Each new year, you make a resolution to get fitter, travel more, learn a new language or just wake up earlier. Most of these resolutions usually revolve around your personal life. This isn’t wrong but if you occupy a position of leadership, such as sales manager, then making professional resolutions can make you a better leader.
When you are leading a sales team, no matter how small or big, it’s easy to fall into a trap of traditional ideas. These are ideas that were introduced to you when you first started selling and were then passed down to your team. While this may be an innocent oversight, sometimes it can have disastrous consequences for your team. As a manager of an evolving team, you need to let go of perceptions and statements that are hampering your team’s success. After all, you don’t want to be the obstacle in your team’s path.
The Negative Statements Sales Managers Should Stop Saying
The mistake sales managers often make lies in not recognizing the danger signs. You can’t fix something if you don’t know what’s wrong. Managers are unaware that practices followed by them or ideas they believe in are actually redundant. You need to be proactive in understanding and overcoming the ideas and statements that are holding back your sales team’s performance.
“I hire only those who are born to sell”
At some point in your managerial career, you may have heard this from yourself or another manager. Let’s make one thing clear, there is no such thing as a ‘Born Salesperson’. This belief will only make you place unrealistic demands on your team or worse, you will not let your team realize its potential. Sales is an acquired skill as opposed to an inherited one. Don’t look for readymade success stories, instead help each member of your team build their skill. It takes practice, training, commitment, and passion to build a sales team, not a gene.
“I don’t want my team to waste time in cold calling leads”
No matter what you have been hearing or who you have been talking to, cold calling is here to stay. Cold calling is found to have a success rate of 8%. You can also look at what cold results you can expect in 2020 in this article. To give you a sneak preview, cold calling gives 42% results. So don’t deter your team from cold calling leads. Help them practice the techniques and tonality, but never say never when it comes to cold calling.
“Close more because you have more leads”.
There are some incorrect statements in the sales universe and this is one of them. The minute you tell your team that they need to close more deals because they have a voluminous pipeline is the time they lose respect for you. We aren’t just making a heavy statement because an emphasis on quantity over quality form the makings of a bad manager. Your team will feel discouraged and not want to put out their best work if they hear this from you.
“Do whatever you can but get me that deal”
Top management expects results from your team, this adds pressure on you which in turn cascades down to your team. In this situation, you are desperate and willing to try anything. Stop right there! This is the moment when you will make bad decisions which will have repercussions for your entire team.
When you tell your team to do whatever it takes, even if it means short selling your product, then you are orienting them towards short-term gains and not long-term results. Do not compromise on the companies policies, ethics, and philosophy. Give your team the confidence that buyers will see value in your product/service rather than the price.
“This is how we have always done things”
Sure you have but then if you go buy what Einstein said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” then you may think differently. There is nothing wrong with following sales rules or techniques but only if they give you results. At other times it’s important to take a step back and listen to what members of your team have to say. Improvements are only possible when you are flexible. As a manager, you need to be open to different ideas and approaches.
“Tell prospects what they want to hear”
This is yet another no-no. Telling your team this does not mean you are creating a group of rebels but rather offering the best option to a customer. Encourage your teams to take on the role of a consultant rather than being pushy sales representatives. It’s okay to disagree with a customer when it comes to offering an alternative that is a better option for them.
“You need to work hard all the time”
As a manager, it is your responsibility to guide your team to work hard. At the same time, it’s important to not force this or your team will experience burn out. This is something you or your company can’t afford. Instead, help your team focus and build analytical skills to decipher the results from individual performance.
Focus on automating tasks by using tools and sales solutions. This will reduce the time your team takes in entering data. They can then utilize this time to get better equipped to help customers. According to a CRM study, high performing sales teams use 3X more technology than underperforming ones.
As a sales manager, you can use your experience to help your sales team achieve targets and success. A successful team is made of the following:
- Offering flexibility and tools to your team that highlights the best assets of your product.
- Train and practice with your team. Help them ask the right questions.
- Mentor your team. Help them exhibit the brand with integrity and honesty.
You can’t count on finding a group of “natural” salespeople. An efficient manager is one who focuses on building successful salespeople that grow and your organization.
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