If you’re in charge of managing a high-performing sales team, you’re probably aware of the many challenges that you’ll encounter daily. With the hectic pace, the variety of personnel, and quotas to meet, sales management is one of the most difficult occupations.
Managing a Sales Team Effectively
Failure to appropriately tackle these challenges could stymie your company’s efforts from achieving maximum success. You may even experience a less-than-stable work environment. And worst-case scenario, mismanagement can cost you your job.
The following are some of the most common challenges you will encounter as a sales manager. We will then provide tips on how to overcome these challenges effectively.
Sales Team Challenge #1: Attracting and Retaining Talent
Effective sales management is highly dependent on the quality of its personnel. As a manager, you may be experiencing high turnover that hinders your efforts. Or, you may be constantly attracting less than stellar performers. In truth, the best way to attract and retain talent is by setting up incentives and creating a positive work culture.
First, you want to make sure that you’re setting commissions and bonuses at competitive rates. Do some research and try to find the median in your industry’s hiring process – and simply offer more than that. Remember, salespeople are motivated to find better-paying work and stick with companies that help them succeed.
Sales Team Challenge #2: Time Management with Prioritizing
If there’s one resource you wish you could have more for your sales team, it’s time. Unfortunately, there is only so much manpower to accomplish the many tasks throughout the day. This can be a challenge for managers that always feel like they’re falling behind.
The solution? Try to look for more efficient ways of doing tasks that drain your time. If necessary, run down the list of the day’s events and see where there is room for improvement. Chances are, some activities may be mission-critical, but get left behind in favor of other work. For instance, you may have deadlines that could jeopardize a long-term client versus getting your sales team to follow up on new leads. Both tasks take significant amounts of time. But considering that attracting clients takes 5x the effort than holding on to new ones, the choice is clear.
That’s where prioritizing comes in handy. Prioritizing can often seem like choosing between “impossible” situation after “impossible” situation. However, there are usually tasks that must be done for the greater good and longevity of your sales team.
Sales Team Challenge #3: Inspiring a Competitive Team
It may seem like a contradiction, but having a competitive spirit among your sales team is necessary for a high-functioning company. To do this, you’ll need to coach your sales team through constant incentive and thoughtful comparisons between colleagues. After all, most sales reps go into sales in order to actualize their potential, so it’s your responsibility to foster a positive environment.
You’ll want to highlight top-performers and give them the spotlight, while also showing how up-and-comers are able to attain the same success. Bear in mind that what motivates some will not motivate others, so you’ll want to discover what each rep values. Some may be looking for more flexibility to have time off with their family; others may be looking to make as much money as possible. You’ll want to discover what makes your top reps more successful and see what’s holding back under-performers.
Sales Team Challenge #4: Aligning Your Team with Your Marketing Department
For most organizations, your sales team is separate from your marketing team. Because marketing is responsible for attracting new leads and retaining customers, there may be a disconnect between the two. After all, they’re on the front lines – whereas the marketing department serves as support staff.
As a manager, you should have regular meetings with your company’s marketing team just like you do with your sales team. You’ll want to make sure that your marketing team is united around common goals so that your sales team is better served. For instance, your marketing department may be focusing on social media ads, whereas your demanding better online catalogs for clients to place consistent orders. By ensuring that these goals are aligned, you help avoid miscommunication and wasted effort that doesn’t serve the company.
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