Engaged sales leaders and managers recognize failing performance patterns quickly. Their active participation and engagement gives them a distinct competitive advantage. They understand that their greatest competitive strength is a high performance sales team.
I often ask sales managers, “When do you want to know your salesperson is failing?” Their answer is almost always, “As soon as possible!” The engaged sales manager is more likely to know when an unproductive pattern of performance begins and why.
However, if your sales culture relies only on ‘hitting quota’ or ‘achieving your sales target’ as the metric for success, by the time you know your sales person is failing, it could be too late. Therefore, it is in your best interest to take charge of your sales team’s development and not leave successful sales performance to chance.
Sales as a Performance
I encourage all of my client sales leaders to own their sales team’s development. This doesn’t mean doing it yourself, after all you have enough on your plate already! But it does mean the following:
- Participate appropriately in sales training and enablement events…demonstrate your commitment and endorsement of the sales enablement process
- Follow up, support, and reinforce critical sales concepts routinely and offer constructive coaching
- Understand the objectives for new hire orientation, sales enablement initiatives, and other training solutions
- Discuss your specific needs and expectations with your sales enablement team
- Expect written follow up summaries from trainers and facilitators about your salesperson’s attitude, participation behavior and provide a demonstrated skills and knowledge assessment
- Require your salesperson to provide a summary of what they learned and have them effectively demonstrate newly acquired skills and knowledge
So much of a salesperson’s success is related to how they perform in front of prospects and customers. Begin new hire On-Boarding by identifying the skills and knowledge required by the end of their first 30 days of employment. Then provide them with a supportive environment to “showcase” their newly acquired skills and knowledge.
Practice Makes Perfect
The above is just a partial list of ideas that can help you engage in your team’s development. Try to provide opportunities for your salespeople to practice performing in front of an audience, even if it is a group of their peers. Each performance will build their confidence and credibility and move them from knowing the skills to owning the skills!
Your involvement in their professional development represents an investment of your time and effort in their success. Develop specific learning objectives in 30 day increments to ensure continuous learning and accountability.
Research validates that the success of any sales enablement program depends on:
- A highly engaged sales management team
- A quality structured implementation program
- The adherence to a written change management process
As a sales manager, you are the key to successful sales enablement initiatives. Your time and effort will be rewarded with higher employee engagement levels, increased sales productivity, and stronger sales performance. Don’t forget, one of your most important goals as a sales manager is to create a high performance sales team!