Sales managers are so busy these days that it is easy to get caught in the everyday shuffle of dealing with all the tactical and urgent items on their to-do list. It makes it very easy to forget what your real job is: managing salespeople and maximizing the talents of your sales team.
Here are five strategic ways to get the most out of your salespeople:
1. Identify Their Talents
After working with your salespeople over a period of time, you probably have a pretty good idea of where they excel and where their limitations are. At The Center for Sales Strategy, we have a talent assessment that can tell you their talents without having to wait months to determine that on your own.
2. Talk to a Talent Analyst to Determine Ways to Maximize Those Talents
While you may have great coaching ideas and do an outstanding job of coaching your people, I can guarantee you that you’ll gather new insights and learn new ways to grow your people by getting an opinion from someone who assesses talents all day, every day.
3. Ask the Salesperson How He or She Wants to be Managed
This doesn't mean ask them how to run the sales department. It means asking them what is important to them in terms of the ways they are managed. Some people like public praise while others prefer their feedback (whether positive or negative) in private. To some, it is important to have a personal relationship with their manager. To others, it is not important at all. But you won’t know until you ask. Don't assume you know (everyone knows what happens when you assume, right?). Conduct a salesperson needs analysis.
4. Create a Plan
You now know their talents, you have consulted with someone on different ways to manage that talent, and you have asked the salesperson how he or she wants to be managed. Now comes the most important step:
Create a plan based on the information you have gathered. If you don't create a plan, it would be like doing a great needs analysis with a prospect or client and never going back with a proposal!
5. Execute the Plan
And execute it all of the time: when you are in the field with the seller, when you are on appointments, when you are doing individual focus meetings.
Don't get so caught up in the day-to-day minutiae that you don't have a strategic plan for how to manage each of your sellers on an individual basis. Hovering over daily sales reports can get you only so far. Helping your sellers maximize their talents will deliver far greater ROI. I know. I’ve been there and done that.