THOUGHT LEADER SERIES
USEFUL WAYS TO SUPPORT YOUR SALES TEAM
I have always wondered about the best ways to leverage the strengths and experience of your sales team. Can they work harder, can they turn around faster, can they better previous achievements, and can they make a difference to the bottom line?
These are important questions, but largely one-sided. And from my own experience, sales teams would first need inspiration and guidance from us. They would also need the tools and amenities to help them achieve targets outlined for them. If your sales team performs better, your company performs better. (And your bottom line can improve as well.)
EIGHT WAYS TO SUPPORT YOUR SALES TEAM
In larger companies you have a sales team in place, by default. In smaller companies the owners of the business become the sales team and play that crucial marketing role. Again, going by experience, a sales team is only as efficient as the support you can give them. They just cannot operate in isolation.
01 — Sales teams need management support to plan, strategize and followthrough based on leads generated and targets set for the year. When we say “team” here, the management is part of the team.
02 — Sales teams need to be constantly trained and exposed to newer marketing and sales methods, to ensure that they are ahead of the curve in terms of performance. And this is our responsibility as owners of the business.
03 — If you have high-performers in your team, they can set the pace for other team members. So it is useful to distribute your high-performers to ensure that two or more are not in the same team.
04– Plan regular sessions with your sales team for reviews, constructive feedback and exchange of industry news. Sometimes you learn more from your team, than they can learn from you. I have seen this happen.
05 — Another form of support is emotional support and understanding. We’re only human, and will need help when things are getting difficult — due to work pressures, or personal reasons.
06 — Sales teams need incentives to reach higher and perform better. From personal experience, incentives always work — there is a motivation element out here that is important.
07 — If your people are happy, feel secure and looked after, they will deliver higher results. This has been proven across the board, so it helps to look at ways we can do that. Things like adequate medical insurance, micro-loans to tide over a crisis, and team vacations or excursions are good ways to do that.
08 — Team members of sales teams need opportunities to grow. This is an essential part of the management process. We need to recognize individual strengths, and growth potential, to provide the right opportunities to take on more responsibilities and go up the ladder. (Otherwise good people will leave us.)
Finally, a sales team does not work in isolation. It needs promotion support that can include a regularly updated website, social media promotions, email marketing and even ads in specific industry journals. They also need help with a hard-working corporate presentation which contains highlights on the company’s resources, strengths, differentiators, leadership, financial stability and branch network presence.
A presentation also gives a client the opportunity to ask questions, clear doubts and seek clarifications. And this is invariably the time when a client makes up his mind. (So you really need to see if that presentation is working for you.)
Important postscript: While this feature essentially places a focus on your sales team, all other employees in your office too will need the same kind of support, understanding and opportunities to grow. The sales team brings in the business, but the people in HR, accounts, administration and front office are the ones who hold the business together — they are just as important.
This article is part of a Thought Leader Series that will eventually be published as a book. My name is Poduvath Ravindranath, Founder Director at Private Eye Private Limited, in India.
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