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Tips to leading a sales team

Sales managers play a crucial role to the success of their team, as they have the ability to influence and set the tone, culture, and expectations of the work environment. As a sales manager, you can make improvements to your management style to foster a more productive work environment and team.

Be on the ground

As the manager of a sales team, you should always be on the ground, being involved in the day to day operations your team goes through. You should be helping your consultants reach their objectives, and this may involve doing market research and creating lists for your representatives, sitting in on a business development call, to liaising with other stakeholders for tools that will enable your team to do their job better. You need to be on the ball and equip your salespeople with the necessary to help them win.

Give salespeople freedom

Your salespeople have undergone the training necessary – now is the time to give them control of the sales process from beginning to end. They are not like you, and have different approaches to the same customer. They want autonomy, be it from who they should be pitching to, to how they should do it. Encourage a healthy amount of risk-taking, and evaluate an individual’s efforts closely with him/her. You might be surprised at how lesser guidelines and KPIs may lead to better end results.

A good manager knows when to dangle a carrot and when to wield a stick.

Be positive

The performance of your team is very much dependent on their emotional state of mind. Your role as the manager is to set the right tone, motivate, and encourage members of your sales team. Avoid telling your team what to do. Instead, encourage them to ask questions and engage in positive discussions with them on how they can reach their targets. This is inherently important with the less rosy economic outlook as your salespeople face increasing competition.

Reward accordingly

A good manager knows when to dangle a carrot and when to wield a stick. Salespeople need recognition for their effort and it is important to acknowledge it. Besides monetary incentives, you should also be taking interest in their personal career goals and objectives, and how you (and the company) can help them achieve their aspirations. Provide feedback to staff that are underperforming, and reward those who excel.

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