Most organizations have already developed specific targets, plans, and initiatives that will accelerate their success this year and beyond. However, achieving these new sales targets and getting your sales team to their next level can become a significant challenge. Here are three keys to leveling up your sales team.
To get your sales team to the next level, you need the ideal sales leader, right? Typically, you'll see a sales leader who:
Those are great things, right? But what if they also:
Now that sales leader may not look so great, right? Those negative traits can really hinder your sales team and lead to lost revenue, low morale, and even low employee retention.
The best CEOs know the importance of hiring the right sales leader. The leader needs to strike the right balance between encouraging the top performers and providing a strong accountability culture.
According to Forbes, "34% and nearly two-thirds of that churn is a result of ’involuntary turnover.’" That same research suggested that "one in 10 companies has a sales turnover rate above 55%. And lastly, that compares to the turnover of all jobs at 17.8%."
Hiring and interviewing, developing systems and processes, driving accountability, communicating progress, addressing conflict and friction, and more.
Both roles – that of sales leader and salesperson – have vastly different strengths and skills. However, when you are looking to level up your sales team, the sales leader position is one of the most critical roles you will have in your company. So whether you are looking to hire new or promote from within your own sales team, you'll want to look at the specifics of what you need and dig deep to ensure your candidate meets your requirements.
The second key to leveling up your sales team is your sales process and systems.
A well-defined sales process will help you scale your business. It is made of a set of repeatable steps that a salesperson takes to bring a prospective buyer from the early stage of awareness to a closed sale.
A good sales process should be defined, have good leading and lagging indicators, and include accountability measures.
Every company is unique and will have different steps. However, for each stage of your sales process, there are a few things you need to define, such as:
What is the goal of this step? To learn, discover, measure, etc.?
What activities happen at each stage? Information gathering, meetings with decision-makers, making materials, etc.?
Are there tools you use? ROI calculator, decks, single-page slides, etc.?
What are the toll gates? How do you know when it’s OK to move on to the next step in the process? Until you have completed all your discovery, until the customer has agreed to a demo with the decision-makers, etc.?
After defining the sales process, you'll likely want to document it and reinforce it. If you don't have your defined sales process followed by your sales team, you'll never hit that next level of growth with your sales team.
The last key to getting your sales team to level up is your role in the organization. Your job is to help your sales leader build a scalable engine that is not dependent on you.
Here are a few easy ways to aid your sales leader to level up your sales team.
Start with tracking whether one-on-one meetings between your sales leader and their sales team are happening. Then, hold your sales leader accountable to them – make them report out their team's progress during your one-on-one.
The next one ties nicely to holding your sales leader accountable with their team one-on-one. Ask your sales leader about team development. Every salesperson should continue to improve personally, tactically, strategically, etc. To start, find out the challenges of each salesperson and what your sales leader is doing about it. Then, how are they tracking progress?
Lastly, keep your meetings with your sales leader. Use a structured agenda with items you want to cover and recognize progress. This keeps you both aligned and focused on the same goals.
You can do several things to help the sales process and level up your sales team.
Start by assessing if you have been clear with the sales leader about the impact of not having a sales process and why they may want to improve it. Next, start by setting expectations about the need for the sales process. Then, have your sales leader present your options and set a timeline for implementation.
Next, determine if your sales leader knows how or whether they need help with the process or system area. For example, does the sales leader know HOW to define and implement a sales process? Have they done it before? Help them plan it. Understand the reinforcement plan.
Check to see if they have the right tools, resources, and adequate time to do this. Then, free them up from other duties/meetings to prioritize it.
Lastly, determine how you will follow up with them to see if they are doing it. Have them show you their progress and how it is working. Reinforce progress and process with the team.
The three keys to leveling up your sales team are your sales leader, your systems and processes, and your role. Your sales leader plays a critical role in your ability to grow and scale. However, things that got you to where you are today may not get you where you want to go.