by Dr. Rick Goodman, CSP
What’s the difference between a great business and a great idea for a business? The answer, in many ways, is sales. Having a great business concept is fine, but until you can actually make money off it—until you can convert people into paying customers—the concept alone doesn’t do you much good.
All companies need sales, and all companies need sales teams that are unified and oriented toward a common goal. That’s a roundabout way of saying that all companies need sales leaders. The question is, how do you lead a champion sales team? How do you ensure that your company isn’t just an interesting concept, but a lean, mean, selling machine?
A few tips come to mind, and they span the sales departments of businesses in all industries and verticals.
- Good leaders understand the unique strengths, weaknesses, and motivations of their team members. They don’t get too bogged down in metrics and benchmarks and numbers. While those things are important, they don’t necessarily help you make the most of each sales team member’s unique gifts. Find out where your team members shine, and what inspires them to do better. Don’t just push people toward meeting a goal, but provide them with the environment, the encouragement, and the motivation to thrive.
- Be clear about the expectations. What are your team’s goals? What sales marks do you hope to hit? How do you expect your team members to work together and collaborate? Your sales team members won’t know unless you tell them. Create unity and drive by communicating openly and transparently.
- Remember that leading a strong team means assembling a strong team in the first place. Make sure you’re hiring not just for skills and sales experience, but for cultural fit. Hire with your company culture and your team’s current strengths and weaknesses in mind.
- Take time to coach. This is where many sales leaders come up short, because, frankly, it takes an investment of time. That investment can pay back big dividends, though; offering constructive feedback and affirmation to individual team members can turn them into more confident and effective sales representatives.
- Identify the strongest sellers on your team—any “maverick” or outlier team members—and encourage them to help you in coaching the rest of the team; remind them that it’s not just about their individual performance, but how well they elevate the rest of the team.
Don’t settle for strong sales reps; strive for a strong sales team—and watch how it transforms your company.
About the author: Dr. Rick Goodman, CSP, is a thought leader in the world of leadership and is known as one of the most sought after team building experts in the United States and internationally. He is famous for helping organizations, corporations and individuals with systems and strategies that produce increased profits and productivity without having the challenges of micro managing the process. Some of Dr. Rick’s clients include AT&T, Boeing, Cavium Networks, Heineken, IBM and Hewlett Packard. For more information, visit www.rickgoodman.com