This March marked our sixth anniversary in business. It is hard to believe and fills me with a sense of accomplishment and pride. But it also makes me think, “Wow, we still have so much to do to help middle market and small sales teams excel.” There is still lots of work to be done.
In recognition of our six years, I would like to share my favorite six tips I have learned along the way about sales management.
#6 Work through the math of success.
All salespeople need to understand what they need to do to produce enough opportunities to close the amount of business necessary to reach their goals. This requires that you as the manager know closing ratios, and what activities are the most fruitful.
#5 Don’t allow salespeople to delegate up.
Don’t always tell the salespeople what to do. Ask them what they think they should do. Help them grow and develop their own sense of confidence in their approach and strategies.
#4 Spend more time than you think you need to coaching, motivating and holding your salespeople accountable.
Be with the salespeople. It is a people business so interact with them a LOT. Do not hole away in your office looking at reports. Look at the reports then ask them what they are going to do about what the reports tell. Spend 75% – 80% of your time actually coaching, motivating and holding them accountable.
#3 Understand what actually motivates your individuals.
Salespeople need individual managing. They work and accomplish things for their OWN reasons. Find out what those are. Get intimate with them and help them reach those goals.
#2 Do not focus exclusively on the pipeline.
Too many managers focus on deals in the pipeline. When all the emphasis is on the pipeline it gets fluffy. Salespeople focus on getting items in the pipeline and so it gets bloated and the deals go nowhere. Always ask this question to keep things moving along: “What is the next AGREED TO step for this opportunity?” AGREED TO is the operative phrase. Keep them focused on moving deals or blowing them up.
And the #1 tip for effective sales management acquired over the last six years is…Hire better from the start.
Use a systematic, objective process and quit relying solely on your gut. If you want your life to be easier as a sales manager, quit hiring in the same fashion you have historically. First, cast a wide net to source candidates.Then use the Objective Management Group’s battery of sales-specific assessments to precisely determine whether the candidate will execute in your organization. Is this person willing and able to successfully sell your products and services to your marketplace? Use a systematic interviewing approach for all candidates. Finally, follow a repeatable onboarding process that gets them up to speed quickly so they can start earning.
Download a sample of the Objective Management Group sales hiring assessments we use here:
Do you have a favorite tip you would like to share? Please do; I am sure our readers would appreciate it.