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How to Manage a Sales Team

Cameron Johnson

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sales managementNo matter how good your product or service is, your sales team is an integral part of getting it into your customers’ hands. For this reason, it is important to make sure that they are given the proper attention. As the sales team manager, it is your job to make sure that they are achieving their goals, but just as importantly, it is your job to make sure that the team’s culture is healthy and that they are receiving the proper training. Below, we go through some practices you can follow to ensure their success:

Monitor performance indicators and make sure they are clear

Your sales team needs a clear picture of exactly what their goals should be. This will help them to focus their efforts and give them a target they can reach for. As time goes on, it can be easy to assume that everyone knows these goals, so it’s a good idea to articulate them regularly to ensure that your entire team is on the same page and working towards the same end. Keep track of these measurables and work with team members who may be struggling in order to help them to reach their goals. While you shouldn’t let underperformance slide, management and other team members should work with them to help them figure out what to do to meet their goals and improve their processes moving forward.

Build a culture that encourages success

Set high expectations from the beginning. People tend to deliver based upon the expectations set upon them, and if you act as though your sales team will perform poorly, chances are that you will be proven right. At the same time, if you set your expectations high, it is likely that they will rise to the occasion.

Creating a strong team culture also involves building relationships between team members. Building a cutthroat environment where team members are always looking to succeed at the expense of each other can be toxic, so encourage a feeling of camaraderie between team members. As your team members become familiar and comfortable with each other, your team’s work processes can become more intuitive and natural, further boosting performance.

Train the troops

Even if you have the best processes laid out for your sales team, they will do you no good if you don’t train the team. This can include everything from small, internal training meetings within your sales team to larger, day-long events. As they work in the same environment day after day, it is easy for salespeople to settle into a rut, which can dull their abilities. Bringing in an outside expert for negotiation training can shake things up and give them new insights on the best sales strategies, honing their instincts and revitalizing their efforts.

Coaching happens every day, not just in formal meetings

Corporate sales training events are a wonderful way to improve your team’s results, but training doesn’t stop there. As a sales team leader, you are responsible for your team’s results every day. While individual coaching opportunities can take time from your already busy schedule, it is worth the investment. Taking time to step aside and work with individual team members will build their confidence, both in their own abilities and in you as a leader, and can help them to feel like a part of a successful team.

Celebrate successes

When your team members achieve something, whether it’s big or small, acknowledge it. Celebrate it! Do this as often as you can, because each little celebration gives the team a boost and motivates them to do better. Recognize the successes that your team members have and reward them.

Some sales managers wait too long between wins to celebrate in order to make the celebrations seem more meaningful. While this makes sense to a degree, waiting too long to celebrate can backfire and make your team members feel underappreciated. When your team has a success, acknowledging that success motivates them to achieve even more the next time.

Your sales team is one of the most public faces of your company, but by putting in a little effort and providing the proper training, you can set them up for success. That will bring positive results for them individually and for your company as a whole.

Creating a Team-Focused Workplace Culture

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Workplace culture is a crucial element of any industry. Most modern employees don’t just show up to work for a paycheck – they want to be valued and see the effects of their work as part of a bigger picture. As a leader, you need to foster a positive workplace culture that resonates with your brand identity and company mission statement.

 

How Workplace Culture Impacts Your Business

In the workplace, employees want to know they aren’t easily replaceable and that their employers value the work they do. Fostering a positive workplace culture isn’t just a side project – it has a direct effect on your company’s bottom line. Employee satisfaction and retention are big parts of why workplace culture matters. Your business is only as strong as your weakest employee, and employees who are invested emotionally in their work are rarely weak.

Know Your Brand

Today’s market demands that you stay relevant in a sea of competition. If you’ve had an idea, chances are your competitors have, too. If you make a misstep, your competition is going to see it and capitalize on your failure. Your brand identity plays a large role in your workplace culture: the image you convey to your customers has to resonate with your employees. You should always strive to be the company whose customers wish they could work for you.

Keep Your Team Involved

Creating a cohesive and progressive workplace culture means valuing the input your employees have. Some employees may hesitate to criticize their employers for fear of job security, so it’s important that you convey that you value honesty – good or bad – for the sake of the company as a whole. Make it clear that you will never meet honest feedback and constructive criticisms made in good faith with reprimands or disciplinary actions.

Always take the time to ask your employees how they feel about the work they do, the processes involved, and if they can think of ways to improve day-to-day operations. Your employees view your workplace differently than you do, so it’s important to try to adopt their perspectives when you conceptualize a workplace culture.

Recognize Value

Part of your workplace culture depends on how your employees interact. Look for groups or pairs of employees who bring out the best in each other’s work, and foster those relationships. You should always be looking for ways to improve your business. Your employees are your best resource for doing that. Teamwork happens when employees know what you expect of them and what roles they play in your brand. Make sure your workers know they’re valued, and that the company’s success depends on their personal success.

 

Sources:

http://www.inc.com/peter-economy/5-ways-to-build-an-extraordinary-team-culture.html
http://www.lctmag.com/operations/article/107639/how-to-create-a-team-focused-culture
http://www.forbes.com/sites/groupthink/2013/10/04/how-to-build-a-great-company-culture/#673b42af3ab2
https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and-samples/toolkits/pages/developingandsustaininghigh-performanceworkteams.aspx
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-jim-taylor/build-a-positive-and-high_b_3659341.html

How to Influence Without Being Pushy

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Sometimes leads are already interested before you start your pitch, but how you attempt to influence them will make or break the deal. There’s a big difference between influencing and selling – your audience is less likely to take your words to heart if you come off as pushy, rehearsed, or “salesy.”

When it comes to influencing people, a few key strategies will lead you to more effective interactions with more positive results. Keep the following in mind.

Build Trust

When you have rapport with other people, it’s easier to speak with them. You need to be able to reach people on a personal level while staying professional. Carefully listen to their concerns and address them fully. Try to take your resolution a step beyond what they may expect from you to show them you are acting with their best interests in mind. Find common ground and work from there. You cannot force people to do things. Instead, you should try to persuade them to want what you want.

Focus on Positives

Of course, you want to be able to relate to the other party if you want them to see things your way, but it’s important to stick to your guns while staying positive. Instead of sympathizing with their complaints, get them to focus on the positive aspects of your discussion. Demonstrate value and emphasize how they will benefit from the decision you want them to make.

Speak Naturally

You may work on your speaking technique in private, but it’s important to be prepared without sounding rehearsed. If you want to influence people, the number one way to fail is to to be unprepared and not know what you are trying to say or sound like you’re selling something or reading from a script. Speak as you would in any other conversation (again, remember to stick to your professional boundaries) and be relaxed. Pay close attention to body language – both the other party’s and your own. Don’t come off as rigid, closed-off, or unapproachable. People will be more willing to converse and be influenced if it feels natural.

Generate Enthusiasm

One of the best methods of influencing others to do what you want is to demonstrate what an amazing opportunity they have and make them excited to see it happen. Generating energy and enthusiasm is a great way to get others on board with your vision and get them to see things from your perspective.

Be Adaptable

Your conversation style needs to be flexible – you can’t speak with everyone in the same way, and every interaction has unique factors that you need to consider. This is the biggest reason that maintaining a natural demeanor is important – when you lock yourself into a routine, it becomes much harder to deal with the unexpected. To influence the other party, you need to be on your toes and ready to handle any question or concern they have. .

Keep these tips in mind as you prepare for your next major conversation. Remember that influencing is all about getting other people to want what you want – not hammering them until they see things your way.

The 3 Ps of Negotiation

Cameron Johnson

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No matter the industry you are in or what you are trying to sell, negotiating is one of the most crucial skills a sales professional has to master. Here at the Shapiro Negotiations Institute, we’ve spent the last twenty years studying and teaching the art of negotiating. As a result, we have developed a systematic approach to the negotiation process:

3ps

For more information about proper negotiation tactics visit our negotiation training page.

 

5 Reasons to Implement Office-Wide Meetings

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Many organizations (particularly smaller ones) may shy away from all-company meetings. They can be rather costly—not to mention time-consuming. You must have the space to gather your employees and the resources to ensure that they all can hear and/or see your content. Larger firms tend to have conferences that are days long, necessitating refreshments too. There are many benefits to meetings of this caliber, however, and it may be something worthwhile for your enterprise.

You Can Reinforce Company Culture

It’s easy to read about business ideas and just as easy to forget them. Bringing employees together lets them experience the firm’s ideals firsthand. Seasoned employees can help newer hires feel welcome and adjust to the company more effectively. Veterans will feel valued when you give them such a purpose and encourage nurturing attitudes, making for a tighter labor force.

You Can Conquer the Disjointedness of Virtual Businesses

As technology becomes more prevalent in our lives, the workforce is changing with it. Many companies have at least a few employees who contribute from home or other remote locations. Office-wide meetings allow them to meet the people they communicate with every day. These in-person interactions make email and other contact more meaningful in the future. Meetings build bonds, and virtual employees often don’t get this opportunity otherwise.

Employees Can Provide Input

Opinions matter, especially when they come from your staff. It’s always beneficial to know how much of the company supports new decisions, whether the decisions are about name changes or new uniforms. When employees can participate, they’ll be more satisfied with the decisions your business makes. More brains gathered together means a higher chance of coming up with new ideas as well. All-company meetings help everyone consider themselves a true part of the endeavor.

Staff Can Feel More Valued

Making the effort to gather people together makes them feel good. It shows that the company cares enough to bring everyone on board instead of just a select few, such as a council. Add bonding exercises and opportunities for their input, and your meeting is even better. Although smaller organizations inherently don’t have as many issues with dehumanizing workers, seeing faces as real people who matter is better for businesses of all sizes.

All-Company Meetings Unify Goals

Town hall meetings put everyone in the company on the same page. You can ensure that each worker is well informed, but more importantly, you can stress your objectives and plans. Employees attending will know what they’re working toward. This often leaves them better equipped and more willing to pull together to accomplish things.

Gathering an entire company is never cheap. It could cost hundreds, thousands, or millions of dollars, depending on the organization’s scale. The investment, however, could completely revamp your employees’ attitudes and make your firm stronger than ever. Cohesion and satisfaction among your workers is definitely worth the cost.