Working in sales can be a competitive game. With targets to hit, deals to close, and other companies to battle for business, it’s essential that you have a good team on board if you want to keep bringing in revenue.
But how can you ensure that the individual sales people in your company will gel into a high performing sales team? After all, sales is an intense job, and bringing the wrong people on board- or encouraging the wrong type of behaviour from staff- could spell disaster for team morale and for your results. However, by introducing strong leadership and the right kind of incentives, you’ll be able to create a team that can thrive, whatever the circumstances.
Here’s how to do it.
A strong sales culture
According to recent research by Deloitte, 88% of employees and 94% of executives believe that a distinct corporate culture is important to the success of a business. This is doubly important for a sales team, as it is the culture of the team that will motivate and inspire both new and old employees to perform well, stay competitive and maintain high results. Indeed, given that the survey also found a strong link between employee happiness and job satisfaction and the perceived strength of company culture, it’s vital you put the effort into creating a space where your sales people feel challenged, valued and supported.
By setting out clear expectations of what you expect from your employees, and putting a strong emphasis on hitting goals as a way of measuring performance, you can cultivate a high-energy, productive and competitive atmosphere where sales people can push themselves to succeed. As sales can be a solitary job, you should invest time in creating a cohesive team through bonding exercises and regular team meetings: after all, the team that supports each other will be stronger as a result.
It takes an average of eight cold calls just to reach a prospect- and once you do, there’s no guarantee that they will buy what you’re selling. Sales is a hard game, and 80% of sales require at least five follow-up calls in order to close the deal. As a result, your team need to be prepared to handle rejection if you want to keep morale high, and keep closing those deals. Successful teams know how to cope with knock-backs, and don’t let it affect their motivation- and if you want to create a team that does just that, then consider holding training sessions and review meetings where you can talk through these problems and handle it professionally. And of course, once more members of your team start doing this, everybody else will follow by example.
Being rewarded well
Salespeople are ambitious- and they like being rewarded. After all, a recent survey said 77% of professionals would work harder if they felt better recognised. Give them what they want: a good pay packet, and bonus plans. In addition, make the effort to recognise individual sales people when it’s deserved. By doing so, and acknowledging the hard work they’ve put in, especially in front of others in the team, you’ll motivate them to do better, sell more, and motivate other people to try and outperform them. Given that the right incentives have long been proven to increase productivity within sales teams, it’s a tactic that will pay off the more effort you put into it.
What team can improve without the relevant training? There’s a reason why 80% of high-performing sales teams rate their sales training process as outstanding or very good: regular training sessions can help them develop new skills, get to grips with the newest technology within the industry, and brush up on old skills that might have gotten a little rusty over time. Get them to practice and use role play- preferably with their colleagues- to help them improve their selling skills, as well as occasionally listening to calls to see whether they can improve in any way. Make the time for coaching or training days, too: though they might work for a few hours less that week, the benefits they will bring back to the business in terms of skills will be invaluable.
Mastered tools and tech
Sales is changing. The rise of technology has widened the playing field, and the Bank of England chief recently warned that professionals will need to master a wholly new set of skills if they want to remain relevant and successful in their work. With 2.5 billion people around the world using smartphones, and still more connected to the Internet, the potential that technology holds is immense: not only will it teach sales people to sell smarter, but connect them with an ever-widening audience.
To make the most of this, make sure your team have all the tools they need to thrive: train them on analytics and sales acceleration tools, as well as teaching them the right way to reach out to potential leads via new channels like social media and mobile phones. Giving them an excellent understand of CRM software is also a must, but look to the future when it comes to technology: one key way to encourage success is by motivating your sales people to keep an eye on the market for any tools that might help them sell smarter in the future.
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