Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other – or so said John F Kennedy in his 1963 speech to the Dallas Citizens Council. According to this logic, to be an effective leader, one must remain curious and engaged in ongoing learning in order to inspire this in team members. But what other skills and attributes does a good sales leader need to have for success?
Motivate your team to hit sales targets
If you feel like your sales team aren’t giving it their all in the office, you might be right. Nearly a third of people say they’re not motivated at work, with some saying this is due to poor communication from senior management and others pointing toward a lack of career progression. As a sales manager, it’s your job to remedy this. After all, a motivated sales team is an effective sales team – and the more incentivised and encouraged your salespeople feel, the more likely they are to reach their targets and boost the overall performance of your business. This motivation can come from a variety of different strategies, including being more creative with your incentives and aligning your business goals with the personal goals of your salespeople. Other techniques include asking your direct reports what management techniques they prefer and what motivates them, setting micro- and macro-goals that can span days, weeks, months or years, and celebrating small achievements as well as the big ones. Everyone has different motivators, and while salespeople will naturally be hungry to hit target, sometimes they need an extra push to get there. As their boss, this comes down to you.
Engage your employees to make sure they are productive
Unfortunately, the UK’s workforce is not always as productive as it could be. In fact, Britain is 15% less productive per employee than people throughout the EU. One of the key factors in the nation’s lack of productivity growth is a reluctance by some organisations to adopt new technologies and encourage digital growth. With that in mind, one of the best ways to boost productivity and engage your salespeople is by utilising the latest sales tools and software, whether that’s a new AI programme, CRM tool or automation technology than can help to streamline administration processes. By equipping your team with the right tools to perform their work, they’ll likely feel more empowered and find their workflow becomes more streamlined.
Pay attention to results and award your top performers
It’s not enough just to set targets and goals for your salespeople. You also need to monitor and regularly update on the progress of your team’s performance, acknowledging their efforts as well as the results. As part of this, you need to reward your salespeople in some way, whether that’s through verbal praise, a cash bonus or more flexible work conditions. This is critical as employees who feel their rewards meet their needs are a whopping seven times more likely to be engaged with their work compared to employees who don’t. Remember that while money will always be important to sales people, financial rewards aren’t the only way to motivate your team. Regular positive feedback, whether personally or in front of the rest of the business, can be enough to motivate some sale people, while others might jump at the chance to be mentored by a senior manager or participate in a new training or education course. By keeping rewards varied and regular, you are far more likely to engage more of your salespeople and keep them motivated.
Hire the right people
Being a good sales leader is made easier when you have a strong team of enthusiastic, committed salespeople. This isn’t as easy as you might think. With more than two-thirds of HR leaders saying it’s difficult to find and hire quality candidates, identifying and attracting the market’s best sales people is challenging in an increasingly competitive market. Start by analysing and overhauling your recruitment processes, focusing on things like time to hire (do you really need to interview junior candidates three times? How long is too long to wait to extend an offer?) and the candidate journey. Compare the salary you offer to the rest of the market to ensure it is competitive and consider which benefits you can offer that will make the role more appealing to sales stars. To make the process even easier, consider enlisting the help of sales recruitment experts.
Are you looking to attract and retain the best sales talent for your team? Get in touch with BMS performance today.
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