7 Essential Management Tasks for Sales Leaders

Table of Contents

By Andrew Milbourn CEO, of Kiss The Fish

Things every sales manager really should be doing

I get asked about this all the time – so here is my list of the 7 essential management tasks for an effective sales team

1. Have a clear vision of where you want to be
If you don’t know where you are taking your team, don’t expect your team to be motivated. You need to show your ambition, your expectation, and the excitement of a journey that is going to be a success. You’ll need to be creative, dream your dreams, and not be frightened to think ‘big’
This is a subject in itself but the key to it is to be a glass-half-full person – negative people will never be visionary. Start with your values and take a good long look at the potential of your business. Your vision needs to be aligned to the company so start there and work up your own version for the sales team. A vision should excite the participants (your team), and it should show ambition and reality…you are going to lead people there, they will have to do their part (work hard, learn, be committed, etc). Don’t hold back and use bold words like “we will be the best” or market leading etc. Inspire people and watch them perform.

2. Have a strategy and communicate it
Once you’ve got a vision – well done, you now know where you are going so you’ll need a plan or a strategy to show how you are going to become the vision.
The strategy needs innovation – you won’t get there with what you did last year, it needs fresh thinking so involve others to inspire you. You will be a part of the success of failure and remember to build learning for you and the team into the strategy. Think about the pillars of success…in other words what key components will help you succeed or if they are missing will lead to failure. If you’ve put that your team will be the best then you may need to build a whole ‘chapter’ or pillar on the need to recruit and train. You may need investment so finance may be a pillar. The idea is that the rest of the business is clear on what will underpin the success and it will make the vision believable and motivated. A strategy is simply the list of who is going to do what? , with which resources?, by when? – it needs to show the financial performance you expect.

Planning is in four stages
1 – where are we?
2 – why are we where we are?
3 – Where are we going? – the vision
4 – how are we going to get there – the actual tactics and plan

3. Give everyone clear instructions on what is expected of them and what the rewards will be
Do all your team members have job descriptions? They should be clear not just in terms of the behaviors you expect in the business (driven by your values) but for salespeople you should always include a section on ‘minimum standards of performance”. This should set out the work requirements – how many calls, and of which type (cold new business, etc), how many client meetings, and how many sales. You can’t expect to be able to help people deliver if they aren’t clear on what they should be doing and you can’t hold people to account fairly if they simply aren’t told but are expected to make their own mind up on what is acceptable.

4. Measure the essential metrics of sales
All sales team members should be measuring and/or reporting their work in terms of

  • What type of customer are they targeting
  • How many contacts to the attempt (including emails)
  • How many conversations do they have with decision-makers
  • How many meetings result
  • How many sales result

A summary of these metrics and the ratio’s between them are what every sales director should see and use to manage success. You can’t control what you don’t measure.

5. Give feedback
The single biggest factor in motivating staff is giving feedback, consistently and when relevant. This may be constructive criticism or it may just be a ‘thank you’ for working extra hard but all the studies show that we work for recognition and development – feedback is the tactic that delivers this if done properly. Don’t overdo it or do it sporadically – overpraising someone is as bad as never praising someone..it should be done when people go above and beyond, and never ignore someone who is trying – you shouldn’t criticize just because the figs are where they should be – remember, critique attitude, train skills.

6. Hold everyone to account
Failure to meet one-one on at least a monthly basis to get them to explain why their performance figs are where they are will lead to a sense of being rudderless and alienated. It may be time-consuming but a simple meeting where the performance figs are discussed against the KPIs that were set will go a long way to making sure people do what they should do and where they can’t, training needs can be seen and strategy changed where necessary.

7. Celebrate success
One of the easiest ways to build a team and keep them performing is to make sure you work hard together and you celebrate together. Encourage the full team to appreciate an individual’s performance where it is exceptional and reward the whole team when you achieve a budget or one of your targets.

If you struggle to make all these things happen for your team or your business get in touch to find out how KTF can help you. We have a team of highly experienced and skilled sales consultants – we can offer to help you build your sales to where they should be by working with you and the team. We also offer sales coaching and sales training and you can find out more by emailing us at info@kissthefish.net

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