Like most of the sales leaders I work with, you are probably trying to get your head back to work in the new normal that is post lockdown. You have staff who are working remotely and you’re trying to figure out how to turn this rusty sales team into the bunch of sales legends you know they can be. Believe me, you are not alone and, if you read on, you’ll find some essential things to consider if you want to get this sales team accelerating. Sales isn’t complicated. In my opinion, success comes down to a few simple things we must get right. There are others factors outside of the areas I’ll note, but whenever I do a review of a department these are always my starting points, before I dive deeper into more complex areas.
1. CULTURE AND MOTIVATION
I hate to burst the corporate bubble that has been around for the last 10 years, but a decent commission structure, an iPhone, a laptop and a few bean bags in the office are not reasons your sales team will perform. With people now working from home, even the bean bags can’t be used as a motivator.
Picture this scenario. The commission structure is great, the product is fine, the market is ready, but every Sunday evening as you try and watch Dragons Den, you realise you are actually worrying about how the hell you are going to get your team to start performing. You had visions of an army of hungry sales assassins hitting the phones like in The Wolf of Wall Street (hopefully in a more ethical way), broadcasting the features, benefits and delights that your product has to offer clients across the globe. In reality, you have a team that is as inspired and driven as a Manchester City fan watching United win the league at Old Trafford. Unfortunately, to give you a reality check, this usually isn’t their fault – it’s yours
For a sales team to be motivated, material incentives will only get you so far. To reach legendary status you must spend time motivating and inspiring them. You took on this responsibility when you hired or inherited the team and, unless you have sessions put aside to do this every single week, you will end up with a team that is going through the motions or verbally marketing your product down the phone to practically anyone who will answer. If you aren’t a naturally motivational person, hire someone in to do it for you. There are hundreds of amazing trainers and speakers out there who will come in on a part time basis and get your team fired up for the next quarter and inspired to get onto the sales leader board. If your team is really inspired, your clients will be, too. Inspiration is contagious.
JONATHAN FINCH is our Group Sales Director and co-founder of Sales Geek Training, The Sales Geek Hub and Sales Geek Academy. He is a force of nature. So you better hold on tight – if Finchy’s on your side things are going to happen fast. He is in the Sales ‘A-Team’ and loves it when a plan comes together for our clients. He is constantly driving Sales Geek forward and at the weekends he drives his Fiancée, Bella to distraction trawling antique fairs like a Geeky David Dickinson searching for the coolest thing possible at the lowest price! What a Bobby Dazzler!
2. YOU HIRED THE WRONG PEOPLE
Let’s face it, some people just aren’t meant to sell. Ironically, when I say this to most sales leaders, they assume they need to get rid of the entire team and start again, which is far from the truth. I would argue that most people can sell, provided they are given appropriate guidance, inspiration and support. But there are exceptions to this rule, so keep your eyes out for the following warning signs:
Lack of ambition in any areas of life, whether in or out of work. Great salespeople are playing the infinite game, they have dreams and goals and are consistently seeking ways to improve and grow. You can teach this, but like a gas fire with no spark, you can’t feed a fire that’s not lit.
Being the member of staff who had an alarm on his phone set for 16.55 every day, to ensure he had time to tidy his desk, close down his PC and put his jacket on by 17.00. Needless to say, we found another place for him within the business.
They are distant, stand-offish or defensive in training sessions or when you are offering advice. I trained a sales team over 12 months ago, and one member of staff doodled and made sarcastic comments for the entire session. I didn’t even need to ask the sales director what his figures were like to know the answer, “abysmal” was the word he came up with.
One thing to note here is the issue of being a team player. Some of the greatest salespeople I have met are not team players. These people often make poor managers, but their ability to focus purely on themselves, their performance and figures can be a huge strength if you know how to manage and drive them.
3. YOU’VE RUN OUT OF JUICE
“Juice” is the thing that keeps your sales team going. It’s an invisible force that you occasionally see glimpses of throughout the working week. More often than not, before you can catch it, it disappears again, engulfed by the monotonous mundanity of your weekly figures, monthly meetings and catch-ups.
The only way for the team to find its juice, is for you to find yours. Your team looks to you like sailors look to the captain of a ship. If the captain looks stressed and worried, how do you think the crew will perform? The ability to be calm, inspiring and supportive when you can see stormy waters ahead is the ultimate skill for a sales leader. If you’ve lost your juice, don’t panic! I’ve lost mine many times over the years, but it was the ability to bounce back that proved to be valuable, not the fact that I had a period without it.
If you think you have lost your juice, my top tip is to find someone to talk to who inspires you and understands your challenges. This may be your managing director, CEO, sales director or a close friend that understands the world you’re dealing in. Some of my roughest times were only helped by a close friend of mine who was always three years above me on the career ladder, albeit in different businesses.
To celebrate our partnership, Sales Geek and Air Marketing Group are combining to bring you some great sales insight with a deadly Halloween twist. Our Group Sales Director Jonathan Finch & Air CEO Owen Richards will take you through the SEVEN deadly sins destroying your pipeline. Join us October 22nd from 3pm for our FREE Webinar: Seven Deadly Sales Sins Destroying Your Pipeline.