Getting the best out of your sales team
11th July 2010
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Chris Batten, one of our newest clients - a Norwich based sales coach, business guru and "Rainmaker"  who has travelled all over the world turning around businesses, has given us his tips on getting the best out of your sales people.

This is what Chris says:

"To get the very best out of your sales people is a skill, some might say it is an art. One thing that has been proven to be the case time and again is that you don't have to be the best sales person to become the best sales manager. In fact history tells me time and again, that appointing the best sales person as the sales manager often ends in tears.

In some rare cases this might work but the majority of these appointments will end in a double failure for the individual and the business. Firstly, they will fail as a leader as they don't have the right culture or skills. They will be too customer focussed. Secondly the distraction of being the leader will result in the loss of the best sales person! That said, there are some basic but vitally important steps you can take to ensure that the sales management is a true asset to the business. Here are my initial top three tips for the aspiring exceptional sales leader:

Tip 1.  Understand, really understand, the basic elements needed for a great sales leader: Be people focussed, balanced with customer focus; be an exceptional communicator and a creator and maintainer of the right culture; communicate with the entire business and always put the business first, not the customer and not the people.

Tip 2. Manage the process not just the people. This will require you to do the right things: Focus on the future, not the past; look at a range of futures and the overall picture not a a single viewpoint; set measurable and mutually agreed objectives.

Tip 3. Avoid doing what most sales managers end up doing, avoid spending all your time being re-active and concentrate on being pro-active. You need to keep looking forward.

There is much more to say on this subject and I would be happy to share more with you, all you need do is ask. For now if you can concentrate on these three points you will be on your way to being a much better leader of sales people. I would also like to give you a final hint on the right culture for sales people.

If you have a class 'A' sales person but you treat them as a 'B' or a 'C', they will perform to your expectations! The same is true if you have a 'C' and you treat them like an 'A' at the very least they will become a 'B'. Don't spend your time as a wet nurse. Design the future, show them how it looks, get their buy-in and then let them perform and treat them like a success!

The truth is that objectives for your sales team are the life blood of the sales manager. If you have clear and agreed objectives your people will know specifically what it is that they have to do in great detail. The issue in most businesses that I have worked with is not they don't have these objectives but that they don't go into enough tactical detail and that they don't know or follow the golden rules for setting sales objectives.

Here then are my two top rules for setting objectives for your sales team, they are going to make those objectives take on a life of their own:

1. M20/T. Objectives have to be Mutually agreed to be Measurable and have a set Timescale. Think about it, if an objective is not measurable how do you know it will get done? If all concerned are not in  agreement then you have no ownership and the objective does not transfer. If there is no time frame specified, how will you know when you need to take action?

2. SOS. Rather than a distress signal this is a way to remember the actions you need to take to ensure performance and identify issues pro-actively. Do a Situation analysis - Develop Objectives - Create Strategies.

Chris can be contacted here or, if you would like advice from Chris but are worried about how much it will cost - take a look at his Rainmaker's Club, which gives access to Chris Batten for advice along with useful forums and articles.


About the Author

Chris and Sara G

Member since: 10th July 2012

We own thebestofnorwich and are always on the look out for interesting things that are happening in Norwich, great local businesses and your views about anything local.

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