What is the #1 challenge for sales managers? Achieving sales targets…Handling difficult clients…Geographical distance…Managing personality diversity…Motivating salespeople or Keeping clients happy?
Based on feedback over the past ten years, the greatest challenge for sales managers is to ensure consistent sales performance.
Sale is a difficult job by its very nature. Yet, there are salespeople who are ideally suited for another role while they are still in the sales field. Why? Julian Griffith’s research paper, “Taking the Lid Off Your Sales Organisation”, concluded that 74% are underperformers, 20% perform well, and 6% fall in the elite.
The problem lies squarely in sales management, as there is a high proportion of underperformers. The following is an excerpt from the same paper.
* Sales managers should not make up 18%
* 34% of sales managers don’t have the ability to be trained
*7% of sales managers are considered elite performers
Salespeople can be challenging to manage as a manager. They are not happy to be held responsible, especially the underperformers that cause the most headaches and take up most of the sales manager’s time.
Sales managers must hold their salespeople accountable, and they must respect their salespeople. Salespeople will work extra hard to reach and exceed their sales targets in this type of environment. They set the standard for others in their sales team. Sales management is not the only one who can push for better sales performance.
How do I begin?
Use the following tools to encourage and build trust with your salespeople:
1) The performance and measures they will be held accountable
Start by asking yourself: What is the salesperson capable or capable of achieving? Is there anything that is preventing them from reaching their goals? Your salesperson should be able to explain the reasons behind the sales targets or sales. They can also link them back with the business goals. This will enable them to better understand the logic.
Discuss financial incentives or sales awards and how you can be accountable to them. You could set a minimum number of days that you will work with them in their territory. It shows that both sides are responsible when they know you are accountable to them and you to them. This can often have a motivating impact on salespeople.
It is essential to clearly define the measures and the performance in order to avoid any ambiguities. While estimates must be realistic and feasible, there should be enough stretch to make it difficult for salespeople. You can measure daily, weekly, or monthly units.
– Daily sales calls to clients who are still with us
– Daily sales calls to potential clients
– Monthly number of on-time reports submitted
– Percentage profit margin for each product
2) Take personal responsibility
How can a sales manager expect his or her salespeople to be any different if they don’t accept responsibility for their actions and make excuses for poor performance? Your salespeople will follow you if you show leadership and create a positive environment.
These can include:
– What you say is what you do
– Don’t make excuses, but look for other methods to achieve results.
– Don’t give excuses to your salespeople
– Show your commitment to the success of your salespeople
Your salespeople should be the best.
– You are the one who sets the tone and pace for sales performance
Mentoring is a good idea for salespeople who are unwilling to take responsibility. Instead of focusing on the person, focus on their behavior and the problems they are causing. They must be held responsible for their actions, which could include low prospecting activity or not meeting sales targets.
Your salespeople will only be successful if they fully understand that their salespeople are responsible for their actions, thoughts, and behaviors. This proactive approach to accountability is called “Proactive Accountability”.
3) A results-oriented mindset
There are two types of occupations.
3.1) Task-orientated, which can lead to a lot of activity but doesn’t often provide productivity gains
3.2) A results-oriented mindset that emphasizes daily activities that align with the sales target
You can show a task-oriented salesperson how it leads to poor sales results. This is usually revealed by a low ratio of sales calls to orders. Because they will have sales skills issues, such as not qualifying potential clients, you will need to spend some time coaching them.
While it is tempting to get emotionally involved in holding salespeople accountable, you must remain focused; otherwise, you will lose control. Even though it may feel uncomfortable at first, you are the sales manager. You are ultimately responsible for selling.
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