It is only very rarely in my experience a great sales hunter can make the transition from sales person to sales leader. More likely is the transition from sales farmer to sales leader but this is of course a little bit of a generalization. I believe you can do anything you set your mind to but I also strongly believe and practice doing stuff I like doing and working with others that are good at doing the things I do not enjoy.
The challenge for a sales hunter quite often is a monetary one. Often the successful hunter has grown accustom to the highs and lows of achieving targets, likes being the winner on the sales table, enjoys taking the public appreciation and often has built up earnings that exceed those of the Sales Manager? I am sure this rings a bell with company founders whom are often their best sales people in the early days and then massively struggle with having to give up that role to concentrate on the wider concerns of business growth and development as a company needs to develop platforms for fast growth and systems and processes. I remember this being a most challenging time in my own company’s development.
Start I think with having the right systems and processes for the sales of your product clearly defined. Build a sales bible of the way you go about lead qualification, focusing on the right customers, not all, learning how to say “no” to the wrong type of business that does not complement the company strategy and get down in templates, frameworks and check lists things you do by habit that allow you to strongly convert sales. Get your pitch videoed? (Hideously uncomfortable.) Once all this is in place and perfected and maps the whole sales order process, then you are ready to employ more sales people and step up into sales leadership?
Setting ground rules during the recruitment process for high expectations, the results you have to achieve to keep your job in sales and the targets process and linked rewards system will quickly allow you to weed out those that will not perform in a pressured environment. Ask testing questions around the topics of competition, looking for those that have worked hard, like to win, are efficient, like maths all these things are important parts of the skill sets of sales people who can succeed. If you wish to shortcut the best way to grow a sales person, employ the best from the competition and manage them with clear expectations.
Sometimes a daily check up for priorities can help in sales leadership but that I think is over management after a period. Certainly a weekly review of prospects listed on a CRM (Customer Relationship Management software which has to be part of your sales process should be mandatory and input still kept to a minimum but get these priorities right.) Monthly review of the whole sales teams performance booked and set in diary stone months in advance and certainly in bigger sales force environments a quarterly templated presentation like www.companyshortcuts.com will be powerful ways of managing performance.
Success tips for sales
- Get them up and running fast by helping them convert their first order.
- Shadow you on sales trips, brilliant early learning help and fast start awareness of what the systems and processes are .
- Have a sales person in early phase of induction be the ORDER sheet so they appreciate the whole system of sales all the way through collections.
- If possible be a “salve for a day” for the customer as we did in housekeeping so they appreciate the role of the person they are selling to .
- Be very clear about the role of a sales person. The harder they work the more they make you and your company. Approve no ceiling on earnings and do encourage sales to know the ways they can impact profitability and duck and dive to get deals within clear barriers for target customers.
I do believe in sharing sales performance daily against agreed achievable targets around the whole company. I believe in sales team floors having sales target boards around them and ways of celebrating booked orders (strangle the toy- dancing – chicken has remained a favourite for amusement but others bang a gong, press a bell, some even have disco lighting and a banging of the desks as a recognition of success.)
The sales leader has to celebrate others success, build a momentum of expectations for the work effort and continually review sales skills and learning opportunities. Internal review of overcoming objections is very powerful at building the momentum of your sales machine. Do not allow the sales team nevertheless to become the prima donna’s of the organization. Everyone in the company plays their part on the successful growth of the company.
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