Sales managers have one of the most high-pressure jobs on the market. That's why a top sales manager is such a valuable asset to their company. It's tough enough to have to be in charge of creating and hitting a sales forecasteverysales period, but the best sales managers also must have strong relationships and understandings of their sales reps. Here are ways to crack some of the toughest challenges when it comes to managing your team of sales reps.
Understand Each Sales Rep's Personality
The first, and possibly most important, aspect of managing your sales team is to understand each sales rep's personality. We aren't talking about Myers-Briggs in this case (but that could be useful), we are talking about their selling personalities. By examining their past sales periods you can get a sense of the patterns in which their pipelines flow. If you have reps that have a ton of deals making it to the closing phases and then not closing, you may have a rep that is too lenient in pushing deals through the sales process without doing a proper job of qualifying them out. If you have a rep that has no deals flowing through their pipeline but then tend to close a massive amount in the last couple of days in the sales period, then you may have a rep that's not reporting deals until they are a guaranteed close in order to protect their numbers. Either way, you'll want to know how your reps operate in order to be a better sales coach for their unique style of selling.
Develop a Sales Process
As wisely put by Darrell Zahorsky's article on The Balance, "A successful sales team requires regular planning, tracking, and review to achieve the targeted results." To be even more concise, "Develop a sales process!" One of the biggest hurdles to solving the problems you have with your sales team is not having empirical evidence to direct you to the exact problems that you have. Taking the time to develop a sales process equip with the proper stages and milestones will help you have better data and insights to where your sales reps strive and struggle in selling. It also gives you a better platform for building sales coaching plans for each of your reps. Just make sure that you get buy-in from your reps and don't just jam a sales process down their throats that you came up with in your office without their input.
Utilize Formalized Coaching
As a sales manager, you probably know that coaching shouldn't happen in the eleventh hour when things are looking extremely bleak. It is proven that formalized coaching reaps the best results for sales reps. CSO Insights did research on hundreds of companies and found that those the implemented a formal coaching process saw win rate improvements up to 9%. The revenue benefits alone should be enough to spring sales managers into action and get them to start developing a formal sales coaching process. However, formalized sales coaching also reduces the amount of time you spend coaching your reps and yet still gives them the same, if not more, performance increases. It also gives reps more time to actually sell, which is always something that reps wish they had.
In the wild world that is selling, treat your sales team to some organization and structure. It will help you identify areas for improvement, grow your revenue, and understand your sales reps personalities and selling behaviors more easily. As a time-crunched sales manager, also consider investing in sales technology to help streamline these enhancements to your sales team. Predictive analytics solutions provide you key insights on your team's selling behaviors to make your analysis of your data way easier. Don't wait until you are in dire need, look into sales technology improvements now.