As any successful business knows, at the root of its success is the ability to sell one’s products and/or services to the public.
Given that fact, some businesses find themselves stuck in neutral or even reverse when it comes to their sales teams.
Without a proven sales approach, many businesses find themselves coming up short on their return on investment (ROI).
In the event you find your sales team not meeting the goals you set out for them, there are different tactics to employ to turn things around.
Among them are:
- Be realistic with setting goals – While some company heads like to set the bar really high when it comes to sales numbers are they placing too much pressure on their sales manager and his or her team to deliver? While it is great to want to surpass goals, keep the goals within reason so that the team and/or individuals do not become disappointed in their results, therefore leading to lower morale;
- Define what the team views as successful – It is not uncommon for the sales manager and their sales team to differently define what they view as a successful month or quarter. While the sales manager is obviously involved in the sales process and may even be making calls on their own, their sales team is on the front line day in and day out. Listen to what their concerns are, what is working and what’s not working so management has a better feel for how to put them in the best position available to succeed;
- Highlight the highs and downplay the lows – Even though it is important that the sales manager and their sales staff learn from the mistakes and the efforts that are not working, do not browbeat the team when things go wrong. If you want to motivate the team, highlight the positives taking place in the sales efforts, along with encouraging the team to take things a stride further;
- Avoid misusing your top salesperson – Whether you want to admit it or not, all sales teams have a top seller. One common mistake among company heads when things aren’t going as well as they would like is to take the top salesperson and move them into the manager role. This is a bad move on several fronts, most notably the fact that the top salesperson is now selling less. Your top salesperson should stay just that, allowing you to bring in a new sales manager if necessary. The last thing you want your top salesperson doing is selling less and managing more;
- Trim where necessary – Although no one wants to be handing out pink slips, you cannot go on hoping things will turn around month after month if certain sales members are not holding up their end of the bargain. In most cases, a 30 to 60-day cushion should tell you if your sales manager hired the right talent or not. In the event you’re ending up with some bad sales folks, perhaps it is time for a new sales manager? Either way, don’t settle for mediocrity, especially when your ROI is suffering due to it;
- Compete as a team – Having your sales staff competing against each other instead of focusing together as a team can be very detrimental. There is a fine line here when it comes to competition. Having some bonus incentives for sales staff is fine, but it is important to remind the sales team that they are first representing the company, not themselves. Too often you will have individual instead of team goals rise to the top, thereby leading to a “me first” attitude. If an incentives plan makes individuals sell more, by all means keep it in place. Don’t, however, make it the sole focus of your selling operation.
With any sales operation, a coordinated team effort is the best approach for not only hitting but exceeding your ROI.
When running a business, make sure that your sales manager and his or her team are team first, individual second.
About the Author: Dave Thomas, who covers among other items workers compensation, writes extensively for Business.com, an online resource destination for businesses of all sizes to research, find, and compare the products and services they need to run their businesses.