Sales management is a challenging effort. On the one hand, you want to empower everyone. But on the other hand, you want to keep the legal department happy and ensure you keep everyone reined in enough to avoid over-promising or becoming non-compliant with any regulations. The following basic rules of sales management should keep everything in balance and move powerfully forward.
See Training as Your Garden
It is far too easy to see training your team as something where you whip out a “Rah rah rah” speech, put up some theatrics and try to make a big presentation to impress them. This is not about impressing anyone — it’s about keeping your team well-trained at all times. This is why you need to see training as a garden — you tend to it constantly, and it bears fruit for you for a very long time to come. Once you see your team’s development as a continuing process, as a farmer or gardener would, you take some pressure off yourself and become more fluid in your training techniques.
Train Management the Most
There is nothing that can propel a team to greater success than great management. But by the same token, nothing can derail even the best operators quite like incompetent, shady, or sloppy management. You must always guard yourself if a manager may be doing something wrong on purpose. At the same time, always be certain that your management team is the best-trained group you have. When you train ten managers, you aren’t just making ten great salespeople — you are making the leaders of ten great teams, which may mean hundreds of great salespeople. The effect is extremely powerful, and it can snowball in the best way possible. So don’t skimp on training your management.
Trust is one of your most powerful tools when managing a team. While you can never be absolutely trusting, you can invest much trust in your people most of the time. The key to trust is that it builds a level of creativity that normally doesn’t happen if you become too controlling. When you hire great people and give them room — and financial incentives to be innovative — this inspires the best work out of these great people. Your team is hard-working and intelligent, so let them use these qualities to make your organization that much better.
Be an Exemplary Leader
Leading by example is being an exemplary leader. When you lead by example, you show your team that innovating, keeping cool under pressure, and being humble enough to accept every suggestion as having legitimate merit is how things are done. Leading by example inspires your people to respect you. When people work for a leader that they respect, they work harder, and they tend to stay around longer. While this isn’t a hard and fast guarantee, you will find that the best work gets done when you show people how to operate instead of just trying to tell them how.
Individuality is Your Team’s Power
Always respect the power of an individual. Your team is composed of unique people with unique life experiences, and each of those experiences leads them to be who they are now. Focus on finding each person’s greatest strengths and developing them to the fullest. Do not try to make “clones” out of people.
Sales management isn’t always a challenge — just most of the time. But with the principles in mind, you can master your profession and make your team the best it can be.