You’ve probably experienced this before. You have a sales team that has been performing well, but suddenly, they are not delivering. They are not meeting targets as they used to, and the organisation’s bottom-line is on the rocks.
If you are experiencing this, know you are not alone. While vital to any business, a sales department can cause the most headaches to an organisation. It is the department that generates revenue, and without it, a business could easily crumble. It would not matter how good your products are, or how sophisticated your processes are. A struggling sales team could be your biggest failure as an employer.
So, how do you improve your struggling sales team?
1. Identify the source of the problem
It is no secret that Sales roles remain at the top of the list when it comes to jobs with the highest turnover rate. Employers in Kenya, multinationals, hiring managers and SMEs have always found it difficult to deal with sales people. But you don’t have to join the list.
By analysing every individual in your sales team, and scouting for weaknesses, you can point out to where the problem lies. Pick out the weakest link, and instead of firing them, dig deep into their issues. Ask the tough questions of why? You could be surprised by what you find.
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2. Make sure your sales manager is not the problem
Sometimes a struggling sales team is the result of a bad sales manager. Think about it. For any team to achieve a given goal, an effective team leader is needed to offer guidance, directions, identify arising issues, and ensure problems are solved.
The same is true for your sales team. If they are to make money for your business, a great sales manager is of vital importance. The manager should be able to understand the team at an individual level.
3. Encourage one-on-one interactions
Do you ever find yourself admonishing your entire sales team for a mistake done by one team member? Or have you ever called everyone to a meeting, but the message you intend is meant for a select few? Doing so may do more harm than good to your sales team.
Instead, consider meeting up with team members individually and seek out their problems. By doing so, you will be able to point out each and every person’s weaknesses and form a strategy on how to address them.
4. Ensure you always make smart hires
Not everyone can be a good sales person. Most employers make the mistake of hiring the wrong people into various positions, and this is especially the case for sales roles.
An employer or hiring manager is in a hurry to find someone to sell their products, only to overlook common red flags when hiring. This wrong hire then ends up bringing down the morale of the existing sales team, which in turn becomes unproductive.
For you to improve your struggling sales team, you must ensure that you get things right from the very start. And this means making smart hires.
Read Also >>> Quality Hires and its Implications in an Organisation
5. Lead by Example
To motivate your sales team into meeting their targets, you must be willing to prove to them that what you are asking is possible. Why do you ask? If a sales representative does not believe what you are asking is doable, they will consider your targets unreasonable.
But if you can prove to them by doing it yourself, then they will feel motivated to follow in your footsteps and maybe even, supersede you.
6. Offer training that is specific to individuals
Every person differs in character and behaviour. They also differ in terms of their strengths and weaknesses. For this reason, it is important to identify the areas each person in your sales team is struggling with, and address them separately.
Put those people who share a common problem in one place and provide training that is specific to their weaknesses. This will ensure that your sales team feels confident in their daily tasks and will hence be motivated to perform.
And if your organisation does not provide in-house training, you can always choose to outsource that function to firms that offer specialised training as a service.
A struggling sales team is only a problem for your business when you are not willing to find the long-term solution. Instead of being quick to fire the team or reduce salaries when one does not perform, consider training options, mentorships programs and how else you can motivate them.