If your company is a car, your sales team is the gas pedal. It moves the company forward and it thrives under pressure, so you may be tempted to floor the gas and surge ahead. But we know people aren’t machinery, and the last thing you want to do is put so much force on your team that they break in frustration!
Here are some methods we’ve found that will bring out the best in your sales department:
Make it fun. Have a simple friendly competition. Set a goal (first person to 10 sales, first person to net $100,000 worth of sales) and a prize ($100, best parking space, flowers, one day of paid vacation, gift cards) and watch the excitement build. The better the prize, the more enthusiastic the participants will be! One caveat: Don’t let the competition drag on for too long. The wider the gap between the leaders and the stragglers, the less effort will be made by both.
Involve everyone. Build up your team’s momentum by getting the whole company invested! Try Fantasy Sales Team, a software program acquired by Microsoft in 2015. Just like in fantasy sports, participants “draft” members of your sales team to form a “fantasy” team that moves up or down in the rankings depending on how each member performs.
Use your stars. Do you have one key player that consistently produces the most sales? Ask them to give a talk about their methods to the rest of the team. Your top salesperson not only understands the same basic sales principles as everyone else, but he or she has learned the optimal way to weave them into your particular product or service for maximum effect. These are tried and true methods. In addition, your team will enjoy hearing from “one of their own.”
Practice mock pitches. Do some role play. “Let’s pretend…I’ll be the salesperson and you be the target consumer.” It seems silly, but it can be a great way to learn the finer points of effective sales conversations. Your people need to be trained to respond to anything, and practicing internally is a great way to get fired up for conversations with clients!
Don’t be a dictator. As much as it can be given, grant autonomy to your team. Yes, everyone should be communicating and working together – but if there is one department that shouldn’t be micromanaged, it’s sales. A sales position requires creativity, and creativity requires the removal of red tape. Show your team that you trust them: Provide partnership and support.
Give them what they’re selling. Do you really believe that your product or service is amazing? If possible or applicable, give it to your sales reps for their own use. This gives your salespeople personal experience and confidence in the product, and in their conversations with potential clients they can say, “It’s amazing! I use this service myself!”
Your sales team is a group of people who are masters at convincing people to do things. They have a knack for delicately applying the right sort of pressure to achieve the best results. So run these ideas past them. Ask what they think would be most effective. And listen, because they’re probably right!