Has your leadership style changed this year?
Sales has always been challenging work, but COVID-19 brought on new and unique challenges. For one, businesses have had to transform their operations overnight, shelling out new products and services, modifying marketing strategies, and implementing new ways of reaching customers in virtual environments.
Now, with the vaccine and the world opening up, sales leaders are faced with new obstacles. Business post-COVID will probably look very different from business pre-COVID. You may be wondering how you could best support your sales leaders during this transition.
Effective leadership post-pandemic will have a whole new set of requirements. Last year’s events have fundamentally changed how you need to engage with, manage, and empower your sales leaders and their teams.
In this blog post, we’ll share seven tips on how to empower your sales team after the pandemic and beyond.
Understand What Motivates Your Sales Team Members
Don’t make the mistake of focusing only on your team member’s results, their actual sales, as success. Success is more than a measurement. The people you employ are a unique combination of strengths and weaknesses. A combination, that if you understand, can help you cultivate your team into a sales powerhouse.
Make no mistake, sales quotas are important, but they are just one piece of the puzzle. Each member of your sales team is unique, and what motivates them to do their best work will be as varied as their personalities. This is why it’s essential to provide individualized coaching, mentorship, and feedback to your remote sales team. If ever a member of your team doesn’t meet their goals, you want to understand why they fell short. On the other hand, if they succeed, you also need to understand the factors that made the difference. In other words, find out what makes them tick. When you celebrate individuality, create personalized feedback and reward systems, you’ll go a long way into achieving and maintaining sales success.
Stefan Wissenbach, CEO of Engagement Multiplier, said it best:
“When you’re thinking about keeping top sellers engaged and motivated, don’t overlook what makes them tick as people. Generally speaking, sales teams are populated with high-energy extroverts who thrive on friendly competition. Working from home poses a particular challenge for them. In my company, we ensure they get recognition consistently by highlighting their wins in our weekly all-company meetings, and also highlight them in a Slack channel, which is full of friendly banter.”
Listen to Your Sales Leaders’ Pain Points
What challenges are your sales leaders saying they’re facing in this new environment?
Actively listen to the challenges that your sales team is facing and be prepared to meet their needs. What processes need improvement? What strategies need to be reworked or abandoned?
More than just one-off feedback surveys or quarterly meetings, actively listening to your sales leaders should be central to your organization. Make it a point to seek out their ideas and opinions. When you listen to your employees, processes improve, morale increases, and teams become cohesive. When you ignore the pain points of your sales leaders, even good employees leave.
Not only should you encourage sales leaders to voice their thoughts, but all members of staff should also be encouraged to offer their ideas and concerns. An open-door policy is critical to any organization’s success. Your sales leaders want to be heard. Make it clear that their thoughts are valued, and you will take appropriate action.
Andrea Ahern, Founder of Mid Florida Material Handling, breaks it down this way:
“The biggest key to supporting our sales leaders has always been listening and then taking action based on their feedback. Every sales team is different – what works for one may not work for another. Because of this, we schedule touchpoints regularly (at least monthly) to discuss possible improvements to our processes and procedures. These meetings are focused entirely on the pain points our sales team is facing and how I can support them as the company founder. Over time these conversations have brought around real change in our organization – including implementing a CRM and restructuring sales territories.”
Increase Productivity with Sales Automation
If you want to increase sales revenue, sales automation is vital. The average sales rep spends only one-third of their day talking to prospects. What do they do in the meantime? The bulk of their working hours are administrative tasks, like data entry, scheduling, and reporting. Imagine how much more your team could be selling if you freed up two-thirds of their time?
By automating some of the more mundane tasks, you’ll enable your sales team to focus on things like running demos or answering questions that show buying potential. This also allows them to use more of their talents and energy focused on their main job description, building relationships with customers that close more deals and lead to business growth.
“We value our sales team very much so we make sure to remove any unnecessary tasks that can just be time-consuming or can be considered busy work. A good CRM helps with automating a lot of things like email marketing and moving potential leads through the funnel, so all our sales team has to do is sell…” – Keith Eneix, President of TautUSA
Personalize Your Selling Strategy
It’s common knowledge that we should customize our sales to fit a customer’s unique needs. What is often not acknowledged is that we should also personalize our selling strategy based on the sales rep.
Your sales team isn’t one-size-fits-all sales, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that your training program is only effective if it’s customized. It would be best if you considered these factors when building a sales training curriculum that has maximum impact.
Jane Baker, CEO of Limitless Living International, said of personalization:
“I lead large teams of sales leaders and we support them by really understanding who they are. We don’t approach selling in the same traditional ways that other companies do, there’s no standard set training that’s the same for everyone. We use various tools including energy numbers, human design, Feng Shui to understand that individual salesperson and then help them customise and tailor their environment including work and selling strategies so they feel best supported and also achieve the best results.” –
Celebrate the Small Wins
Did you know that 79% of US employees leave because of feelings of unappreciation? In fact, according to Glassdoor, 70% of employees stated they would feel better about their jobs if their managers thanked them more regularly.
That’s why it’s essential to recognize wins, big and small. There can be long spaces between the big wins, and you could lose morale and motivation if you don’t stop recognizing the small successes.
Once your sales leaders reach specific goals, provide a celebration for them. This celebration could be as simple as a congratulatory note, public recognition, or a small gift card.
Creating smaller goals for your sales leaders to reach will help keep them focused and excited about reaching the bigger ones.
“As a business leader, one significant thing that I have done to initiate support for our company’s sales leaders is by incentivizing them even on small victories. What we implement is a lateral incentivization program where the team is encouraged to continuously excel in lieu of more advanced incentives every after they are able to surpass and achieve a milestone. With this, achieving a milestone and the drive to do better is constant and not a one-time thing. Sales leaders are the backbone of your company and it’s important that they feel appreciated every time.” – Robert Johnson, Founder of Sawinery
Reward Your Sales Team With Extra Paid Time Off
Everyone could use some extra time off, and your sales leaders are no exception. If you want to make a difference in employee retention and give your best workers more meaningful rewards, extra paid time off is your best bet. If your sales leaders worked hard to hit a tight deadline or meet a quota, they’d really appreciate an extra day of vacation or personal time. Another example is using half-day Fridays, where if team members meet specific performance goals, they can start their weekend early. Extra time off can be an excellent motivator for a job well done.
“At the prompting of sales management, we introduced a “dark week” between Christmas and New Years that our client advisors and other full-time team members can take off. This time off does not count towards PTO, which means the client advisors have more flexibility to take time off throughout the year.” – Michael Alexis, CEO of TeamBuilding
Cultivate a Positive Company Culture
Team building, especially in remote environments, helps your team feel more connected to your business and each other. This connection leads to more communication, better planning, more collaboration, and greater employee satisfaction.
Most importantly, team-building events help your sales leaders to get results. They help members of your sales teams build problem-solving and conflict resolution skills, skills that prove useful when interacting with customers. The more collaborative and connected your team members are, the more productive they will be.
“Besides making sure that our efforts are aligned, my team and I do whatever we can to stay in touch and communicate with our company’s sales team. Making sure that we engage and communicate with our sales leader and their team not only helps guarantee our company’s productivity but can also be a great source of comfort in such a demanding and fast-paced industry. We also make sure to hold team-building activities and events to make sure that we’re given outlets to de-stress and maintain our company culture. We hope and believe that small acts like these can give our sales leaders the support and strength they need.” – Simon Elkjær, Chief Marketing Officer at avXperten
Remember, your sales leaders experience a lot of pressure in their jobs. Not only do they support and coach their sales reps, but they are also accountable to leadership to deliver on their targets. All in all, when you provide your sales leaders consistent and proper support, the entire team benefits.
Of course, our favorite strategy for supporting sales leaders is getting them an affordable remote sales assistant. This allows your sales team to focus on leads and closing deals, and gets them out of the weeds. If you are interested in learning more about our services and what we can do to help you support your sales team (or just delegate some of your not-so-favorite tasks to us), while saving you time and money, shoot us your questions.