9 Tips From Successful Entrepreneurs to Manage a Sales Team

Managing a hard-hitting sales team is hard – especially if we know that even the best companies close 30% of sales-qualified leads. 

Missed leads are just the beginning. Sales teams have an average annual turnover of a whopping 35%. And with the cost to replace an employee on their way out being 1.5 – 2x their annual salary, turnover tends to get expensive. 

Before you hit the door too, let me tell you that success is possible if you follow a few proven expert sales management techniques.

Set sales goals

Setting proper sales goals is a skill that takes practice. Those need to be ambitious enough to motivate your sales team and ensure they’re giving their best. On the other hand, they also need to be realistic. The last thing you want is for your team to get discouraged because of repeatedly missed quotas.  

To get a perfect balance, experts recommend setting S.M.A.R.T. goals.

  • Specific: The more specific your goals the better. This gives your team a clear idea of where you’re headed. 
  • Measurable: The goals need to be easily trackable so you can measure progress along the way. 
  • Attainable: As I said, goals that are too ambitious can easily discourage your sales team, which is not the way you want things to develop. 
  • Relevant: You can’t just choose goals at random. Go for targets that are in line with your company’s relevant objectives. 
  • Timely: How can you achieve goals without deadlines? Everything you aim for should have a desired due date. 

With SMART goals in place, you’ll have more parameters in place to manage your sales team.

Use automation technology

Thanks to constantly improving technology, many parts of the sales process are now automated, which makes it easier for your salespeople to complete and track them. One such example is the digital proposal platform. 

A capable digital proposal builder makes creating engaging web-based proposals much easier, as well as allows your team to keep track of proposals they send,

When compared with traditional Word proposals, Better Proposal templates have a ton of advantages. 

First, it’s the stunning design and visuals that users can further customize with their own copy, images, and video.

A big part of bringing technology into your sales team’s efforts is ensuring it works seamlessly with the tools and systems you already have.

Thanks to our integrations, you can import customer data directly from your CRM, project management tool, or CMS.  

Each proposal is optimized for the mobile view as well and consists of a series of steps such as Introduction, What You Get, Timescales & Process, all the way up to Next Steps.

This is where things get sweet. Our proposals come with an electronic signature feature so your clients can sign the proposal the very moment they’ve read it, and even pay through Stripe, PayPal, or the GoCardless portal. 

If you enable the live chat, your client can reach out to you with any questions and suggestions, so every issue gets solved on the spot.

Thanks to all this, a sales proposal becomes a digital all-in-one document that drastically improves the productivity of your sales team.

Define your sales model

There are three main sales models to choose from: the island, the assembly line, and the pod. Let’s explore them in more detail.

The Island: A more traditional approach to sales in which every salesperson on the team handles one aspect of the sales process.

They generate their own leads, create their own sales cells, close their own deals, etc. This model is easy to implement and manage because there are not many moving parts to worry about. 

The Assembly Line: This method splits sales duties between four different groups – lead gen, sales development reps, account execs, and customer success.

Each group handles leads and customers at different stages of the buyer’s journey. 

The Pod: In this organization, you break salespeople into small, laser-focused self-contained, self-managing teams.

Don’t get me wrong, each of these models can be effective. 

The one you’ll choose for your business depends mostly on what phase your company is in. In general, the island method is better for startups, while the assembly line is better suited for established brands, where it’s hard for one person to handle an entire department by themselves. 

Sales professionals work best when you train them like elite athletes. Each one needs a clearly defined role in the company gameplay, which they can practice, refine, and perfect over time. As your business grows, having too many all-rounders and generalists will handicap your performance.

Establish a reputable company culture 

Having a strong company culture has always been important, but lately, its importance to employee satisfaction has increased a lot. 

What is the force that brought the change? Millennials. 

According to the Pew Research Center, Millennials are taking over the U.S. workforce. There are almost 54 million digital generation people at work. 

These people seek purpose in everything they do, including their work, so company culture is something they care about. 

This gets even more important if we know that Millennials are now moving into management positions. According to a report from Zapier, more than 60% of Millennials now have direct reports, which allows them to drive changes within their organizations.

62%-your-boss-millennial

Source:

All this considering, it’s in your best interest as an entrepreneur to improve your company culture and provide your employees with:

  • Flexibility: In the location, they work, working hours, scheduling, or the way their office is set up
  • Professional development: Millennials are seeking ways to advance in their careers and are interested in positions that will help them develop and grow. The same report shows that 6 in 10 Millennials say they’ve moved into management roles with direct reports because that was the only way to earn more money and advance in their careers.
  • Reputation: Reputation is not only important within the industry but also when it comes to being an ethical or socially responsible company. Consider donating, volunteering, and practicing sustainability. For example, you can launch initiatives to use less power or run a 100% paperless business.

Foster continued learning

When you support your salespeople with comprehensive sales training, you avoid many common problems that plague their counterparts in the sales industry. 

On the other hand, a study by Harvard Business Review found that 87% of what people learn in a live training program they forget in less than 30 days. 

So you need an effective training system that will allow your middle performers to become top performers that can land more sales for your business. 

In other words, you need to train your team regularly to keep information fresh in their minds. 

A good sales management strategy to help you do this is to create a strategic training plan for the next year and ensure that your team sticks to it. 

The training should relate to previously taught lessons while also adding new techniques that help them build their skills. 

Also, you should encourage your sales team to pursue continued education on their own.

Help your team create effective sales plans

Successful salespeople don’t owe their success to sheer luck. 

Instead, they use sales plans. However, since each of your salespeople is different from the others, you need to work with them to create sales plans that work well for every team member individually. 

For starters, make sure each team member’s sales plan includes:

  • Their goals
  • Easy-to-follow outline
  • Improved-time management
  • Prioritization strategies

When talking about priorities, your sales team should base their decisions on these considerations:

  • Activities that close the most leads 
  • Activities that generate the most prospects
  • Ways to nurture their leads

Inspire your team

Successful sales managers know the importance of inspiration. 

They use inspiration as one of the top sales management tools. They use the power of inspiration to help each salesperson realize their potential and how successful they can become. 

Their coworkers often describe inspiring sales managers as:

  • Accountable: They take personal responsibility for outcomes, even if they are unpleasant. 
  • Appreciative: They show true gratitude for the hard work of their team and reward them accordingly.
  • Energetic: They have a positive, uplifting attitude they spread wherever they go. 
  • Honest: They always tell the truth to both team members and customers. 
  • Selfless: They care about the success of the sales team more than their personal gain. 

When you create an environment in which your team feels inspired, you’re motivating them to overshoot their goals and excel at work.

Identify their barriers

Your team may be struggling with some barriers that are keeping them from achieving their goals. An experienced sales manager will identify those barriers and help them.

So what are the top three sales barriers that hold the sales team back?

Fear of rejection

Try talking to your sales reps to change their perception of rejection. Don’t let them assume that a cold call will result in rejection. Instead, help them realize that a cold call will result in a sale or at least a lead.

overcome-call-anxiety

Another way to empower your salespeople is to make sure they deeply understand how your product or service can help the customer and can communicate that.

Also, provide your sales team with answers addressing common customer concerns so they can better anticipate objections and prepare more learned responses.

Misunderstandings in communication

All apps and platforms aside, much of the customer interaction still happens over the phone. Research from Salesforce says even up to 92%!

This is why verbal communication still plays a big part in sales. 

However, the key to a successful sales call lies not in your salespeople doing all the talking, but rather doing a lot of listening. 

Listening allows salespeople to connect with potential customers and make the phone call more of a conversation than a pitch. This goes a long way to building lasting relationships.

Poor content / social media marketing

There’s no denying that social media has an enormous impact on businesses. 

But how is social media important for your sales team?

  1. It helps establish credibility. It’s easier for your team to sell when the potential customer has seen your product or service promoted on social media. It provides a degree of knowledge and comfort for the prospect and allows them to see what other people think about your offer. 
  1. It allows your team to see their position concerning your competition. Social media marketing usually yields feedback, which your team can use to understand their role in the industry and what they can do to improve their sales tactics. 

So, if you’re missing out on many potential leads, it might be that your social media strategy is faulty.

Don’t forget to incentivize your team

A commission is a percentage of a sale that is awarded to the salesperson who closes the deal. For example, a $30 commission is given to a seller every time they sell a product or service worth $600 at a 5% commission. 

An incentive, on the other hand, is a reward given to a salesperson who achieves some pre-set level of excellence. Unlike commissions, incentives are used to motivate salespeople. 

When you run a sales team, your job is to motivate them to give their best. This is where incentives come in. 

Create an incentive plan for your team that will excite them strongly enough to pull the extra weight.

Wrapping up

Managing salespeople is not an easy feat. Fortunately. These 9 sales team management strategies should help you lay a healthy foundation. 

I advise you to start with easier solutions such as technical and organizational ones. 

Start with investing in a formidable digital proposal builder that will automate your team’s proposal efforts. 

Instead of the time-consuming work of creating or repurposing Word-based proposals and checking them for errors over and over again, you get a mobile-friendly platform that integrates seamlessly with your favorite productivity tools. 

This allows your salespeople to highly customize every proposal for each client as well as import client data directly from your CRM. 

Start a trial and you’ll quickly realize how much time your sales team saves with our digital proposal templates.

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