Oct 10, 2017
Ever tried managing a sales team full of individuals?
Happy days, months, quarters, pipelines, clients, and results when their differences and the differences of their sales manager brings them altogether. When they don’t, it normally ends up ugly, soon followed by very ugly, sometime after very ugly comes realisation. One realisation is that their differences divided them. It all starts with differences in their training.
Too many organisations have salesforces that have been trained differently, have used different sales tools, have different approaches to sales, and have different sales philosophies.
Put all these differences together in one sales team and what do you have? Different everything. Smart organisations struggle with ‘different’ because it often leads to inconsistent sales results, team conflict, and a sales culture of individualism. These practices are the bane of the Sales managers and often leads to ‘very ugly’.
Expectations of Sales Managers
Sales managers have high expectations of their sales team members. They expect them to understand themselves and how their behaviour affects others. They expect them to improve their sales strengths and reduce their sales weaknesses. One strength they want to see relentlessly is the practice of building trust between the sales team their clients.
Another given is the sales team understand clients are motivated by different things, are in different financial situations, and play different roles in the sales process.
So there’s a few expectations to mull over, let’s look at some of the bug-bears sales managers have to put up.
Bug-bears of Sales Managers
One bug-bear of sales managers are the questions they hear and read their sales staff ask, or don’t ask their clients during meetings, on the telephone or via email. There is often no structure, no purpose, and no strategy to their questioning. Just random questions that often have the client at best confused at worst repeating themselves while the meeting clock is ticking.
Another bug-bear is how the sales staff actually sell the organisation’s products and services. Some present the ‘client-need’ they think they’ve found, others discuss the features of their products and services until the cows-come-home, others deride their competitors, and some just rattle off statistics that mean nothing to ‘that’ client. A few talk benefits without really knowing how there derived from the features of their products and services. An awful and dangerous approach.
All big bug-bears! Which often leads to the biggest bug-bear of all, no reporting of client interactions, no update, no notes, no records, no data, and no nothing, which means no history! And we all know what no history leads to. Trouble!
So where do I start and how do I bring my sales team together?
How do you bring a team individual stars to form a star team?
Well one place to start is to train them all the same way.
The value you offer your customers
The strength, breadth and trust of your relationships with clients
Doing the right thing – developing sustainable, consultative partnerships with your buyers that deliver long-term value to all parties
Following these basics will move the team from where they are now to where the company needs them to be in the future. Here's how:
Create sustainable, trusted relationships with the right buyers through:
Identifying which relationships to invest in and how best to do it
Quickly building rapport and establishing trust
Focus on and delivering value in every conversation
Positioning your ideas and offerings for maximum impact
Collaborating and seeking commitment to move forward
Use sales tools and data repositories better:
Octagon™ profiling is one way to understand your behavioural preferences and their impact on others:
Levels of Thinking, Spicy Questions and Focus-5 to lift relationships to a higher level
Value Sheets to demonstrate a focus on value to the buyer
N-F-B and Storytelling to better position offerings and prove capability
CC Notes to maintain collaborative momentum
Smarter Selling incorporates the use of Octagon™ if you'd like to learn more.
If you're using a CRM, or ERP
Work with your analytics team to model past sales trends
– why did you win that opportunity?
- what could others learn from your won and lost opportunities?
- who are your at risk clients?
- what stage in their lifecycle is best to connect?
- what patterns are emerging when you align industry and internal data?
No matter which CRM you're using, you've got more information available now than ever. Dynamics 365 for Sales is one training program we offer, but check with your CRM supplier what solutions are available for yours.