Sales management is a very demanding job, especially when you’re juggling the duties of hiring, training, motivating, babysitting and being an in-house psychologist. The only thing your boss notices, however, is whether or not you hit budget. Just as Cuba Gooding Jr. challenges Ray in Jerry McGuire to “show me the money,” your boss demands results. After studying hundreds of sales managers in diverse environments, here’s what all quota-busting managers have in common:
1. Hire Slowly, Fire Quickly
According to a recent article in the Harvard Business Review, a bad sales hire can cost you between $30,000 and $75,000, not to mention the opportunity costs of an under-performing salesperson. Multiply that by 30, then by 3,000, and you can figure out the rest. One of the biggest mistakes sales managers make is once they’ve made a bad hire, they hang on to the floundering salesperson far too long. After all, they’ve invested time, relationship and ego. Decide what your acceptable minimum performance standards are, and stick to them, before you get emotionally invested in a salesperson’s success, determine how many leads they must convert, what closing percentage they must maintain, at what point you offer additional coaching, and at what point you suggest a job in customer service.
2. Follow Daily and Weekly Routines
We’ve all heard that success is predicated on successful habits, but how do you create a habit? Twyla Tharp, perhaps the world’s most accomplished choreographer, wakes up at 5:30 AM every day, hails a cab and heads to the Pumping Iron Gym.
There’s no such thing as natural talent or luck when it comes to leading a team. A vital role for sales managers is to establish rituals that will build a strong team and develop individual skills. Some good examples are:
- Hold 15-minute sales meetings every morning at a consistent time, say 8:00 AM.
- Practice one new skill each day.
- Hold individual performance reviews the first Monday of each quarter.
- Celebrate success with a night out, a family BBQ in the park, or a team ball game.
- Shadow (ride-along, observe) all salespeople at least once per month. Use a standard evaluation form and offer feedback based on specific metrics and behaviors.
3. Keep Consistency
The consistency, preparedness and passion you put into your management process will be duplicated by your team in their sales process.
Sure, you’re in a bad mood sometimes; you may have a headache or you’re battling challenges at home. After all, you’re human too. But your team needs a consistent leader; otherwise you’re apt to influence the moods and performance of others. Remember, emotions are contagious. Sales leader, Colleen Stanley, calls this phenomenon “emotional contagion.” She says the dictionary describes it as “the tendency to feel and express emotions similar to, and influenced by, those of others.” It’s often been referred to as “one bad apple spoils the whole bunch.”
Your sales team needs inspiration, motivation and leadership. Make it a goal to lead with consistency, regardless of your external world. You may find that when you focus on your team, rather than negative feelings, you’ll experience a boomerang effect. After all, when we focus outward we’re rewarded inward.
4. Leverage Technology
According to research, the average millennial changes devices 25 times per non-working hour. Too many training programs today employ the old whiteboard and long, drawn-out product explanations. These techniques simply don’t work with younger salespeople. Meet them where they are. Bring your training to their devices so they can learn where and when they want in short powerful modules. If you don’t offer them education the way they want it, someone else will.
5. Lead More, Do Less
A top rep leaves the office and says, says “I killed it today.” A great sales manager says “my team killed it today.” Managers must have genuine passion for helping and leading others. They must be willing to step away from the spotlight. When a sales manager is more drawn to the thrill of closing a deal than teaching their team how to close the deal, they’re probably better off as a rep. And that’s just fine; not all high-performing reps should be managers.
Hitting budget is more about focusing on the right things than focusing on many things. As author and motivational speaker, Jim Rohn said, “We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret or disappointment.”
To learn more about the type of learning that will attract, train, and retain your future sales stars, contact us here for a free demo of Levitin Learning.