One of the burning questions that just about every entrepreneur wonders about is how to get more out of their sales team. And it only makes sense. If you can get more out of them, it will translate to more money in your pocket. But deciding on the right road to take to get there is not always clear cut – at least not for most people.
The Wrong Path
What you don’t want to do is exactly the approach that most businesses take. They take their best sales person and promote them to be the sales manager of the department or team. Now, I recognize that this is the natural course of things. The best sales person needs to get promoted, and it seems that there is no better-suited position than that of management. But, lo and behold, as soon as you do that, things fall apart.
This route to sales success does not work. Why? Because your best sales performer is no longer selling. Instead, their efforts are focused on getting other people to sell. And now, to make matters worse, they are managing people – something they are probably not well-suited to do. It stands to reason that your sales are going to suffer, as are employee relations in the sales department.
If you look at it in terms of other fields, it is clear to see why this strategy doesn’t work. Could you imagine taking the star running back from your football team and telling him to stop running and, instead, to walk the sidelines and coaching the less capable players? He would spend his time giving the ball to the worst players on the team! Chances are, you would lose every game. Well, the same principle holds true in the sales world.
The Right Path
There is a better strategy for increasing your sales, one that works. The key to that sales success is this:
- Take your best sales person and focus all your efforts on them. Since they are selling well already, you need to help them sell more. Have the other “players” block for this person. Have them do all the dirty work. Shoot, even you should be doing the dirty work. But, whatever you do, let your best sales person focus on selling bigger and bigger projects.
- Consider getting rid of the worst sales people. Now, before you get your feathers all ruffled, understand that this does not mean you should just start firing people at random. Instead, give them ample time to learn what it is that you do. But once a sales person understands your operation, pay close attention to their performance. Typically, I find that a sales person should have a competent grasp of your business and offerings within 90 days. If they can’t keep up, it is a bad business move to keep them on and continue doing the work for them.
- Hire a sales manager. By this, I mean a real manager, not a glorified sales person. The roles are way different! A sales manager is a manager of people. This person should know how to motivate the team and get the best out of them, and should also know how to blast any road blocks out of their way.
Growing Sales Figures
If you have been running your sales department the wrong way, it is time to take a serious look at making an adjustment. Get your star player off the bench or sideline and put them back out on the field, where they can be much more valuable to the team. Once you do that, things should fall into place, and you will have the increase in sales you are looking for.