The task of building a stronger sales team can often seem like a monumental undertaking. Where do you begin? How do you build momentum? And how do you maintain past performance in the face of competition, changing priorities and other formidable obstacles? The answer takes me back to an old Chinese proverb: a journey of a thousand miles begins with one small step.
In a recent interview featured on Selling Power, I discussed fundamental development strategies with Irene Sewer, Director of Field Development at Liberty Mutual. The environment is constantly changing and in times like this, we acknowledge that now more than ever, sales leaders must focus on the development of their people. These leaders are also charged with keeping sales teams up to speed on how the sales landscape is changing, and how their organizations are adapting in response.
Irene and I also addressed how technology has changed the sales landscape since customers are more informed and educated about products and services. This also means that customers come into the sales experience with higher expectations.
So, revisiting the deceptively simple wisdom of that proverb. How do we incrementally improve performance within the sales team?
Three simple strategies can help:
- Ensure sales managers are clear on their responsibility to coach their team members and that they have the skills to do so. If sales managers aren’t coaching, they should be replaced by sales leaders who will.
- Confirm that coaching includes performance coaching – coaching to metrics and pipeline, prospecting and developmental coaching. This will help salespeople develop the necessary skills to enhance their sales abilities.
- Provide feedback to sales managers about their coaching. Be consistent by focusing on customer satisfaction metrics and other key performance indicators.
In a world of constant change, it’s reassuring to recognize that there are tried and true strategies that will yield positive trends for your sales team.
Sharon Daniels is CEO of AchieveGlobal in Tampa, Florida