As a leader in a sales department, one of your key goals should be in building a highly effective, motivated, and powerful sales team. This is both an art and a science. It is not just about bringing in the top earners and giving them the right incentives and a list of key performance indicators (KPIs) as well as sales volume requirements for the week, month, quarter and year.
To create an effective sale team that is interested not just meeting quotes and KPIs but that wants to continually strive to meet stretch goals, the art of leadership is a critical element that is entirely under your control.
To help develop a highly powerful and effective sales team, consider the following sales leadership strategies that provide high returns:
- Build Collaboration – a common misconception is that high levels within a sales team drive sales. In fact, high levels of competition only work on highly competitive people. Building collaboration, where everyone on the team works together, is must more effective at solving problems, matches sales reps to customers and clients, and creating effective ways to cross and upsell through working together to develop strategies that work.
- Build communication skills – salespeople may talk all day, but they may not be effective communicators. Training within the team that focuses on interpersonal relationships, communication skills, conflict resolution skills, and building rapport not only assists in retaining and engaging customers, but it also increases team communication and interaction. Active listening is a key attribute of communication skills and the most effective salespeople are great listeners.
- Become a coach – team leaders can be the people who provide the recognition and also deal with those struggling to meet performance goals, but they can also be coaches. By coaching all sales staff members, there is an increase in skills, personal and professional growth as well as sales performance.
- Sales training – in-house or outsourced sales training should be an ongoing part of powerful sales teams. Learning new ideas, focusing on the science of decision making and learning more about the industries you sell into helps teams to develop competence and comfort in talking to customers about real-world problems and how your products or services provide effective solutions.
- Look at team dynamics when hiring – bringing in new sales reps needs to be done with consideration for how the existing team functions. Recognizing if a candidate is highly competitive and the team is collaborative is an important skill for a sales leader to use when interviewing and onboarding. The team should also be seen as a functioning unit, and be given some authority and autonomy to make decisions and solve problems as a group.
- Be clear and consistent about expectations – one of the most common mistakes sales leaders make is to treat different members of the team using different standards or expectations. Develop consistent expectations and implement these expectations within the team in a consistent manner.
As a sales leader, you have a lot of influence and impact. Creating a powerful team is only the first step, and continuing to stand up for and support the team is an ongoing activity that ensures teams stay together.