Last quarter's numbers are in... and they don't look too good. In fact, many of your "impressive hires" are floundering to even meet their goals, never mind exceed them. The pressure is on from upper management and you're starting to lose sleep.
Hiring a sales team is pretty easy. After all, hundreds (if not thousands) of resumes boasting sales experience will cross your desk every single year. However, it's difficult to determine whether a salesperson is worth their weight until you've actually seen them in action. Their resume might show impressive numbers, but was it a fluke? Were they put in the position of "order taker" rather than a true sales role? Were they in charge of selling a product that literally sold itself?
Now that you've hired your sales team, it's time to actually build the team. The responsibility rests on you to make sure that they are meeting their numbers, living up to the goals you've set for them, and helping to move the organization forward. It's your job to improve their performance and raise your team to a rock star level of selling.
Help your team achieve the next level of selling
by hiring a keynote speaker for corporate events.
Improving your team's sales performance is a fairly simple process... if you do it right. There are many managers that will resort to cracking down on fun, giving demoralizing "pep talks," and making threats of unemployment to inspire their troops. Thankfully, you know better. You know that in order to motivate your team to reach rock star status, you need to understand what's really going on with each employee.
There are several tactics you can employ to take your employees to the next level of selling.
1. Understand what drives them
It may be hard to believe, but not everyone is driven to perform by money. For some salespeople, financial incentives are lovely, but not why they come to work every morning. Some employees may be driven by healthy competition (whether with others or themselves), by the need for positive affirmations and reinforcement, or by a desire to have plenty of time to spend with loved ones.
First, you must understand why your team members would want to perform. Once you know this, you can focus on the best way to motivate and reward them. Perhaps they'd prefer some extra time off to a performance-based bonus. Or maybe, they need to be publicly congratulated for a job well done.
2. Raise excitement for the product
Have you ever tried selling something you don't care about? Your lackluster feelings are difficult to cover up and the sales process doesn't usually go well. It's hard to be enthusiastic about a product when you don't believe in it. On the other hand, when you can speak from experience... when you love a product because it has worked for you or someone you care about, you're comfortable shouting it from the rooftops.
Keep this in mind when it comes to hiring and training your staff. If you can find salespeople who have used the product, even if they have slightly less experience in a sales role, they may sell with more enthusiasm than someone with tons of sales experience, but no experience with the product.
Once they're already an employee, make sure they're a customer too. If at all possible, give your product to your salespeople to test out with family and friends. Let them see for themselves how incredibly amazing your product or service is, so they can then become a raving fan.
3. Provide them with product training
The only thing worse than not being excited about your product is not knowing enough about it. Imagine that you sit down with a potential customer or client. You give your pitch and then they start asking questions. So many questions. So many questions that you can't answer. Now, on top of being worried that you won't get the sale, you feel stupid for not knowing your product inside and out.
Don't do this to your employees. Make sure that they receive the product training necessary for them to fully understand and explain what they have to sell. When a new product is rolled out, provide them with the proper training before you ask them to hit the ground.
4. Provide them with sales training
As you saw earlier, most salespeople are merely order takers. When a potential customer is in front of them, they are able to log whatever products or services they'd like to purchase. They may even be able to slightly upsell them. However, what will they do when faced with the need to make cold calls? What will they do when they face objections for potential clients? Do they have the knowledge and skills to be a true salesperson?
Provide enough training that your employees can approach any sales situation with enthusiasm and confidence, and the techniques necessary to handle any situation.
5. Recognize their achievements
Does it sound crazy to reward someone for not reaching their goals? What if they've come a lot closer to hitting them than they've ever come before?
While it's great to reward goals that have been met, don't forget to positively reinforce improvement. When an employee is doing their best... and getting better, yet they are still penalized for not making their goals, the result will be a disheartened employee who stops trying. When you congratulate them on stepping up and then give them more tools they need to succeed, you'll be met with gratitude and enthusiasm (not to mention a better future month or quarter).
Taking your salespeople to the next level will take patience, dedication, and some hard work. Thankfully, you are perfect for the job! Support your employees with positive reinforcement and education, and come next review period, you'll all be celebrating rock star sales numbers.