When your sales team is running smoothly, it’s tempting to shift your attention to other parts of your business, ignoring the sales operations unless sales drop or change significantly without explanation. While this approach is common, it’s the reason so many companies get average results, missing out on untapped potential in their employees and more importantly, untapped revenue.
Each member of your team brings something to the table. But you and your sales managers need to know if they are at the right table. Just like you would do a review of other areas in your business, you need to see the bigger picture of your sales team.
Do you have the right capabilities, right personalities, right skill-set to drive the team for today and tomorrow? Or as Jim Collins, the author of Good to Great, says: “Do you have the right people doing the right things and are they on-board?”
Companies change and so do people, which is why it is important to ensure your sales team is the right fit. Regularly auditing and analysing your team can help to ensure that your team members have the right skills, are in the right positions, and have the support they need to perform best.
Audits should be carried out regularly, depending on the growth of the business and the size of the team (the larger the team, the more often they should be audited).
Conducting an audit
Effectively auditing your sales team takes more than just a quick interview with staff. From analysing the technology your team is using to understanding your team members’ personal goals, digging deeper will make all the difference.
As part of your audit, your managers need to look at the following areas:
Your company’s procedures
Is your sales team across your products and services, and your solutions? Do they understand new products, services and any changes? Do they need more training and is this training available to them?
Technology and systems
Technology has changed the role of sales professionals. Is your team comfortable using new technology and willing to embrace it? Tablets, phones, laptops have all become ‘must-haves’ for sales teams. Does your team know how to use technology to form better relationships?
What does your sales team do well and what can be improved? Look at the whole picture and identify bottlenecks or inefficiencies and how they can be improved.
Personal and professional development
Look at the individuals and identify their key strengths, then develop ways of tapping into that. This may mean upskilling some staff to take leading roles or training staff to specialise within your products or solutions.
Look at the mindset of your underperforming staff. Are they making excuses such as ‘we were too expensive’ or ‘I couldn’t reach the decision-maker’? An effective sales professional would say ‘I failed to reach the decision maker,’ or ‘I failed to find their pain and sell our value.’ They would use their losses as a learning opportunity.
What are the key roles of all of your staff and do they reflect your business ethos and model? This may mean re-examining your sales structures and processes completely or perhaps they just need a little tweaking.
Leadership and coaching
Just like a best-breed sports team, your sales team needs a leader or a coach that can get to know their strengths and abilities to help shape their role or ‘position’ in the team. The role of the Sales Manager is to identify who does what in order to get the team objective accomplished, to coach and motivate, and to understand what makes every individual tick, and keep them accountable.
Equally as important, your audit needs to look at what you are missing in your structure and what roles need to be filled to deliver outstanding service to your clients.
This process, coupled with a robust recruitment and on-boarding process, and top leadership personnel, will help you to ensure that your sales team is always performing at its best.
Ready to put this into action? Download our free ebook: The CEO’s guide to building better sales team