Globalization, mergers, acquisitions, downsizing and bankruptcies have collectively turned our economy and traditional business models upside down. However, despite the churn, despite the complexities and changes that we have seen to our business ecosystem, there is still one simple, fundamental truth that is a constant … “nothing happens until somebody sells something”.
Your sales team is still the life-line to your customers, and for any company that wants to be on the fast track to business growth and profitability, building a high-performing sales operation is absolutely crucial to future success.
In my opinion, there are several keys to building a high-performing sales team, and these apply to other functional areas of the business as well.
Keys to a High-Performing Sales Team
- Develop a clear, concise mission statement for the sales team, evangelize it, and make it part of the organization’s DNA.
- Raise the bar on expectations, but make sure the goals are realistic, specific, measurable and understood by all.
- Empower sales team members, both direct and indirect, and drive accountability closer to the customer; focus on outcomes and results versus activities and tasks.
- Follow the ‘Golden Rule’ principle when dealing with people and performance; the carrot works much better than the stick.
- Remain open to new ideas; foster a culture that encourages innovation, smart risk-taking, trust, and respect.
- Link compensation, employee recognition and rewards programs directly to the business goals; openly celebrate wins, both large and small.
- Communicate (more is better) and stay engaged with the customer and your team; don’t be a “drive by manager”.
- Keep your sales personnel focused on the target by minimizing “white noise” and other distractions.
“If you don’t know where you’re going, then any road will take you there.” ~ Lewis Carroll
This is particularly true within a sales environment. So, be clear about the organization’s mission, your expectations, and include sales team members in the planning process to ensure clarity and buy-in at all levels.
If your goal is to become a leader within your industry, and also in the eyes of your customers, then recognize that it is about more than just making the numbers. It’s also about developing the competencies and skills of your sales people so they can consistently deliver value. Make sure your sales personnel understand this as well, and reinforce the commitment to their professional growth through ongoing training, coaching and mentoring.
Finally, “Don’t sweat the small stuff”. Get comfortable with the 10% that does not go as well as planned. It will make the 90% that does much more enjoyable for everyone.
What sales strategies have been working for you / your team? What hasn’t? Let’s discuss