Many people assume that top sales teams can only be found in Fortune 100 or Fortune 500 companies. Regardless of company size, the best performing sales teams execute similar best practices. The good news is that you don’t have to reinvent the sales management wheel. You only need to duplicate and install these 3 proven sales team attributes into your sales team.
#1: An emotionally intelligent sales manager.
Sales management requires a number of skills, some of which include holding salespeople accountable for results and sales metrics. A sales manager is the official “raiser of the bar” in a company.
Two emotional intelligence skills are required for holding salespeople accountable. First is assertiveness–the skill of stating what you need nicely. Second is empathy. Great sales managers care about their sales team. Because they care, they combine assertiveness and empathy to have “tough love” conversations when necessary. They establish standards–and follow through on them–for sales activity, values, metrics and results.
Salespeople may not like tough love in the beginning. But I can assure you they love it when they achieve more sales, commission and work in a great environment.
#2. Develop a sales playbook.
Many companies make the mistake of following the philosophy of, “We hire veterans — they already know how to sell.” Translation: “We’ve decided to stop learning and to rest on our laurels.” It’s time for a reality check. Observe any professional sports team. The coaches recruit veterans that have been playing for years. And yet, every winning athletic team has a playbook. Athletic teams don’t allow each athlete to run his or her own playbook. Neither do effective sales organizations. Smart sales managers know they can’t possibly coach 15 different sales playbooks.
Document your selling stages, and the associated skills and tactics within each stage. Create compelling questions and value propositions that help your sales team members look like the professionals they are. Develop a sales playbook and you will develop a winning sales team.
#3: Be clear about your target clients.
A good mentor taught me this concept early in my sales-training business. His advice eliminated a lot of practice proposals because he helped me identify prospects that would value and pay for my services. I only work only with organizations that value education and outside counsel. That means they write checks and invest time.
Look at your own business. Maybe you work best with rapidly growing companies because they don’t have the time or bandwidth to install systems and processes. Perhaps your best customers are organizations that consistently invest in new technology because of their intense focus on being No. 1. Top sales organizations don’t waste time with prospects that are never going to buy.
Improve your sales organization by hiring for Sales EQ and Sales IQ. Create a sales playbook with your company’s winning plays. And get clear about who you best serve. As the old saying goes, “Fish where the fish are.”
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