With 2012 off and running, many small businesses are looking to make their return on investment (ROI) more productive than the last 12 months. In the event your company’s sales are lagging behind where they should be, it never hurts to stop and look at the head of sales and see if he or she is properly managing the team.
First let it be known, no one is out to criticize the head of sales; just help them to be more productive, not only for individual benefit, but also the team.
If your company feels like sales needs a little kick in the pants, here are some things to consider:
- Just don’t plan meetings, execute them – It is easy to get together for sales meetings once or several times a week. Stop and think, however, is anything truly getting done with them? It isn’t how many meetings you have, but what gets done at them that matters most;
- Encourage participation – We have all sat through countless meetings (sales or not) and seen the active and the inactive. The active are doers who participate and make suggestions as to how to improve the bottom line. The inactive, on the other hand, will often just show up, take in the information, and then move on to the next thing. That is not to say all quiet people at meetings are not good workers, but participation is certainly a step in the right direction;
- Use time wisely – One issue that meetings bring up is they can be too long, leading to people tuning out after a while. As the sales manager, make your meetings timely and productive. Don’t go on and on with long-winded speeches and presentations. Get in and get out so that your sales team accomplishes something and doesn’t feel like they just sat through traffic school;
- Make the meetings fun – One way to get more out of your sales team is to challenge them. If you have a half-dozen or more on your team, break the group up and have a competition from time to time, with the winning team being rewarded. Not only does this get your sales team to employ their thinking and sales skills, but it gives them incentive to be productive at the meeting. Any worker who tells you that incentives are not of interest to them is more than likely lying;
- Don’t be a numbers freak – Yes, we all know the bottom line is the company’s return on investment (ROI). That being said, sales managers can go overboard with hammering home numbers, numbers, numbers. While you don’t have to sugarcoat things, don’t always come across as negative Nancy in your meetings if the numbers are down. Think about constructive ways to bring those numbers up. Most importantly, do not try to single anyone out who is struggling among their peers. Not only will you likely lose that person, but others will see that such tactics could be coming their way, something they will likely not stand for. Numbers are important, but don’t let them become an obsession.
So, as someone who has either managed a sales team and/or been part of one, what advice do you have for today’s sales managers?
If you could change one thing about your sales manager or how your sales team does business, what would it be?
Image: “Tired businessman sleeping/Shutterstock“