Business doesn’t exist without sales. Sales won’t occur without a proper team in place. If your sales team is underutilized and not performing at their peak performance level, you’re leaving money on the table. That said, it’s important to realize that sales organizations aren’t successful on their own. A productive sales team must have a fully-aligned organization behind them. If one section of the organization is lacking skilled and knowledgeable employees that understand the value your company brings to its clients/customers, it can impact the entire process in a big way.
Here are six ways you can help align your organization and supercharge your sales force:
1. Clearly communicate sales expectations
While good communication is necessary throughout the office, it’s especially important when communicating with the sales team. Sales managers need to have challenging but attainable sales goals in place and ensure everyone knows those goals and understands the role they play in achieving them. They must then regularly report out actual performance in comparison to those goals so the team knows how they are tracking.
2. Ensure cooperation and collaboration among workgroups
While the sales team brings customers to the table, they can’t provide the best service possible without the help of other teams within the organization. Departments like customer service and marketing have a direct impact on whether a customer moves from happy first time customer, to a raving fan that will be with your company for years. Is the culture parallel from one team to the next? When an organization has a solid reputation that carries through from person to person and department to department, customers quickly learn to feel safe and respected.
3. Create a development-focus environment
Just because a salesperson is a sales star in certain areas of their job, doesn’t mean they might not have weaknesses and areas to improve on. By assessing an individual’s strengths and weaknesses from the beginning, it provides you with a clearer picture of specific strengths and weaknesses, skills and attributes, and personality and behavioral traits. Compare results with other top performers in your company. Differences will show where improvement can be made, and give you clear indication of key areas where you can design and create specific training programs for enhancement to bring everyone to the top of their game.
4. Confirm proper systems are in place to achieve sales goals
While your sales personnel may be great at what they do, what makes them even better is to have a strong support system built all around them. Do you have the proper lead generators in place? Do you have the best tools to attract attention from the beginning? Sales people are willing to work hard if they feel appreciated and have top-level support built around them. What can you do to make their job easier? Do you consistently review programs that can give them a leading edge?
5. Provide flexibility for your team to “do the right thing”
Selling is no longer about bringing in the highest profit margins or making cutthroat deals. Selling today means being empathetic to your customers’ needs and providing the best product and service for the situation. When you give your sales team the flexibility to do what it takes to make the customer happy, magical things can occur. Give them the power to make decisions when the feeling is right, without having to backtrack for management’s approval.
6. Understand what motivates your salespeople
Some people love the thrill of selling. They can’t imagine a job where they aren’t in the trenches doing what they love to do best. Others are motivated by the thrill of promotion. To move and improve over time is what keeps them playing the game. What makes a great sales person will not necessarily convert to attributes that make a great sales manager. Nor will everyone have the desire to move up the chain of command. The best way to improve performance is to listen to what each person desires and use that knowledge to continue to improve your company’s processes. Growth within a company isn’t just about improving the bottom line; it’s also about creating a better environment for all.
Scott Carroll is president of Centrixity, a talent management consulting firm headquartered in Vancouver. He and his wife, Patty Carroll, founded Centrixity to help companies more effectively select, develop and engage their people. Learn more at www.centrixity.com.