Most senior executives and sales leaders focus on what they should be doing right. That’s a good thing, of course. But often your sales team can be successful by just focusing on what not to do wrong!
So – here are 10 tips for creating a successful sales team, especially for newly minted sales leaders. Together, they can help you
- avoid major mistakes and
- put yourself in position to focus on the right things.
In no particular order:
1 Don’t Waste Your Most Valuable Resources: Time and Money
Insist on a disciplined approach to deal qualification, and ensure that your prospects fit your
- business strategy,
- go-to-market strategy, and
- preferred client profile.
Every hour and dollar spent chasing unqualified or one-off prospects can never be recovered!
2 Don’t Sell What You Can’t Deliver
The quickest way to kill your sales reputation is to sell something that you can’t deliver.
Word spreads rapidly in the marketplace if you botch delivery of what you’ve sold – even if there are reasonable justifications.
The successful sales team knows the difference between stretching your delivery team to step up to the plate and selling something you (and they) truly know is beyond your company’s capabilities.
3 Don’t Accept Mediocrity at Any Level
When it comes to proposals, presentations, or even the talent you have on the field, don’t accept mediocrity.
Every document, presentation or face-to-face interaction is a unique opportunity to impress your prospect.
As a sales leader or business owner, set the standard for demanding quality rather than quantity.
To have a successful sales team, don’t let subpar performers or subpar materials sabotage your sales efforts. Unfortunately, this means you may have to make some tough decisions along the way, but it will be worth it in the end.
4 Don’t Be Hard to Do Business With
This may or may not be totally within your control, but it’s within the control of someone in your company.
Common deal killers include
- unrealistic expectations,
- unreasonable terms and conditions,
- heavy-handed legal demands, and
- inflexible financial constraints.
If you live in this world, you’re constantly fighting an uphill battle that will take its toll in the end. So do everything in your power to make sure you and your company’s senior leadership understand how these behaviors can undermine your sales growth.
5 Don’t Try to Get By on the Cheap
Underinvestment in sales resources is common, especially in small and medium sized businesses. You cannot build a successful sales team with
- inadequate compensation plans,
- lack of investment in sales tools and infrastructure (especially CRM), and
- poor sales operations/support resources.
These are sure signs your company isn’t investing properly in its sales function. Demand your fair share!
6 Don’t Ignore Marketing: Marketing is Your Friend
Marketing and sales have always been joined at the hip, and this is even more evident in the social media age.
You don’t want silos, but some companies still don’t understand the different ways they work together and depend on each other. It may take some education of senior leadership to drive the point home.
Everyone needs to recognize that investments in inbound marketing, lead generation and outbound marketing create qualified leads that can dramatically improve the performance and productivity of your sales organization.
7 Don’t Confuse Activity With Results
As tempting as it might be, don’t be misled by the activity of your sales organization versus the results they produce.
The number of cold calls and meetings, the time spent out of the office, client meals and entertainment expenses, and proposals made are all great, but only to a point.
Develop a plan with each member of your sales team so that they are performing meaningful activities that will deliver the results needed.
Being diligent about separating generic activities from true revenue-driving activities helps you grow the successful sales team your business can thrive on.
8 Don’t Assume You Have a Good Sales Culture: It Takes Work
How do you know if your sales culture is good?
It takes tremendous focus to truly create a positive sales culture.
For example, to build a strong sales culture, you must
- have the right leadership with supportive senior management,
- hire the right kind of people,
- create a positive working environment,
- support each other,
- implement appropriate compensation plans,
- instill a “team first” mentality, and
- develop an open and honest communication style across the organization.
Not many companies can pull this off, but making the effort towards getting there will bring its own rewards – in the form of a positive sales culture in which your team can perform successfully.
9 Don’t Take Sales Process for Granted
Everyone thinks that sales is the last place that needs process, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Especially in complex B2B sales, a sales process that’s followed with rigor pays great dividends.
A proven sales process will ensure
- you’re progressing opportunities through your pipeline,
- everyone agrees on the characteristics of the opportunities that are moving forward,
- proper checks and balances are in place, and
- sales and delivery are all on the same page.
10 Don’t Settle for Unproven or Average Sales Leadership
At the end of the day, it comes down to proper sales leadership to ensure your sales function is hitting on all cylinders and achieving the results your company desires.
There’s no substitute for experience in creating and building high-performing and successful sales teams and avoiding the pitfalls laid out in this article.
Great sales leadership comes from a combination of knowledge, successes, failures and – most of all – character. Don’t settle for less!
We Can Help You Lead a Successful Sales Team!
Did any of the above observations strike a chord with your organization? Would you like expert help evaluating your sales leadership?
At 360 Consulting, we’re committed to helping you break your sales records. If you want a finely tuned sales engine and a successful sales team that brings you measurable and repeatable results, schedule a free consultation today and let’s talk about your sales!