Let me remind you, the people you hire are your company’s most important asset and should be thought of that way. But how often do we actually practice what we preach?
As important as it is to treat your employees with respect and provide the necessary support to thrive and grow, you also can’t take a one-size-fits-all automated approach when it comes to management—and that’s especially true of your sales team.
Sales = $$$
As the group that drives revenue for your company, your sales team deserves your full attention if you want them to produce results and stick around for the long haul.
This should seem fairly obvious, but it bears repeating. While I don’t want to denigrate the valuable work your other employees provide, sales is one of the only areas of your business that is 100% directly related to your company’s revenue and bottom line.
While some companies may have additional revenue sources—most startups rely almost entirely on sales to start turning a profit. Because of this, the monetary value your sales team adds often serves as one of the key determining factors of whether or not your company will be able to survive and scale—which is why this arm of your business needs to be managed differently.
Oftentimes, startups view their sales teams as a “necessary evil” thinking that the product will do all of the heavy lifting. More than not, that sentiment couldn’t be further from the truth, especially if you’re concentrating on enterprise accounts.
With a rock-solid foundation in place, strong leadership, a stellar product or service—your sales team will be proud to hustle in the trenches to “make it rain” and my what a big difference this makes.
Turn Over Costs Big Bucks
There’s no denying that the process of hiring new people and then providing a meaningful path to success through ongoing training, mentorship and support is quite expensive and time-consuming.
When your employees don’t stick around, you can quickly find yourself feeling significant pain. The damage is detrimental—not just from the time needed to recruit and replace new people that won’t be able to immediately match the results of the talent exiting stage left, but the effect it has on your sales pipeline, customer experience and morale of the team is significant.
While this is true of any part of your company, losing a sales rep can prove to be even more costly. In fact, one estimate determined “that retaining a sales person for three years instead of two, along with better onboarding and management practices, yields a difference of $1.3 million in net value to the company over a three year period.”
When you lose quality sales people, the road ahead is long and arduous. Not only do you have go through the costs of hiring and training again, you have to get them acclimated and ramped up. Depending on your product or service, it can take even the best of sales people six months or longer before they reach their full productivity—if nobody on your team sticks around long enough to reach that point, your company will suffer I’m afraid.
I recently had a conversation with a CEO of an impressive startup. He misfired when hiring a “Player-Coach” last year. Their business was projected to grow 10X. They did less than 4. Yikes!
If you’re constantly focusing your resources into finding new hires, onboarding, and training, how will you ever see a return on your investment?
Ways to Manage Your Sales Team Differently
So now that the importance of your sales team has been made perfectly clear, how do you manage them? How do you treat them in a way that ensures they’ll stay loyal to your company?
Your key to success begins by managing your sales talent differently, and these tips can help you on your way:
• Reward Results: It isn’t enough to simply create a results-driven work environment for your sales team. Top sales reps need to receive credit for solid work. Incentives, bonuses, unexpected tokens of appreciation (they don’t have to be huge by the way, it’s the little things people) and words of congratulations can motivate your team to do their best and build confidence.
• Coaching: Sales reps aren’t looking for a taskmaster—rather, they need a coach who can provide useful, actionable feedback along with the ability to block and tackle to remain focused. As you help your team unlock their potential through continuous training, open communication, and ongoing support to help them thrive and grow, you’ll create an environment where your sales team feels like they’re progressing and truly part of something they’re proud to represent.
• Sales Stack: The more resources you provide your sales reps, the more valued they will feel—and the more they’ll achieve. Remove roadblocks from your team’s path by helping them leverage the latest technology and software. As you invest in tools that make their work more efficient, you illustrate your dedication to their success.
• Transparency: Accountability and transparency go both ways. While your sales reps should be transparent regarding their goals and results, effective leadership needs to be willing to display their own work ethic. This builds trust and can provide extra motivation for your top performers.
Tying It All Together
The way you manage your sales directly impacts on your ability to build lasting success for your company. When you recognize the value your sales team has to offer and manage them properly, you’ll put yourself way ahead of the game.
But I’ve said enough for one post. Now it’s time to hear from you! How have you found success managing your sales reps? What is most effective in your world and why?
As always, I can’t wait to see what you have to say and appreciate the time taken to read this posting!