The success (or failure) of any business venture depends on how well you bring in sales. And for this reason, lots of effort goes into figuring out what makes a sales team effective.
More importantly, as a business owner or sales manager, you want to do whatever you can to give your sales teams an edge to get more customers and drive new revenue.
In our experience dealing with top-performing sales teams, businesses with the best sales results put a higher premium on sales coaching than other organizations. In addition, they have more skilled and motivating sales managers spearheading the company’s sales efforts.
This blog post looks at how to create a strong sales team, how the right people can make a difference, and how to ensure your sales team is ready to bring in new business and keep your customers happy.
1. Bring In a Top-Performing Sales Manager
Perhaps the best reason for hiring a top-performing sales manager is that he or she can come in and immediately make an impact on your sales team.
Top-performing sales managers create and develop sales forces that deliver high-level performance. They also motivate their salespeople to take the necessary actions to achieve their individual and team objectives.
They also have a more consistent and effective cadence when interacting with their team members.
What we’ve noticed with the thousands of companies we’ve had dealings with, top-performing sales organizations are likelier to have a sales manager conducting regular team coaching. These top-notch sales managers will likely be skilled at leading valuable coaching meetings.
In addition, a recent study has identified ten roles where these sales managers excel versus other managers. Five of these roles focus on sales coaching, and five others involve sales management.
Sales coaching roles:
- Focus and action planning
- Execution and productivity
- Advising and facilitating
Sales management roles:
- Performance management
- Pipeline and forecasting
- Meeting leadership
- Territory planning
- Talent management
(Source: The RAIN Group)
The research also shows that top-performing sales managers play these ten roles better than other managers. They’re also more skilled at leading conversations to drive top sales performance related to each role.
Furthermore, they are much more likely to be highly confident in their ability to help sellers achieve strong sales performance.
These sales teams have a significant opportunity to leverage the guidance and mentoring of their sales manager to improve their collective ability to sell, market, and deliver their solutions with greater speed, agility, and (perhaps even) reduced operating costs.
The confidence level of these superstar sales managers trickles down to sellers as well. If a salesperson believes his sales managers are effective and can help them achieve strong performance, they are also more likely to be top performers.
Even newer sellers get a performance boost from having an effective manager in their corner. Sellers with less than five years of experience are 240% more likely to be top performers when they have an effective manager.
So when you bring new talent into your organization, quickly getting your new hires up to speed and productive is imperative.
2. Make Regular Coaching Sessions Standard
One way to be more effective as a sales team is to have a holistic view of every team member. You need to know how they perform, where they can improve, and what they do right. That is why regular coaching rhythm is so important.
Top-performing sales managers are more likely to provide coaching with a set rhythm and frequency than other managers.
Looking at the steps involved in a sales process, we can quickly identify areas to introduce coaching.
For example, an effective sales team has regular coaching sessions, where the sales manager or head coach holds one-on-one performance evaluations with sales reps. This helps identify weaknesses in their sales process and areas needing improvement.
Also, just as important is that your sales managers are highly productive in inspiring their teams. Motivating sellers for high productivity and performance is essential for stellar sales teams.
High performers are highly productive and people who do more than the minimum. This means they’re constantly optimizing their processes, have systems in place (for follow-up and retargeting, for example), and are also innovative in generating and nurturing leads.
Leading the charge, of course, is your top-performing sales manager. A sales manager who knows how to maximize productivity can easily teach individual team members to be just as efficient and systematic.
As a business owner, your organization must help sellers and sales managers achieve maximum productivity.
3. Invest in High-Quality Sales Training
If a strong sales team makes the difference between a successful business and one that goes under, then improving your team’s performance should be a priority for any organization.
When combined with regular coaching rhythm and under the leadership of a top-performing sales manager, effective sales training increases the likelihood that a seller is also a top performer by 63%.
Remove any of these three elements—manager effectiveness, coaching frequency, and training effectiveness—and the likelihood of top performance drops dramatically.
So, for instance, in a scenario where the team has access to world-class sales training, but the manager is subpar, the likelihood of having top performers on the team drops considerably. Yet practical sales training is often still helpful.
In other words, despite their managers, sellers can be successful with strong training.
Having All Three is The Key To Success
The relationship between top sales performance and a combination of these three key factors – sales manager effectiveness, sales training effectiveness, and a regular schedule of coaching – correlate highly with top sales performance.
Bottom line: If you want a top-performing sales team, you must:
- Hire or groom your top-tier sales manager. Ensure your manager is highly productive, confident in his abilities, and able to fulfill critical roles in sales coaching and management.
- Have regular coaching schedules. Your sales manager should have routine one-on-one sessions and work not just on sales techniques but also motivation and productivity.
- Invest in high-quality sales training to take your already excellent sales team to the next level and beyond.
Remember, too, without strong training and coaching, superstar performers often get frustrated, especially when there’s a lack of investment in them or coaching support.
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A Final Word on Building a Top-Performing Sales Team
If you’re thinking about creating a sales team or if you recently put together a new one for your organization, you’re likely looking for ways to take their performance to the next level.
Much research is being done on how to make sales teams work effectively. As you saw in this blog post, hiring talented salespeople is not enough.
You not only need a highly effective sales manager leading your team, but you also must have regular coaching sessions and strong sales training to have a top-performing sales team.
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