It has always been important to have strong leadership in place to cultivate strong company culture and increase the effectiveness of a business. I’ve seen firsthand that this is especially true for sales teams, as they tend to have a very direct impact on the overall success of their company. Here are five tips from my own experience for building a winning sales team that will boost your business and your bottom line.
- Cast Vision
First and foremost, any team needs a vision to keep it moving and keep it healthy. Good leaders and managers take their own strong sense of that vision and help translate it to their team to give them energy and a root motivation behind what they do. If you’re wondering how exactly “vision” fits into the world of a sales team, you’re not alone. Plenty of people have a perception of vision casting that looks somewhat vague. But in my experience, it’s just as relevant to sales as it is to any other department.
Sales teams have an incredible opportunity to resource and help support countless other businesses and individuals who need their products. By filtering the nitty-gritty tasks of phone calls and follow-ups through the lens of serving others and resourcing them, we as team leaders can help shape both quality individuals and excellent salespeople.
- Communicate Well
It almost goes without saying that a successful manager will be a strong communicator, but it never hurts to be reminded of this simple truth. If you’re trying to build a sales team that wins, you have to be on the same page with them and they have to know that you mean what you say.
When it comes to communicating with any team, it’s important to know how to meet each person where they are as an individual. Know how each person on your team best receives information and feedback, and use that knowledge to best communicate. A once-size-fits-all mentality can quickly cause a breakdown in communication.
Another aspect of communicating well with your salespeople is balancing your delegation with intentional collaboration and involvement with their work. That might mean taking the time to ask your team members where they’re hitting roadblocks. It might also mean tackling the difficult task of revisiting roles and expectations to make sure everyone is on the same page. Again, different employees will need to be led differently in order for them to perform at their best, so we as managers need to exercise intuition in how we check in on our team members.
- Measure Results
Hand-in-hand with good communication is the ability to give honest assessments. One of the keys to taking stock of results and using that data to spur your sales team forward is knowing what the key metrics are that you’re looking for in the first place.
I’ve found that identifying measurable goals from the outset for a team can take the guesswork out of evaluations later on. It’s not that you’re trying to arm yourself with data to hold over your employees’ heads. It’s about setting realistic and concrete expectations and thereby equipping your team even while holding them accountable. Take advantage of the fact that sales is an area of business that is particularly measurable.
- Be a Resource
Another key to building any successful team is resourcing team members with what they need to succeed. This is fleshed out in several ways. Your sales associates need to know that they can come to you with questions and get real, practical answers that will help them take the next step. It’s not that we as managers need to be the smartest people in the room; that’s simply not always going to be true! It’s really about being the most prepared person in the room so that team members can have confidence in their leadership and lines of communication will stay open.
Another aspect of resourcing your team is literally carving out the energy, time, and money it takes from the budget to make unique and effective training happen. Conferences and networking events abound that are full of wisdom and connections for anyone looking to learn, but you can’t expect every salesperson in your company to take the initiative. Empower your people with opportunities to get out of the office and get fresh insight that can have a direct impact on their effectiveness for your business.
- Model Time Management
It is difficult to overstate how absolutely central time management is for a team to reach its highest potential. In a field like sales, there’s often a built-in element of working at one’s own pace to a certain extent, and that flexibility can be a wonderful thing. But for some team members, it can become a huge barrier to getting the job done.
To build a winning sales team, then, you need to both demonstrate and set an expectation for good time management. I’ve found that some salespeople are creative, collaborative, and fully capable in countless other aspects of their job, but they can still struggle with deadlines and frustrate their coworkers due to a lack of time management. As a team builder, you need to cultivate both excellence in your own time management and consistency in your follow-through. By doing so, you’ll set yourself up for success in holding your team accountable. Regardless of natural tendencies, any person can learn the time management skills needed to develop strong productivity at work.
Be a Lifelong Learner
On top of these five tips, I have to say that to help take your sales team reach its fullest potential, you need to embrace being a lifelong learner. Cultivating a thirst for knowledge is so important both for professional success and personal fulfillment. The more we understand the world around us and how to best interact with the people in our sphere of influence, the better prepared we are to have a positive impact and leave a great legacy everywhere we work and serve.
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