Although there are other mistakes that sales managers and teams can make, we’re going to look at four common mistakes we encounter on consulting projects with alarming frequency:
- Not Focusing on Recruiting
- Not Knowing Who Your High Potential Prospects Are
- Poor Utilization of Training Resources
- Not Building a High Intensity Practice Culture
- Not Focusing on Recruiting
The best sales managers are always looking for and recruiting high-potential team members. They have a list of people they’d like to hire and work that list the same way their people work their list of prospects. Bringing on new talent is absolutely critical. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I have a list of at least 3 people I’d like to hire in the next hiring cycle?
- Have I spoken with each of these 3 people in the last 60 days?
- Do I have a recruiting plan I’m following in terms of a way to meet good new high-potential team members?
Not Knowing Who Your High-Potential Prospects Are
The best sales managers we meet are often those that are very aware of who the highest potential prospects are in their territory. They know who they want their salespeople to schedule appointments with—because they pay attention.
When I start a new project with a sales team, I always sit down with the sales manager and ask him/her who are the 20 highest potential prospects they’re focused on? When they have to get back to me on this (translation: they have to look in the CRM or send out an email to their salespeople), I generally find they’re not performing well. There are exceptions, of course, but generally speaking the sales managers that know who those top target prospects, are and are forcing their salespeople to focus not them, get better results.
Poor Utilization of Training Resources
The best sales managers make it a high priority to make sure their people get good training. This is often a tough task. Whether it means working closely with the internal sales trainers or searching hard for the right sales training consultant or company, they put a lot of time into making sure the training is high quality, relevant and frequent.
Sales managers build their teams with training and coaching. Unless you are a monster recruiter, and have a lot of flexibility with compensation and incentives, training is the most important tool you have to improve your team’s performance. Training is best when it’s frequent, tailored to your product/service, and has a high degree of coaching in it.
The good news is, there are a lot of very good training consultants out there that sales managers can use to put together tailored training and coaching follow-up. They can be expensive, which is why the SalesGym was created. It dramatically lowers the cost of time-spaced, high intensity, practice coaching. However you do this, it is critical to realize that a strong sales trainer is an essential element of building a great sales team. Without one, you are like a football coach without other coaches to run practices.
Not Building a High Intensity Practice Culture
When it comes to sales managers, the best of the best build skills practice into the culture of their sales team. They practice in the car, in sales meetings, and on the phone with their sales people. They ask to hear elevator speeches, the first 60 seconds of the first contact pitches, value propositions, and differentiating statements. They listen, coach, demonstrate, and practice. Practice is motivating. It builds good habits and creates the environment for sales teams to rapidly improve.
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