What does it take to build a great sales organization? We all know how important it is have a successful sales team if you hope to grow a great business. In today’s changing business environment, what does it take to attract and retain great sales people?
I’ve been recruiting, developing, and retaining great sales people since 1984. Many things have changed over the years, but what hasn’t is what great sale professionals expect from their leaders. If you plan to build a high growth business you need to have a great sales and marketing team.
The first thing great sales people want is a leader to help them get things done. Great sales leaders know how to remove the barriers to success for their sales teams. Sales people invest their time working to make things happen. There is nothing more demotivating to a sales professional than to discover their efforts are being stopped by a person who really isn’t working to help them succeed. I believe extraordinary sales leaders are very good at removing the barriers to success for their high performers. Are you removing potential barriers for your great sales professionals?
The second thing great sales people want is the recognition for a job well done. I’ve found great sales people need more applause than other people on the sales teams. Many work very hard to excel at what they do. They invest more time to achieve their extraordinary sales results. Many times they outperform others on their team by 5 to 10 times. Here’s a quick coaching question, who gets more of your time as sales leader, the person exceeding their goals by large margins or the person who is struggling to achieve their quota?
The third thing great sales people want is clear direction on what needs to be achieved to be considered a success. In many of the startups I’ve worked in, sales people getting mixed messages on what is expected from them in their role. If you want to retain great sales people you must make sure they know what you expect from them. In writing and shared on a regular basis. This provides the foundation for creating breakthrough results for great sales people.
The fourth thing great sales people want is training and development that helps them improve their sales and negotiating skills. Exceptional sales people are always working hard to improve their skills. Want to retain more of your best performers? Invest money in training and development. This also means that you create training that is fun and help builds camaraderie on the sales team.
Great sales people also require great tools. Next week we’ll talk about great tools that enable great sale people to leverage their strengths and time to get great results.
The fifth thing great sales people want is a variety of career options. Most great sales people will never be great sales managers, nor do they want to be. What they want is to have options and flexibility in how their career evolves. Great sales people want to feel in control. It’s one of the reasons they excel. So why not provide them different options to help them grow as leaders?
Many great sales people are excellent mentors for your marketing team and new hires. Some want to do training on what they are good at. Learn how to help highlight your great performers in new ways. Don’t be afraid to put them in the spotlight knowing they will do what it takes to shine in this new part of their position.
Finally, great sales people want to be treated fairly on their compensation. I would say more organizations lose their great salespeople because they use old fashioned ways of setting sales quotas. It’s always surprised me that more sales leaders and entrepreneurs do not negotiate when deciding quotas. If you want to get buy in from your great sales people, build a compensation program that involves them in the decision making process from the start. I’ve found that when I sit down to discuss quotas with great sales people many times they set higher numbers than I might have come up with.
Great sales people are results oriented and want to continue to be the stars of the team. Many first time sales managers miss the opportunity to work with their key salespeople on hitting their revenue goals. You will learn amazing things when you watch your star performers negotiate their compensation. You’ll see why they are so good ant delivering extraordinary value to their clients.
Great sales people require stronger sales leaders to help them increase their effectiveness. It’s critical for you as the sales leader of your organization to continue growing your management and leadership skills.
You might also enjoy our this weeks blog on Developing Serving Leaders called What does it take to build a great inbound sales teams today?
See you next week.