Secure Your Own Mask First
You know how on an airplane the flight attendants tell you to secure your own oxygen mask before you help another? Well, developing your team follows the same strategy. Once you’ve begun to develop yourself as a sales leader, you’re more able to help your sales team develop and reach their goals. If you haven’t already read my post 2 Things You Can Do to Ensure Your Success This Year, # 1 is to develop yourself and #2 is to develop your team. In this article, I focus on developing your team.
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Develop Your Team
It’s your job to develop your team. Not doing so is very risky. You may lose good salespeople and worse, the low performers might stay. Top performers want a development plan. They want to improve, they want your guidance. Middle performers want the same and they need development to become top performers. Low performers either need to move up or out quickly. If you provide them a development plan and they don’t develop, it becomes very clear to all, that this person needs to move on and you can provide what I call a graceful exit.
You’ve made a development plan for yourself and have started to change. Your team will notice. Next, start their development plans by asking them what they would like to learn this year, what they would like to become better at, and how you can help them. Determine the best way to help them learn. Maybe reading a book, shadowing a more seasoned salesperson, taking a training, or working directly with you on a skill. Then have them write down their development plan with what they will learn, how they will learn it, and by when. The only thing left is to get started. Read, shadow, listen, attend and then test to see what they learned and then try it. Practice! Don’t forget to review their development plans with them frequently.
If you do all of this, you won’t believe how fast they will start changing and developing into a better salesperson.
Note: Some of the things your team needs will be individual and will require a separate plan. Some will be things they all want to learn and can be done in a group setting.
Get Started Developing Your Team
- What would you like to learn?
- What do you want to become better at?
- How can I best help you?
Best Way to Learn
- Read a book
- Shadow someone
- Find a mentor
- Watch a web training
- Bring in an instructor
Write it Down
- What will you learn?
- How will you learn it?
- By when?
- Schedule the time to learn
- Test the learning
- Try what was learned
- What have you completed?
- What remains to be done?
- What’s next?
Making it Happen
As Nike says, “Just do it,” You have to start somewhere. Here’s a form you could give to each salesperson to help you get started.
Things I’d like to learn or improve on:
For example, if several of your salespeople would like to improve on handling objections you might find some reading on that topic and have them form a group to read and discuss.
If most of your team are good at time management but two of them felt they wanted to improve, have them work together to find a time management course. They can take the course and become accountability partners to implement what they learned.
If all of them want to learn to write better prospecting emails find an instructor to come in and teach them but if you don’t have the budget you can find resources like the ones on SalesFolk and them started. They can work together to write emails, edit each other’s, test the emails and share what is working.
Use Your Tools
Another part of developing your team is making sure they are using the tools they were given.
There are so many tools out there that reps can get tool overload. Choose the ones you need and use them well.
Continue learning together. You can use book clubs or interest groups to keep them learning and sharing about your company, your products, their customers, their customer’s industries, and their customer’s customers. Share best practices and strategies that reps are using to penetrate large accounts as well as getting better positioned in existing accounts to expand them. Everyone is busy. The reps have tremendous pressure on them, but they need to know that learning is important, expected and that you will hold them accountable to take the time to do it.
Figure out a way to keep track of each development plan. In your one-to-one meetings ask each salesperson to bring their plan so you can review it. During your sales team meetings ask salespeople to share their success in implementing their development plan and to share things they have been learning. This is part of the accountability and building a culture that expects everyone to keep developing themselves because you are encouraging it.
Take Good Care
Developing your salespeople means making sure they are in the right mindset to learn and do their job. Overworked, tired, disgruntled salespeople are not open to learning and are not doing a good job. They are not impressing your prospects and customers.
Be a Model
Start by modeling what it means to take good care of yourself and keep a positive mindset. Discuss it. Make it part of your culture. Show them ways they can take good care of themselves. Simple things like get enough sleep, eat healthy, exercise and stay hydrated. You think you shouldn’t have to tell them these things, but the pressure put on them by your organization may prevent them from doing these simple things. Show them how taking breaks actually
makes them more productive. Don’t applaud the people working 12-hour days consistently. Find out why and help them work 8 to 9 hours most days and the occasional long day or weekend.
Enjoy Your Work
Make sure they are enjoying their work. Ask them, “Do you enjoy your work?” If the answer is no, figure out how to make the needed changes so they can enjoy their work or help them move on to something they will enjoy. Happy people make great salespeople. Your customers want to work with happy, upbeat, well-informed, delightful people. That is what you get when you make a plan to develop your salespeople. They win, you win, the customers win.
Need help? You can develop yourself and your sales team to exceed your sales goals. Let’s chat.
Alice is nationally known for her expertise in elevating sales to increase valuation for companies with a B2B complex sale that have exceptional growth potential. She’s originally, from the widely known Miller Heiman Group. Spending her time strategizing with CEOs and their leadership teams to build the strategies that find new business and grow existing accounts is her passion. Her clients love her spirit and the way she energizes their sales organization.