It is often said that “sales” is the backbone of any company, so effectively managing a sales team is probably the most challenging and most rewarding proposition.
Revenue is the obvious reflection of growth. So as a sales manager, what’s your short-term and long-term vision for revenue generation? How exactly are you strategizing to maximize the performance of your team?
With the commencement of the New Year, you are going to share the new sales goals with your team. This is the time to motivate your reps and let them build confidence with incremental wins. The dynamic nature of the economy is constantly changing the market factors, while buyers and clients have become more educated than ever before. This is the reason why there is more emphasis on sales performance, today.
When your team’s sales goals are aligned with your products or services that are market fit, it’s better for your revenue as well as investors. You need to create a powerful lead acquisition strategy and design a qualified sales funnel that will convert your prospects into leads and eventually customers.
Here are 5 ways to nail your sales team’s goals:
1. Create a compelling sales vision
A clear sales vision is the first and foremost requirement that will indicate which path your organization wants its sales team to tread. A powerful vision statement provides focus and direction, energizes your reps, and improves overall results with enhanced performance. However, it’s one thing to define a clear vision, while the real challenge is how you should realize that vision. As a matter of fact, sales reps are often goal-oriented. So the inclusion of the vision statement for your sales team allows them to put their best foot forward.
Your vision statement should be short, concise, unambiguous, and easy to understand. It should serve two basic purposes: to rally your team members around a common goal and define your organizational objective so that employees understand their roles. One of the strongest ways to craft a powerful vision statement is to communicate your business’s efforts to address a lingering problem for your target market. Such a statement either challenges your sales team to push themselves to the next level, or they start believing that they can achieve their goals.
However, your vision statement should be attainable in a reasonable period of time – typically within six to 18 months. This time frame is realistic because a shorter period seems to be too narrow to be easily achievable; while a longer period is too far-fetching to keep your team focused on. For example, if you are selling a subscription-based service, a simple sales vision statement would be: “Be among the top five service companies within the next 12 months”.
2. Build a strong, centralized sales culture
A positive sales culture distinguishes a great sales team from a good one. A strong, centralized culture gives your sales vision wings and helps you achieve your sales goals. Creating a culture is very important in any organization, which reflects a core philosophy that permeates through various hierarchies. On the other hand, the lack of culture or having a negative one is often characterized by low morale, a deteriorating sense of mission and missed sales targets. A centralized sales culture reflects what you stand for, what you value and what you aspire to achieve. It’s not only great for your team’s productivity and motivation, but it’s also critical to your organization’s profitability and longevity.
As a sales leader when you contribute towards creating a strong sales culture and environment, there’s no greater effort on your part for the success of your sales team. In its most simple terms, culture is the collection of beliefs, behaviours, and values that define the personality of your company. Thus a fully engaged sales team driven by the sense of a great sales culture is a very important pillar of success.
A great organizational sales culture attracts best talents, improves communication, and encourages learning and development. Find out what motivates your employees on an individual level, align their personal goals to organizational goals, and remove internal conflicts if there are any. Encourage competition by sharing performance data, but let them focus on their own sales territories. It’s also important to foster trust and good rapport among team members.
3. Teach your sales team how to be customer-centric
Customer centricity is an important parameter for any organization to succeed. You need to understand its value and educate your sales team regarding the same. Many CEOs and sales managers often ignore the importance of customer centricity even after knowing that their customers aren’t satisfied with their products or service.
There are two reasons for this lack of sensibility:
First, if a brand is already established, the management believes that one dissatisfied customer cannot potentially affect their sales. This is a dangerous proposition to believe because down the line what matters most is customer loyalty. Your loyal customers are also your brand ambassadors without having you invested a penny on marketing.
Secondly, the customer feedbacks are often not looked at seriously. Since they are neither evaluated nor properly analysed, the management is mostly unaware of the flaws in their products or services. As a result, lower sales and unsuccessful business.
Thus, as a sales manager, you need to focus more on customer experience and customer satisfaction. According to research from Deloitte, companies who use a customer-centric strategy are 60% more profitable. Being customer-centric is all about adding value to your customers’ life.
To create a working customer-centric strategy, you need to put your consumers’ needs, wants, and preferences at the centre of the buying process. All of your sales activities and communication must be aimed at helping the customers achieve short and long-term success. So you need to arm your sales team with data-driven insights on their customers and teach them to research each prospect in advance.
4. Make time management a systematic priority
Time is a resource that you can’t borrow, over-invest, or recover at a later stage. It’s one of your organization’s most valuable asset, especially when sales reps are either finding new opportunities or closing crucial deals. Thus, it’s no surprise that managing time well increases the productivity of your sales team, ensures the completion of tasks at a much faster rate, and helps in planning things out well in advance.
The fact is many sales reps have better time management skills, while others require some direction. Thus you need to collectively work on this skill and teach your reps to prioritize their time effectively. Or you can incorporate an employee time tracking system that will improve the daily sales objectives of your team.
You must have noticed sometimes when you walk into your office, a considerable number of projects clamour for your time. At the end of the day, what matters most as a sales manager for you is how many hours have your sales team devoted to selling. Many of your sales reps might not have enough time left over to focus on strategic priorities.
You need to review your own performance regularly, and it will be beneficial to develop a habit of using a planner, organizer, or desk calendar. Make sure your sales professionals are never late to meetings. It’s not in anybody’s interest to make your clients waiting. Prepare an action plan as to how a particular task can be accomplished by adopting a step by step approach. You should also encourage your sales team that they discuss ideas and devise strategies to accomplish tasks in the best possible way.
5. Incorporate a solid incentivizing approach
By serving as the face of their companies, sales teams are often at the front line. Because of this fact, sales directly impact cash flow, provides insights into the market fit, and lays the groundwork for lead generation. So without proper incentives, your unmotivated sales team will suffer poor performance. With the right incentivizing program, you can keep your business’s pipelines full.
Sales incentives are a win-win approach for everyone as salespeople are competitive. They would love to seize every opportunity to find out how they can better. Cash is an obvious motivator for any sales professional so much so that anybody can be gently nudged in the right direction with a small cash carrot. Other incentivising options are gifts, flexible timing, healthy competition, professional growth, holidays, and regular health benefits. You also need to address the concerns of your team members every now and then. Displeased and exiting team members can directly or indirectly affect your organization’s cash flow. For example, they can take clients with them while leaving.
It should be noted, however, that every sales team is different, which is why there can’t be a one-size-fits-all approach. You can communicate with your team and choose the system that best suits you and them.
Your sales team is a valuable asset for your organization. As much as you need their expertise and skills to make profits, you also need to arm them with resources and opportunities. Thus, using an organized approach to goal setting provides your team with a structured framework for success.
Smith Willas is a freelance writer, blogger, and digital media journalist. He has a management degree in Supply Chain & Operations Management and Marketing and boasts a wide-ranging background in digital media. You can follow him on Twitter.