A good sales manager understands the business, industry, or niche, keeps up-to-date with the latest trends and research, and is also an intelligent, observant, and responsive leader with a deep understanding of human behavior and motivation. All of these skills come into play when you’re building a new sales team, or taking over one that’s already established. Keeping your team enthusiastic and effective is a task that never really ends, but the following ideas will help provide a core method to make sure you build a sales team that gets results.
1. Start with yourself
Everyone is different, has a different background, and is motivated by different factors. To understand your team, you need to understand yourself. Aim to examine and evaluate your own motives, knowledge, and skills, and never rest on your laurels. Good self-management gives you the insight to manage others, and it also demonstrates you practice what you preach, which inspires trust and loyalty in your team.
Trust and loyalty are the foundations of the kind of honest and direct communication you need to build relationships between yourself and your team members, and for them to build trust with each other. Sales is all about relationships and communication, and it starts with you and your team.
Communicative relationships are two-way affairs. So, make sure you give plenty of opportunity to your team to ask questions and express their ideas and feelings. A sales team gets the best results when it works in an atmosphere of openness and collaboration. As the manager, aim to be the first among equals, rather than someone who dictates from the top.
2. Do your homework
Even the best team in the world can only get results based on the quality of the leads it has to work with. As the manager, it’s your responsibility either to research potentially productive leads, to make sure your team members have the time and resources to research them, or both. Whether your team focuses on telephone sales, house-calling, in-store sales, or business-to-business marketing, they need to be confident that they have good leads to work with so they can focus on building the client relationship and clinching the deal.
3. Signposting and goal-setting
Asking too much of your team and not providing the information, training, and support they need to reach their targets will quickly demoralize everyone. It’s important that your goals are ambitious but realistic and that you make sure that every individual in the team feels they have everything they need to work toward their personal and team goals. Again, communication and listening are vital. Provide plenty of opportunities for your team to have a say in goal setting, share ideas and experience, and give feedback.
4. Training, incentives, and rewards
Good sales managers are constantly educating and training themselves. As a sales manager who wants to build a winning team, you need to make sure that your team has plenty of training opportunities. That may mean an hour with you on a one-to-one basis, a team-building exercise, or a residential course. Ongoing online training can also be a huge help. Make sure that your team stays motivated by offering them incentives and rewarding their achievements.
Being a sales manager is an exciting and dynamic role. But any manager is only as good as the sales team they support – and a sales team is only as good as the management they receive. That’s why the keys to building a strong sales team with the power to deliver the results start with self-management and building on the trust and motivation that comes from supportive, communication-based relationships.