaged with improving productivity.
This means that everyone is encouraged to look at continuous improvement.
If you as the sales manager practice small improvements in everyday actions, you build a reputation for yourself where the ‘that’ll do’ attitude is left behind
They have some form of contact with their sales team
Great sales managers recognise their teams need support, coaching and facilitation often.
If your team members are seen every day, it’s quite straightforward to ask how you can help them that day.
If your team are remote-based or out on the road, a catch-up on the phone, through a WhatsApp group or even Messenger can often nip a potential issue in the bud or help build motivation.
It doesn’t have to be long; a two-minute chat to check-in doesn’t take too much effort but can mean the world to someone who must get themselves driven to achieve results.
They check numbers and are always on top of data
Being aware of what the numbers are showing you daily puts you in charge of the plane’s autopilot, as it were.
You get to see trends quickly and can identify if someone needs help in any way.
One day’s poor results don’t mean a bad month, but by keeping on top of information, you build awareness of what’s going on and can support someone before it becomes an issue.
Improve your own skillsets by learning new ideas
Remember you are responsible for the sales team performing at a high level, so you must keep up to date with new ideas, techniques, and sales tips regularly. Look to attend some formal Sales Management Training whether it be face to face or online sales training.
Buy some time out of your busy day to research information, keep abreast of new initiatives and share them with team members
They inspire their team to achieve goals
Yes, this should happen daily.
It’s not enough to let your people do their stuff for a long time without getting quality feedback from you as to how they’re doing and what they could do better.
Short, sharp, quick inspirational feedback and pep-talks can work wonders to build morale.
Even if it’s a simple ‘well done on that email from ABC’, look for opportunities to pass on good words of encouragement every day to individuals.
By working on these short, daily techniques, you help team members look forward to what’s to come and support them in achieving results, especially when there are tough times being faced by all.
As a sales manager there are many responsibilities that you hold in terms of results as well as performance.
You’re paid for the results you achieve; the more you achieve, the more successes you can measure.
All managers realise they must employ people to do the job for them.
If you rely solely on your own skills, your people won’t learn very quickly and won’t advance in their development.
So, a lot of your time is devoted to improving your team’s performance so here are some further sales team motivation ideas.
And there are occasions when that performance could be better, times when you know your people could tap into greater potential.
How do you start to improve performance?
What should you concentrate on to ensure you give them the best possible opportunities to improve?
I’ve developed an acronym that will help you determine which areas you should consider when assessing performance.
Think of the word ‘perform’ and you’ll be reminded of what you can focus on.
PERFORM stands for:
What are the measurable objectives your people should be aiming for?
Are their roles and responsibilities, objectives and targets clearly stated, specifically detailed, measurable, challenging and personally motivating to the individual?
Will they know how to measure results themselves?
Are they competent enough to achieve them?
Is the environment you are creating conducive for them to give of their best?
Are the resources they utilise aiding them to produce the best results?
Do they have reasons to use the working conditions or lack of resources as excuses for poorer performance than you would expect?
Are they totally clear on what they are responsible for?
Are there some areas where they fall short because they don’t take those responsibilities seriously enough?
Do they understand the implications of not performing to the standard, or are those standards too lax to be monitored?
Do your guidelines, ideals and standards provide fairness for each sales team member?
Do any of them have reason to believe they are not being treated as fairly as they might be?
Do you have ‘favourites’ within the team?
Are your performance standards seen as reasonable but stretching, achievable but challenging?
Are many of the shortfalls in performance related to poor organisational skills?
Do your team members have the organisational abilities to achieve successful results?
How do you monitor and improve the skills of those who lack some of the fundamental and basic skills needed to support successful performance?
Does the reward system allow people to put their heart and soul into what they do?
Does it encourage them to develop their skills?
What gets rewarded gets done, so are you rewarding what you want people to achieve?
Do your people focus on results or is activity and given more attention?
How does the recognition scheme you operate help them achieve successful results for you and the company?
What motivates everyone?
Have you challenged each person to stretch themselves and develop their skills, so they take on the responsibility to advance and develop their career?
Do people have clarity on what they need to do to motivate themselves? Do you know the style of communication skills that will get the best out of them?
Have you provided the conditions and benefits structure so you reward the results that will help you achieve your goals?
When you give your team members the opportunities to perform using the ideas discussed here, you open the chance for them to take advantage of the foundation you have provided, and the talented, quality people you lead will repay you by tapping into the potential each one of them possesses, and you’ll quickly see results that you can be pleased with and proud of.
With all the advice and ideas available about how to manage and lead in difficult times, it can be hard for a sales manager to know when to remain resilient and when to adapt to changes in circumstances.
If you’ve carried out a personality profile in the past, you’ll know that some characteristics are good to maintain, whereas other behaviour traits often need adapting for different people.
Here’s our take on what should remain solid and what should be flexible in sales management terms:
Be solid on standards, flexible on rules
If your team see you wavering on standards, you risk losing respect. If you adhere too tightly to rules, you risk becoming too autocratic
Be solid on character, flexible on behaviour
Great managers know what characteristics are looked on as positive, and these need to be developed and enhanced. With that solidity behind you, you are more likely to be adaptable to others’ behavioural traits.
Be solid on expectations, flexible on method
Create clarity with the team on what you expect from them and let them become creative on how they can meet and exceed those expectations.
Be solid on rewards, flexible on means
Everyone needs to feel they are worthy, so the recognition needs to be clear and upfront. How you do this for everyone can be personalised to their motivational direction
Be solid on the destination, flexible on the journey
In turbulent times, people need a foundation on which to build their futures. If you can give them security on where the business plans to go in the future, then the journey can be adapted to the prevailing circumstances.
Learn when your team need you to be solid and when they want you to be flexible. It will give you the respect and encouragement to manage effectively. If you’d like more sales management best practices then please download a free copy of the Sales Manager’s Guidebook. It covers sales planning, sales development and performance management – 3 critical areas of what make a sales manager is responsible for.
Originally published: 2 November, 2021
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