Three Proven Strategies for Effectively Leading Sales Reps to Success
Sales is an industry ruled by numbers and formulas - conversion rates, quotas, BANT - but the most effective leaders understand that it’s people who drive those digits.
Sales reps’ relationships, knowledge and problem solving skills are central to closing deals, and people-focused leadership can therefore help you to get the most from your sales team.
The best managers often have a clear framework for success, encourage empathy and focus on improvement. Here are three ways you can use these strategies to get the most for your team:
1. Set clear, personalized goals that raise expectations
Being honest and clear with your team is one of the most important things you can do to make sure they’re performing to the best of their ability. That’s why setting ambitious (but achievable) objectives can be key to an effective sales strategy.
Having a personal target can help to focus sales reps, especially when comp plans take individual differences into account. Research shows that incremental goal setting can help to shift your performance curve upwards, and help to motivate both your low and high performers.
Plus, when implemented well, aspirational but realistic targets can inspire growth for your whole team. Communicating with your salespeople and demonstrating your collective goals can create momentum and facilitate collaboration.
By creating a clear structure for achievement, you can help your team take control of their sales, have a growth mind-set and deliver the best collective outcomes.
2. Encourage empathy with active listening
Empathy is a key skill for salespeople. In fact, being able to understand and share the feelings of your prospect has the power to transform a sales call from a simple transaction into a true connection between you and the customer. It helps reps to find solutions and build brand affinity.
There are simple things you can do to foster empathy - both within your team and on sales calls - but one important behavior is active listening.
As a manager, showing that you listen to your team and approaching your work relationships with compassion can help motivate better performances. Leading by example is important.
When you’re speaking to a potential customer or a sales rep, ensuring that you hear and identify what their needs are is key to showing that you care. By engaging with the problems they’re facing, you’re showing that they’re more than a number on your list.
You might find it helpful to summarize what you have spoken about, give feedback, or ask appropriate questions to demonstrate that you have understood what is being shared with you. All of these things will help you to build relationships and make sales.
3. Make personal development a priority
Leaders play a crucial role in creating a culture in which people feel comfortable enough to go outside of their comfort zone. This often comes from environments where failure is seen as a step to success, and people are encouraged to make time for personal development.
Coaching is a well-known strategy that helps sales teams reflect on past performance and is shown to lead to more deals being closed. In turbulent economic times, this type of training can be particularly helpful for resilience, self-confidence and productivity.
By taking time to understand your team’s strengths, motivations and challenges, you’ll help them find opportunities for growth and celebrate their successes. The upshot is you can find a path to better performance rates and grow the company’s bottom line.