Regardless of which industry your small business is in, there’s no doubt that the calibre of your sales team is key to the success of the product or service that you’re offering. Finding the right people who are properly qualified and skilled enough to deliver what you need is only the very beginning of what you need to do as a small business owner.
Once you’ve got your sales team in place, they’ve all been brought up to speed and everyone is working well together as a cohesive team, it’s time to step it up and take things to the next level. As the business owner, there are a number of strategies and techniques that you can use to further equip your sales team and harness their potential, including these:
- Develop home grown talent
One of the simplest and quickest ways to invest in your sales team is to identify the influential and successful members within it. With the aim of promoting them to leaders that will be able to lead the team when required, you can then begin to map out the ways in which you can equip them to mentor and coach the other team members.
Reward their leadership roles, and get them to take a proactive approach in passing on their skills and top sales tips to the others in their group. This can be done by running short training sessions that include team members taking turns to act as customers in certain scenarios, as role-playing is one of the most effective ways to demonstrate a point and allow for practice opportunities.
Your sales leaders can also listen in on live sales calls or recordings of other members in the team, so that they are better able to provide feedback and guidance to those members as necessary.
- Build up confidence and morale
When your sales team trusts the person at the top, there will be a good sense of camaraderie among the team, as well as confidence in the company who is employing them.
The reality is, the best and most effective ways to facilitate good morale in your sales team start with you. As their employer and the business owner, you have to be seen as a person who is trustworthy, keeps their word, and actively demonstrates concern for the wellbeing and welfare of the staff.
It’s been shown that when people have trust and confidence in their managers and employers, then they will strive to perform well and get more done with fewer resources and a positive attitude.
It is also important that you reward their efforts whenever you are able, so that even in slow economic times the sales team will appreciate the need to bring in more business and go that extra mile to make it happen.
Whatever you do, you should never guarantee someone employment, particularly in today’s economic climate, but you can certainly generate confidence in the company and the product within your sales team.
If you find that you are unable to reward them financially, which will happen at certain points of the company, then do look to invest in other rewards such as additional days off or flexible working arrangement. We say “invest” because that is exactly what you are doing – investing in a good sales team that, because they feel appreciated and acknowledged, will work hard to grow your business with you.
- Streamline your processes
This doesn’t mean cutting back on the number of employees in your sales team. Rather, you should seek ways to maximise the time that your sales team gets to spend on dealing with their customers. Eliminate unnecessary administrative tasks, or at the very least, seek to streamline the administrative side of things for a more effective workforce, particularly through the use of the right software programmes, Internet applications or even mobile phone apps.
At the same time, give your sales team some autonomy in their dealings with customers, such as allowing them flexibility on pricing options or discounts. Make sure that you have a robust sales strategy in place that looks at streamlining the sales process, and don’t forget to invite the sales team’s input – they will be the ones using it after all.
Don’t be so quick to assert your authority, as often some of the best ideas come from people on the ground. Listen to what they have to say, and they will feel valued that their opinion is heard. Again, this will also build up confidence and morale, resulting in a happier, more productive sales team.
- Three letters: CRM
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. In the sales and marketing world, it generally refers to the use of software or online solutions to facilitate a company’s customer processes. Because most CRM software solutions cover sales, marketing, customer service and even technical support, it will go a long way towards making your customer management process more efficient.
Even better, it will help you to keep track of your customers better, so you know who’s due for a call back or which customer requested a follow up, for example. You’ll be able to track your team’s tasks and events, and should you ever need it, you’ve got the entire transaction history of any customer at your fingertips.
Need to know how well your sales team is doing? A CRM solution will be able to provide you with the metrics that you need, quickly and easily. Time is a valuable asset in any business; instead of poring over spreadsheets every time you need to generate a report, you’re far better off using the time to push sales and grow the company.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important enough to warrant its own point. Too many companies are quick to push their staff but slow to celebrate achievements. Be the company that works hard and plays hard – the best way to dispel some of the pressure of working in sales is by rewarding those who do well and bringing everyone together for a good time.
Even small achievements should be noticed and acknowledged; besides giving everyone an always-welcome boost of motivation, team celebrations are also a great way to unite your team and for everyone to get to know each other. People who feel appreciated in a company and who get along well with their colleagues are more likely to enjoy their work and push themselves to do better.
About the author:
Jason Hope is the Marketing Director of ADD Business Group, a “one stop trade service shop” that offers all the key construction trades under one roof. He has over 20 years of experience in the manufacturing and building industry, and has worked all across Australia including Darwin, Cairns, Perth and Melbourne. His favourite part of the job is being able to offer customers great versatility and a broad range of product offerings, all of which “keeps him on his toes”!