It’s that time of year… The NFL season has ended and it’s time to regroup and look at the team. What type of budget do I have and how do I get the best team? It’s always tough to lose your star player – let alone some outstanding team members who may be traded. Somehow, year after year, the New England Patriots seem to weather the storm and recruit the right team. Losing team members hasn’t fazed the Patriots! Why? A great coach can make the team great. Bill Belichick proves this time and time again. The Patriots are Super Bowl Champions again! That’s SIX!!! The same is true in sales … Great Sales Leadership Makes Great Sales Teams!
As a sales manager, you too need to understand your team and its skill set. Assess the people within the sales organization, evaluate their skill set and determine how to exploit their strengths while minimizing any weaknesses. The odds were against Brady getting ring #6 at the beginning of the season… Belichick changed his game strategy to diminish shortcomings and utilize his team’s strengths. The challenge is to continually improve skills and tweak the plan to drive results. Sometimes it may be an easy decision – the sales representative is better skilled at a quick sale versus a long strategic relationship selling opportunity. That’s just a game time adjustment with immediate results. However, it may not be that easy of a task. You need to remain active and involved with your team to improve their skills. If you can do this, even your “C” player can be coached to a “B,” or maybe even an “A” player.
Here are some suggestions to “up” your Sales Leadership game:
Step 1: Get to know your sales representatives, their individual selling styles, what motivates them and continually assess their skills.
Step 2: Make a plan and set goals. Just like coaching a professional football team, you need to have a winning plan. Make sure the team buys into it and understands their individual accountability.
Step 3: Build in a regimen and follow the plan. Coaches have practice. A sales manager has one-on-one meetings with an agenda. Come prepared and make sure there is accountability. Your meeting should – at the minimum – include forecast review, pipeline review, skills discussion and improvement recommendations. Make sure to listen versus only talk!
Step 4: Be engaged. Go on sales calls, review proposals, strategize and interact.
Step 5: Analyze the metrics. They provide the facts.
Finally, remember this is a continual process – so you adjust, assess and reassess. The facts will help you make the hard decisions, and sometimes you might just have to make that trade. This will deliver maximum sales results and increase the top line revenue. If you follow your game plan and you will see improvement and get closer to building a dynasty like the Patriots.
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