What does that actually mean? Simply, that as a sales leader, whether you’re the MD, CEO, Sales Director or Sales Team Leader, you must hold your people to the targets set for them.
Most sales team environments are competitive and most sales leaders encourage competitive behaviour. It’s healthy, it motivates us and keeps us moving forward to achieve bigger and better results.
But setting realistic expectations and goals for your sales team, is only part of it. Clear communication of the targets and outlining the consequences of failing to meet them, is the other. You must set the standard you want and expect your people to meet it. Do your homework and set attainable targets, based on actual sales figures. Don’t forget to factor in things outside your control, such as movements in your industry and other market influences. This will ensure you’re not asking your team to do the impossible.
It’s vital that you don’t accept it when they fall short of their targets. A sales team must understand there are clear consequences for their failure. If you let them off the hook, you are contributing to their poor performance. You’re telling them you were never serious about the targets they were set and worse, you’re failing to motivate them to do better. Understand, that when you don’t hold your team to account, you deserve what you tolerate.
Your relationship with your team can be the key to their success and on the flip side, the reason for their failure. Your team must feel you value them and giving them responsibility to achieve their targets, by holding them accountable, shows them that you believe in their ability, that you trust they can do it and don’t doubt their commitment.
For your part, you must ensure you keep to the agreed, planned activities that are important to the team and resist cancelling at the last minute due to ‘urgent’ tasks that you believe take priority. There is no room for poor time management in any part of the sales function. Proactive planning, clear communication and good delegation of responsibilities will help to prevent the urgent interruptions that can lead to the postponement of strategic planning, sales meetings and other vital parts of managing a successful sales team.
Make it clear to your team what you expect of them, give them the proper tools and coaching to help them succeed and show by your actions, that you have confidence in their ability. A good team should keep you on your toes, being demanding as they strive to exceed their targets.
Managing a Sales Team is an exciting, dynamic and rewarding position and one to be taken seriously. If you deserve what you tolerate, the same is also true for the team. Be the leader they want. Be available, communicate clearly and often, set them up for success. Don’t forget, as the leader, you are part of the team. Be accountable, hold them to account and celebrate the success you all deserve.
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