We’ve talked about the importance of growing value in your business and of having a strong management team. This team needs to be able to run the business without you if you ever hope to sell. This may require some coaching on your part.
Do your sales managers currently hold regular one-on-ones with their sales people? This is a simple, but powerful tool your management can use now to effectively grow your business in the long run. The whole of your sales team is greater than the sum of its parts—nurture each of your sales people individually and their performances will bring greater growth to your company.
Consistency is key for a one-on-one. The best thing a sales manager can do is have a standing weekly meeting specifically dedicated to examining performance. This meeting will be in person, ideally, but sales people travel. A lot. A phone call or Skype session is fine. Remember, consistency is key, so even if it’s not face to face, have the meeting.
Your manager needs to set clear expectations for these meetings, from how long they will last to what they will cover to exactly what they expect the salesperson to come prepared with. Some meetings will go short, which is fine. What your managers want to avoid is going over time, so they should give themselves enough of a window to cover what they need to and call it a win if they finish early.
To bring out the best in your sales people, your manager can follow these four steps in every meeting:
- Set clear expectations;
- Teach and coach;
- Inspect expectations;
- Affirm good efforts, execution and performance.
Your manager is a coach, meaning one of their responsibilities is developing the skills of their sales team. Every week, the members of this team should be able to lay out where they are with each prospect and the actions they took over the last week to move these prospects through the sales pipeline. They should also be able to lay out what they’ve been learning and which skills they focused on developing during the week. This could be product knowledge, selling skills, personal development—anything that helps them develop their effectiveness and therefore their close rate. As their coach, your sales manager can provide feedback and roleplay upcoming meetings with your sales people to help build the skills necessary for increasing sales.
Looking Back to Move Forward
For each meeting, the salesperson should have a written plan detailing their sales-generating activities for the coming week. These will include everything from cold calls to follow-ups to presentations to proposals. Every time your manager meets with a salesperson, they can look back on last week’s plan and compare it to what the salesperson actually did. Then they can review the plan for the upcoming week and coach accordingly.
It's a simple tool, but consistent one-on-ones will make your sales team more effective over time.
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