Leaders often believe their team has everything they need to succeed. Occasionally, this is true, but when it isn’t, it can cost leaders their sales goals and their sales objectives. Here is a list of what sales leaders owe their sales force.
The first thing every sales leader owes their sales force is good leadership. This includes sales managers who work closely with the sales force, helping them succeed in sales. This variable is critical for a high-performing sales team. The more time sales managers spend with their team and working with them on an individual level, the better their results.
Every salesperson wants to work for a sales manager that invests time with them, helping them win deals and coaching them to greater success. When these things are missing, salespeople fail to reach their full potential.
When we hire experienced salespeople, we believe that they know what to do because they have been trained in the past. The truth is that the salespeople you hire have likely had no development. The most common sales training focuses entirely on the sales organization and its products and services. While it is important for salespeople to know about these things, they are not going to ensure success. If you want a world-class sales force, you must develop their skills, and business acumen so they can connect with clients on a strategic level.
Training and coaching is critical to the growth and development of a sales force. The investment here pays dividends later.
This is one of the more important things you need to provide your sales force. The variable to success in sales is less about what you sell and more about how you sell.
After development, you should provide your sales force with a methodology that is right for the current environment. One challenge sales leaders face is the belief that their salespeople should use the same methodology leaders were trained in decades ago. The business climate has changed so much that legacy sales approaches fall short. Your team needs something that is designed to meet the needs of current buyers.
To succeed, your sales force needs to know things about the purchase decision that their clients don’t. This information disparity is the most important strategy in a modern sales approach. Your team should have knowledge and experience that will enable them to be consultative, providing their advice and recommendations to educate clients on how to make the right decision for their business.
Without information disparity, it is difficult to create value for your contacts. To create a preference in decision-makers to buy from your sales force, it is critical that your salespeople have more to offer than their solution and value proposition. Buyers are looking for partners who can help them better understand the context of the changing business world.
While many salespeople still believe that their company’s value proposition is what wins deals, you need to show them how to go beyond this to create value in the sales conversation. Part of value creation comes from information disparity; the other part requires the salesperson to recognize what their contacts need to move forward with confidence.
The greater the value your team creates, the greater the likelihood of winning a deal. But the opposite is also true. If a client doesn’t gain relevant and important information from your salesperson, they are more likely to go with a competitor.
Extreme effectiveness provides a sustainable strategic advantage. High win rates act like a moat, protecting you from the competition. A lot of things happen that harm sales organizations, like recessions or new products from your competitors. In good or bad times, an effective salesperson will win more deals than an ineffective one, regardless of what they are selling.
Salespeople who believe efficiency is the key to improving performance underestimate the role of effectiveness in the sales conversation. No buyer prefers a salesperson because they are efficient. They buy because the salesperson was effective in helping them understand their problem and how best to improve their results.
You owe your team high standards, which is another way of saying that you want every member of your sales force to succeed. You expect the best of each person, and you help them recognize and pursue their full potential. Sales leaders and sales managers with low standards fail their sales force, and in doing so, they fail their prospective clients and their own company.
A Clear Compensation Plan
Your compensation plan should be easy enough for a salesperson to understand and consistent over the long term. No one should need a physics professor to calculate how much they’ll be making.
When you change the compensation structure after your sales force has built the pipeline you asked them to, you can lead everyone—yourself included—to struggle to reach their goals. The more stable your compensation, the better.
Gratitude and Recognition
You owe your sales force your gratitude and recognition. They don’t cost anything, but many sales leaders are stingy with their praise as if it is some scarce commodity. Thanking salespeople for their effort and their results will help you build a positive culture, which supports high performance.
What Sales Leaders Owe Their Sales Force
To build a world class sales force, it is important to take care of your team so they can take care of your prospective clients. This is the key to winning deals and growing net new revenue. Start with good leadership, development, and an effective methodology. These provide the foundation for more strategic elements of leadership, including teaching your sales force how to use information disparity to create value for their prospective clients. When leaders can give their teams what they need, their effectiveness increases, and your prospective clients will appreciate that your sales experience is different from your competitors’. Your ultimate goal should be extreme sales effectiveness.
Support these goals with high standards, a predictable compensation plan, and gratitude and recognition, and you have an excellent chance of reaching your goals and your sales objectives. You likely have some of these elements in place, and adding what’s missing will help you and your team succeed.