Now that it’s a few weeks into 2016, the excitement over the New Year and a new quarter is wearing off. Your sales team may have been enthusiastic at first. But as you see a few star performers break ahead of the pack, the rest of your staff seem to lose motivation. This is a common pattern, and you probably wonder how to get the rest of your team to be as productive as the top few.
There are five things you can do to keep your entire team feeling motivated. They’ll close more sales, a result you—and everyone else—will be excited about.
1. Determine what your sales process is today
Do you know if you have a system for selling that everyone follows? Even if you’re not sure, you probably do. But it may not be what you think it is. You can establish a baseline process by using the “Least Common Denominator” approach (One of the few approaches from math I still remember). That is, find out which steps in the sales strategy are common to all sales (of a certain type) and all salespeople. You might end up with a skeletal set of steps, but don’t worry, it’s a start.
2. Document your sales process
When you’ve identified a series of common steps that everyone agrees on, document it. It will prevent it from “moving” on you. This document can be used to test whether everyone on your team agrees. It will also serve as a benchmark you can return to when there seems to be disagreement about what is actually going on in sales.
3. Get everyone involved
This Lean Learning concept is a proven way to ensure your entire team is on board with any changes or updates to your sales process. They often see things you don’t, and they may come up with some surprisingly effective solutions to your biggest problems. What better way is there to keep your entire team invested in following the process you’ve outlined than incorporating their suggestions into how it’s implemented?
4. Don’t rely on tools to take the place of an effective sales process
At this point you may be thinking, “I have a CRM system, that’s good enough.” It’s not. Dave Meagher, President of RedTeal (a Salesforce.com consulting firm), had this to say about relying on a CRM system before you have an effective sales process:
“No matter how clean your data or how simple your configuration, the Salesforce platform is not a substitute for a well-managed sales process. We witness it over and over again. Organizations think that they can improve their sales numbers by simply getting a better tool in place. Nothing could be further from the truth. A better tool can only help at the margins.”* (Emphasis added.)
5. Verify that your team is following the sales process you agree to follow
As President Reagan once said, “Trust but verify.” This means that you have to do more than just asking one of your sales leaders how the process is going. You have to ask them how they know. There’s often a culturally ingrained reluctance for sales managers to dive too deeply into the sales processes of their team. If you don’t monitor whether anyone is following the processes you have put in place, how will you know how to effectively help your less-than-stellar performers? Trying to change the effect of your sales process (level of closed sales) without looking at the cause (the process) is like a golf coach telling you to “Hit the ball better!” That’s a lousy way to coach, not only golf, but sales as well!
Following these steps will ensure that your entire team performs increasing well, growing revenue while also building motivation and employee engagement. Things seemingly as minor as asking for salespeople’s input on processes and their implementation can go a long way toward ensuring their commitment to follow the sales process.
*Lean Selling: Slash Your Sales Cycle and Drive Profitable, Predictable Revenue Growth by Giving Buyers What They Really Want, by Robert J. Pryor, page 94. Copyright © 2015 CEO Cubed. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.
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About: Robert Pryor is a Lean Selling author and community builder as well as a CEO, speaker, and educator on cutting-edge sales processes. His new book is Lean Selling: How to Slash Your Sales Cycle and Drive Profitable, Predictable Revenue Growth by Giving Buyers What They Really Want. Follow by joining the LinkedIn Group “Lean Selling” or on Twitter @LeanSelling.