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Sales Strategy & Management

Build the Ultimate Sales Team

Building a power sales team does not happen overnight. Putting the right candidate in the correct position is the most crucial responsibility for any business owner and demands a mental commitment to doing things properly.

Warren Moss

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Don’t waste your time (or anyone else’s) by doing things half-heartedly. In most cases you won’t get the right answers.

Understand your office ethos before you hire. Traditionally your boiler room-type sales team works well when it comes to selling packaged products, but when it comes to strategy or services, the relationship-type sales team will surely take you further.

Your team is the sum total of your selections. You need to know who you want and why. Of course there’s value in hiring the well-connected and experienced heavy hitters, but your sales team might just need an injection of new blood.

Fresh, hungry graduates understand the need to perform in this highly competitive industry. A combination of veteran and new kids on the block will ensure you have the best of both.

Here are the five core ingredients that I have found make a difference when growing a great sales team.

1. Start with the right people.

People are at the heart of sales so invest time and patience. Six months is a fair time to let someone prove their mettle. Seek out your employees’ strengths. You need people who can open doors and establish new relationships.

And then there’s bull terrier or Jewish Mama tenacity – the ability to hang on for as long as you need to. Although we’d put our money on Jewish Mama any day.

This is the truest test of resilience. Can you hang in there? Can you get up after being knocked down again and again? Can you take the knocks and rise to the occasion with enough finesse that no one could consider saying no to you. Can you find a way to the ball if all you have is a pumpkin?

2. Train your team.

Training your team is as important as hiring so it’s critical that as a business owner you take the reins when it comes to showing them the ropes. It’s about product training, company process and role-play, and no one understands your business’s nuances better than you do.

Teach your team to get leads by understanding the angle. People who are good at canvassing know who they are looking for – position your service or product as the customer’s solution before they ask for one.

3. Develop rhythm.

As people we’re creatures of habit. Sales meetings need to be regular. In an environment where meeting or missing targets could define tomorrow, people need to feel like the boss is on their side. Use this regular time to discuss those targets and incentives, offer the advice and wisdom that put you at the helm of the ship in the first place.

The success of a good boardroom manner is a dash of schizophrenia. When someone drops the ball you need to let them and the rest of the team feel the sting of your disappointment, but in the same breath congratulate and applaud those who exceed expectations. Set the tone.

Sales incentives work but only to a point. If you want to see people push their own boundaries then try more high fives. People are driven by different forces so get to know them. For some it’s money, for others the challenge or the recognition. Everyone has a different carrot.

4. Create the right work environment.

Is your work environment conducive to your staff’s best performance? The open-plan office is both competitive and collaborative in driving people to work harder and smarter. It’s a set-up designed to breed excellence.

5.  Preparation is key.

Instil respect amongst your team for all meetings. Don’t allow them to burn through leads – prepare properly. If you can’t get a meeting this week push for next week – but make it happen. Remember, no pressure, no diamonds.

Finally, as a business owner who is also the sales manager, know your leadership style. Some demand respect while others lead by example.

The above is a solid recipe to building your dream sales team, but the key ingredient is emotional intelligence. Does your team have the ability and correct level of EQ to really read a situation; to adjust their own approach in dealing most effectively with the needs and emotional level of others? As the boss, best you make sure.

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Super-Size those Sales. This is What You Need to Know

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Warren Moss is the founder and CEO of Demographica, a leading digital email and SMS advertising company that represents an audience of over 22 million consumers. Demographica makes use of email and SMS marketing as a way of branding, marketing, advertising, customer acquisition and sales, carries the DMA's Centre of Excellence certification and has won numerous awards for its work in digital direct marketing. As a natural born entrepreneur, Warren was a finalist for the ABSA Jewish Entrepreneur Award and a finalist in the ICT Young Entrepreneur of Africa Award. Follow him on Twitter at @warrenmoss

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Sales Strategy & Management

(Podcast) Are All Prices Negotiable?

Person, socialisation, product, place – what are the key differentiating factors between those who negotiate price and those who don’t? And who determines the value of a product?

Nicholas Haralambous

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What is up for negotiation? When should you be negotiating prices, and when should you be open to negotiating prices with your customers?

Person, socialisation, product, place – what are the key differentiating factors between those who negotiate price and those who don’t? And who determines the value of a product?

Listening time: 8 minutes

Related: (Podcast) Phone Calls Often Solve Email Problems

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Sales Strategy & Management

Sales Leadership: The New Frontier

The Leadership skill of Influencing people increasingly trumps “hard selling techniques” as people enjoy the feeling that they are forced into buying a certain product less and less.

Dirk Coetsee

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“Once upon a time only certain people were in sales. Every day, these folks sold stuff, the rest of us did stuff, and everyone was happy. One day, the world began to change. More of us started working for ourselves- and because we were entrepreneurs, suddenly we became salespeople, too. At the same time, large operations discovered that segmenting job functions did not work very well during volatile business conditions-and because of that, they began demanding elastic skills that stretched across boundaries and included a sales component.” – Daniel Pink

The transformation of sales persons to Sales Leaders is not only the essence of this article but increasingly becoming a necessity, considering the skills demand required to convince people to buy your product or service within an modern environment wherein the consumer is spoilt for choice.

Related: 3 Strategies For Closing Sales Without Picking Up The Phone

In general staples in the make up of old school sales training was and in some cases still is: Product knowledge, fielding sales calls in a friendly way yet creating urgency, learning the ability to overcome client objections and of course do not forget the all-important methods of upselling.

All those elements of selling are still important in general yet “soft skills” such as active listening, handling conflict, and above all removing the emphasis from selling a product or service to selling an enhanced lifestyle or life experience has become the new frontier for the sales game.

The Leadership skill of Influencing people increasingly trumps “hard selling techniques” as people enjoy the feeling that they are forced into buying a certain product less and less. The “parrot method” of drilling sales scripts into the salesforce of the company is slowly but surely becoming obsolete as people want to feel that they are being cared about and considered within the sales process as individuals. “Caring for the other person is the only leverage in any conversation”, Gary Vaynerchuk says.

The above theory calls for a balance between Sales Leaders whom inspires their sales teams to create a personal, professional, and vibrant environment for their customers wherein which they are highly motivated to buy, and Sales managers whom monitor the key sales metrics and checks that sales procedures are being followed. In the modern world both Sales Leadership and management are needed at each end of the balancing scale.

Still, to this day an unfortunate large proportion of sales people are like lambs put to the slaughter, within some situations, as the only weapon taught to them is product knowledge and wearing a smile and then suddenly a very unhappy customer unleashes their anger upon them, and now the poor sales person has no knowledge in terms of how to deal with conflict, generally speaking. How to cope with and overcome conflict and other negotiation skills has become paramount in sustaining very good client relations.

Ethical Leadership is also strongly put forward as a necessary component of any sales training or course through this article. Sales techniques filtered through the companies Vision, mission statement and value system to test its validity and alignment to the companies’ culture can be increasingly effective as opposed to simply applying generic methods of selling which is not always aligned to the company ethos. A high level of ethics amongst Sales Leaders can ensure that after sales promises are kept and that the product sold is in effect as good as propagated by the sales person.

Related: The 5 Best Actions You Can Take To Improve Sales Calls

When a servant leadership culture is prevalent within your company it goes a long way to ensure that your sales people create a caring and positive experience complimented by an enhanced after sales service. Servant Leadership within a sales context is to put the customers’ and teams’ purpose above the individual team members purpose and that by itself is a potential multiplier of sales performance.

A highly important factor within the context of sales performance is the sales Leaders’ ability to formulate the right questions to be asked of the client in order to create a very pleasant experience. Statements in general can be quite dangerous as it is normally viewed as final and very hard to take back once communicated. Questions on the other hand requires an answer and when posed in a caring way can quickly establish rapport with a client.

Subtle nuances picked up by the Sales Leader through asking the right questions can greatly assist in creating positive client engagement. A practical example would be to refrain from the very obvious question of:  how are you? People are so used to being asked this question that they are not likely to give you a very open and honest answer and will be likely to provide you with very generic answers such as, “Fine thank you, “Well thanks and you”, and so forth.

By very simply changing the question to: “How are you feeling today? “, the very perceptive Sales Leader can relatively easily pick up on the client’s emotional state and adjust the conversation from there in order to create rapport.

In Summary, this writing actually asks one question to all CEOs’ and/or boards that must take their companies forward towards a desired future state: Do you want sales people and managers whom are likely to maintain the status quo, or do you seek Sales Leaders whom will challenge the status quo and will always be willing to ask more of themselves in terms of increased skill levels and performance?

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Sales Strategy & Management

You Have Less Than 7 Weeks Left To Turn Your 2017 Around

Implement these 5 steps and achieve 2017 revenue targets and set up a great start to 2018.

Charles Hsuan

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It’s no secret that 2017 has been tough for the majority, with less than 7 weeks to go before business winds up for the year. I’ve summarised an effective sales plan that will help you accelerate your way to success before the year ends.

Referred to as the “championship rounds” in boxing, the last few meters of a 100M sprint, be smart with the last bit of mental energy you have left and sell, sell, sell.

Implement these 5 steps and achieve 2017 revenue targets and set up a great start to 2018.

1Be Laser Focused on Your Customers

You’ll never be one size fits all to everyone, review your client base and define 3 to 5 groups of customers that your business serves, and solves problems for.

Grouping Map

  • Customers that behave similarly, have similar problems and face similar circumstances.
  • Define the groups by age, volume, category, geographic location, and similar demographics. The more components you assign to each group, the better you understand them, and effectively communicate your services to them, ultimately solving their pain points.
  • Personalise with a name it e.g. Sarah is a 30-year-old white collar worker that lives in the urban area, earns R30 000 a month in household income, she sends money back home each month “Black Tax” to support family members that lives in a rural area.

Related: Have We Lost Our Face-To-Face Sales Ability?

2What Goes Through Their Minds Before Making a Purchase?

  • Whether it’s subconscious or psychological, people buy solutions to problems, especially in a tight economy.
  • In order to stay relevant to your customers yesterday today and tomorrow. Continue to evolve and develop your products and services to ensure you are solutions driven.

3Build The Right Pitch

As each of your customer group face their unique challenges. Build a pitch that positions your communication for each customer group to maximise effectiveness.

Follow these 5 important pitch building steps

  • Who is the consumer?
  • What is the pain point that you’re looking to solve?
  • What is the setback for your consumer to not have that pain point solved?
  • What do you do to solve that pain point?
  • What is the result for your consumer, of having that pain point solved?

Once you’ve built the pitch, utilising them adequately, and start selling!

4Implement Your Strategy

This revenue-generating strategy has 2 aspects: hunting (Active) and farming (Reactive)

  • Hunting takes on the form of outbound action. Searching, meeting and engaging with your potential clients. In short, stepping out and finding your customers.
  • Farming is more reactive, it is known as inbound selling. You farm by leaving breadcrumbs that lead your customers towards your services. This is done by generating practical content and using digital platforms to attract attention towards your services or products.
  • Build a calendar for your hunting and farming activities, for the next 12 weeks, and specify tasks for each day.

Related: Savvy Sales Skills To Grow Your Franchise Footprint

5Execute, Measure, Adjust

  • Hunting: Make 10 calls before 10 am each day, make use of a sales script, this forms part of your daily activities.
  • Farming: Schedule a week’s worth of social media content to post.
  • After week one find out which group gives you the best response, tweak it & carrying on.

This plan will help you to notice which approaches yield the best results. You’re able to remove what doesn’t work and focus your time on what leads to the most sales. May this help you turn the last 7 weeks of the business year into a profitable one.

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