By: Norman Behar on June 19th, 2017
Sales Management Tips to Increase Sales Team Productivity
Part of managing performance is to have a more productive sales team. In this Q&A video, we share five techniques you can use to increase sales team productivity.
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I love that question. Part of managing sales performance is about having a more productive sales team. I'm going to provide five techniques that'll help you drive a more productive sales team.
The first one is clearly communicating expectations. Many managers think they're doing a great job of communication. But when we think about clear communications, we think about four elements.
- What's the “result” we want the salesperson to achieve?
- What are the “behaviors” or activities tied to that result?
- How are we going to measure success? So, what are the “metrics”?
- What's the “period of time” that we're going to hold the salesperson accountable to achieve these results?
Think about those four elements and make sure you include them in every communication. Also, don't forget to check with your salesperson for understanding.
Quite often, we think we communicate clearly. But the only way we know for sure is to have the salesperson paraphrase and share with us their understanding of that communication.
Number two, engage in a supportive dialogue. As a manager, it's not enough to communicate expectations. But you have to provide ongoing feedback, so people know how they're doing relative to your communications.
Generally, that communication should be very positive. Focus on the activities and the things that are going well. Find out what they're working on and ask how you can help.
That brings us to our third technique, which is as a manager you need to hold them accountable. Not only holding them accountable for achieving the results but also achieving the activities.
I know a lot of managers ask, "Well if they're getting the results, why do I need to focus on the behaviors or activities?" It's because results are backwards-looking. The fact they're getting results now is not a guarantee they're going to drive results in the future.
Managers who manage on results only, often receive a surprise at the end of a quarter when their sales team doesn't achieve the results. So focus on activities. If there's any gap and they're not performing, it gives you an opportunity as a manager by holding them accountable to address that gap proactively as opposed to reactively.
Remove excessive ankle weights, that's technique number four. It's amazing if you ask salespeople, "Well, what holds you back from being productive."
They're going to be able to share that they attend excessive meetings, or that they have excessive paperwork. Find out what they're doing, and how necessary are all these administrative tasks.
By removing them, you not only free up part of their actual time. But it also relieves a psychological ankle weight. Because salespeople feel like they can move faster and focus on what they do best, which is selling, as opposed to attending meetings or submitting unnecessary reports.
Technique number five, earn their trust and respect. It's amazing how hard sales professionals will work, for managers they trust and respect, and that's not that difficult.
Simply lead by example. Be very authentic in your communications. Show a personal interest in them. Not just in them as a sales professional, but let them know that you care about them as a person and that your job as a manager is, not only to manage them but also to coach them and lead them.
To recap, communicate expectations clearly, engage in a supportive dialog, hold salespeople accountable, remove excessive ankle weights, and earn their trust and respect. By following and implementing these five techniques, you’ll have a more productive and happier sales team.
SRG Insights is a Q&A video series where we answer your questions on the topics of sales, sales management, sales coaching, and sales training. Featuring sales experts with over 25 years of sales and sales management experience.
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About Norman Behar
Norman Behar is Chairman and Managing Director of the Sales Readiness Group (SRG). He has over 25 years of senior sales management experience, and is recognized as a thought leader in the sales training industry. His blog posts and whitepapers are frequently featured in leading sales enablement publications including ATD, TrainingIndustry.com, and Selling Power.