If you’re managing a sales team, you’ll know that the list of factors which can seriously impact your team’s performance is a long one. For example, you’re at the mercy of both the marketing department and broader market forces. Wider economic cycles can also turn even the most carefully laid sales plans to ashes within months.
With a few years’ experience under your belt though, you’ll gradually become comfortable with the inherent external risk involved in the role and start really focusing on matters under your direct control – leading the team you ultimately rely on.
Performing this role effectively is inevitably going to involve a lot of hands-on participation, feedback and coaching. Done right, you’ll transform average reps into top performers over time. Done wrong, even stellar salespeople will struggle under your command.
Getting great results over time is as much about the things you don’t do as the things you do. Here are four classic mistakes to avoid if you’re heading up a sales team. Remove them from your repertoire and you instantly raise the bar for both yourself and your team:
- Performing Interventions
When real money is on the line and you’re watching one of your team fail on a call, it’s incredibly tempting to play the hero, intervene and save the day. There are times when this will be necessary of course but, if you find you’re repeatedly doing it, you’re storing up trouble and stymieing progress.
Yes, it’s enormously satisfying for your ego to pull one out of the fire but your role is to grow the team’s skillset so these situations don’t arise. You have to have the courage to let your team fail as they learn. It’s the only way you’ll find out if they have what it takes to really make it. Do their job for them and you foster unhealthy dependence – as well as putting a big dent in your own time.
As the team lead you naturally have a wider base of sales knowledge to draw on than many of the people who report to you. Passing nuggets of that hard-earned wisdom on to your employees is a big part of the role.
Don’t go overboard here though. Over-coaching often leads to paralysis and sales is ultimately about being able to creatively react to customer needs. Make sure you’re drilling in principles that can be broadly applied rather than fettering your team with overly prescriptive drills.
- Not Managing Your Reactions
Sales is an emotional, adrenaline-filled business. There are a lot of highs and lows to contend with during the course of the average week and quota pressure is a constant companion. It’s your job as a lead though to respond rather than react.
- Failure To Document
We’ve mentioned that you have to leave room for creativity and flow with your team but process is still key at the end of the day. You and your team should not be flying by the seat of your collective pants, regardless of how talented various team members might be.
Documentation and defined processes are the scaffolding that give you freedom to truly be creative when trying to consistently close sales. Ignore them and you will always be left hoping for that lucky deal to make up the numbers this month, rather than regularly knocking it out of the park.
Your success over time will be measured by the mistakes you consistently don’t make rather than the occasional monster sale. Stick to our tips above and you give you and your team the best chance of effortlessly achieving quota and growing your skills.