What is the best way to lead a strong sales team?
I am handling a 5-7 member sales team. The team members range from no experience to very experienced in sales. My question is how do I divide up the work and challenge each team member while meeting each employee's different levels of experience. My goal is for the team to work together and help each other grow.
While you have a Sales Team specific issue you are also looking at a basic management/leadership question. Since sales is primarily what I help companies with let me offer a few sales specific suggestions.
First, as a manager/leader you should make company SMART goals visible and each sales person needs specific goals that include more than revenue. While it can be okay to give experienced sales people little more than $$ or category goals, the less experienced need to have behavior oriented goals because if they do the things necessary to get sales they will come. This includes a Prospecting Plan for everyone. That is the quantity aspect of goals.
As for quality development there are two easy things to do beyond sales process training. In a regular sales team meeting always have a "good sale" de-briefed, not always the biggest but maybe the toughest or a surprise. Have everyone participate. In that same meeting go around the room and rather than spitting out estimates have each person outline the 3 or 4 steps they have planned for the next good sale. Don't let it be "take Joe out to lunch" but rather have the key points of the sale broken out. This creates both group mentoring and an opportunity for questions, suggestions or breakthroughs.
Finally, use your better sales people for one-on-one mentoring. This can be done as "ride-alongs" where a junior person sits in on any phase of a sales call and can witness and question and learn. A senior guy can also listen in on a junior guy's phone call and give feedback after. Have the pairings moved around...even two senior or two junior sellers benefit by sharing the experience. I guarantee you will find the time is well invested and senior people get a sense of their role in improving the team not just hitting their numbers.
Finally, and though this sounds self-serving and it is, I've witnessed too many teams make major improvements when there is a dedicated sales trainer to work with the boss, the group and the individuals to establish and build this kind of success culture. Get help making sure the plan is working then you can perpetuate it with the team.
Be a great role model, let truth to be told, being in charge they will follow by example well know fact,
Have the experienced member "Mentor " the new people. This will show you who has the competence for managing them and who is better at selling. Also do group projects with mixed teams.
David, a quick step back to ask and answer a couple of key questions may provide additional insight into your implementation question.
1) What is the success metric for my achievers; what are my performers doing daily that drives their success?
2) Can I make that the standard metric for all the team?
3) Does the team have the proper tools and resources to "scale"-(accelerate) to the metric
4) What do my non- achievers need to implement that success metric?
5) How do I provide 100% backing to assist them in implementing the success metric.
As a sales manager, you may want to focus on "how to accelerate success" vs. "how to accelerate experience". They are different components
I would start by making sure the team has all the tools they need to succeed. Hopefully the experienced person will help mentor the person with no experience. Make sure the expectations and targets are clear. Confirm to the team how they plan on hitting or exceeding the targets and expectations. Be very clear what the outcome will be if people under or over achieve the targets. Keep an open door and encourage the team to share best practices. Encourage the team to always try and learn and get better. Do everything in your power to help the team and your customers succeed which in turn should help you succeed as well.
Hello David, As I found that you have 5-7 employee from entry level to experienced level. As per my knowledge you need to divide the team in 3 parts.
1. Most Experienced Person- who will manage the all reports and work. It will increase the quality and productivity
2. make 2 teams of 3-3 persons, there you have each kind of persons and divide the task as per their experienced level. Then all work will be examine and edit by their seniors and submit forward.
In next 1-3 months your team will build up with more knowledge and skills.
I am happy to create an open discussion on it.
In my opinion, Sales is the most complex part of the organisation. As, I think Sales people are highly Transactional and individualistic. I really believe it is a good thing for them to succeed.
From an Organisational point of view, it is good to have appropriate recognition and road map worked out and shared with them so that they can operate with clarity. Any doubt in their mind will hold them back. Which will mean they don't perform.
I also recommend, you could get the freshers to be mentored by senior sales folks and I am sure they will always like to do that. Sales is a clear and obvious gratification based function and one of the most gratifying things in life is mentoring. They will love it.
Lastly, it is important to have goals and each team members or sub teams compete internally. Organisation will benefit as people compete among themselves. In such scenarios, it si important that Organisation facilitates regular interventions to keep healthy competition among the team members.
Hope it helps.
All the best !
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David, it's good to see that you recognize the value of the whole team. I presume they all have the tools they need to do their jobs. Here's a different idea for you. Convene a meeting with all team members- invite each of them (yourself included) to tell their story ending with what brought them here and what they hope to achieve (P.S. to sell more is a superficial answer). With this information fresh in mind share your vision for the company, the team and the process. Once again go around the table and ask what each person provides (in view of your vision). Close by acknowledging how each of them plays an integral role in a process that is far bigger than themselves. Instill in them that the success of each of them is related to the success of all of them. If you are curious why I say these things, feel free to reach out privately. I don't want to hog this space :-) I think the task you asked about will be far easier to understand and complete.