Although the Michigan economy is slowly recovering, it can be like our Tigers on any given day; win one or lose one. Sales productivity makes the economy go here in Metro Detroit. Whether you are a car dealership or a restaurant, customers make things successful. And sales drive that opportunity.
Motivating a sales force is essential. The following factors must be in constant assessment:
- How do you drive value in a sales environment?
- What type of incentives and rewards must be in place?
- How knowledgeable is the team in both products and services?
- How does leadership support the sales professional through the sales process?
- How does management handle poor results?
- How long do you keep a new salesperson who is not performing at all?
These sales leadership questions can make or break an organization, especially in these continued tough times. Look at each one and answer them honestly. A focus on clear and stretchable performance objectives are critical. Being realistic as leaders, and coaching people through role play and practice, makes training a major ingredient of consideration.
Encouraging veteran salespeople to partner with less experienced ones will give the new people a chance to grow. Although there are exceptions to everything, success in sales is never immediate. It can take up to 18 months to build an owner and a referral base. Patience, especially when guiding those with the most potential, is at the heart of this type of leadership. Cross- pollination with various degrees of experience can get everyone on the same page. Doing this consistently and consciously will create stronger teams and can bring improved results for all in this important type of collaboration.
Finally, not everyone with an interest in sales will be successful. Keeping salespeople on board who will never make performance targets is both hard on the individual and hard on the business. Honesty and integrity are important when assessment takes place; there is always the possibility that the poor performers in sales might be a better fit elsewhere. A continuous analysis and a focused review will help both the team and the organization. It is not easy to be successful in sales, but with leaders and teams working hand-in-hand, good things typically happen.
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