The 3 Keys to Successful Sales Management

Updated: April 08, 2011

Add into that you've probably never had any real sales management training or reinforcement, and your actual sales training that you are supposed to give your team probably isn't very highly developed either. I can just see you nodding your heads and thinking, "Yeah, you got that right. Now what?"

Well, here's what. Sales management is actually real easy and straight forward if you break it down to its three most important elements. If you concentrate on these three keys and actually make it a priority to implement them, your job will get so much easier, and, more importantly, you and your team will actually start closing more business and making their numbers.

Here's what they are:

1) Define your sales process best practices. Provide your team with clear, easy to follow best practices as far as sales techniques and skill sets go for your specific sale. Give them the specific scripts and rebuttals to follow, specific qualifying questions, proper closing tools, and make sure they are unambiguous.

In other words, identify what actually works in your selling cycle and what the best approaches are and then develop them into a solid selling system and make it company policy that this is the best way to handle every part of your selling process from the first call, to qualifying, to leaving voice messages and emails, to getting back to your prospects to closing the sale and handling objections.

You absolutely must make this selling system clear enough for anyone to understand and follow. Once you have this, then:

2) Implement and monitor the use of your best practice system. Think of a great football team. What do they do? The coaches come up with the best game plan (the system), and then they teach it to their players and practice every formation, every play and every technique. They drill it in over and over and they watch film of each practice and game to make sure their players are following the plan and using the best technique.

And that's what you need to do with your sales team as well. Once you've given your team the best practices, it's up to you to train them on it and reinforce adherence to it. You do that by observing your sales reps as they are on the phone with their prospects and customers. You record their calls and review them with them, and then you make sure they are using the best practices. If you do that - actually get your team members to use the best practices that you know work - then they will without a doubt get better and make more sales.

3) Discipline your team members when they aren't following your sales best practices. First, let me say a word about discipline. Discipline comes from the Greek word that means "to teach," not "to scold or make others feel bad." The proper role of a teacher, coach or sales manager is to point out when a student or sales rep isn't following the proven tools to succeed, and then to help them, or "teach" them to do it better. And that's where your skills as a manager (and where your time) will be most efficient.

You can do this in your one on one's with a rep, and you can do this in sales meetings where you can play recordings of reps who are doing it correctly, and you can do it by feeding lines to a rep while they're on the phone, or by instant messaging while you're listening in, etc.. The bottom line is that it's your job to give your team the right tools to succeed, manage them to implement them, and then to monitor and teach them to use them.

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