What do I need to enable my sales team to deliver more? 

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I’ve been in Sales Leadership for the last 30 years and have seen an awful lot of people manage sales teams, some good, some bad and only a few, really great.

Here are my key principles of what makes a sales leader great:

You’ve got to have a vision of where you want to be and you have got to clearly articulate your vision. A vision should inspire the team around you (and if they see it your customers and your potential customers. Ideally, that vision should be aligned with a purpose that touches humanity and not just a commercial goal to ‘make more money’. Teams that are led ‘somewhere’ and with a sense of purpose are far more likely to achieve than those who just show up every day to do a job.

You’ve got to be Strategic, that is to understand where you are (and your team are) in terms of skills, attitude (motivation), market presence and resources. If you can’t easily identify why you are ‘stuck’ or why your team’s performance has tailed off then it is down to luck and you just ‘trying’ a few things that may have worked in the past.
This is the difficult bit of sales leadership – you may need to buy in help from outside or you may have a pretty good handle on your team’s performance but without an analytical and honest approach to understand the blocks to growth, you almost certainly will remain stuck.

You’ve got to have the right Metrics measured and reported, and your team should be held accountable for them on a regular (monthly) basis.
As a sales leader your job is to show that whatever is going on in your market – or in your team, you can deliver an increased share of your market every year. Of course, you may not have easily accessible market data to be able to report on your true market share but most markets will at least have data published on total size and you will of course know how much you are selling.
Revenue and GP are obvious metrics that all businesses will measure but things like AOV, revenue per head/GP per head, call data and call to deal ratios’ will give you insight beyond the usual reporting.

You should also keep as much trend data as you can – make sure your monthly reports include year on year comparisons and also month on month, cumulative as well as single months. Are we making more calls/effective calls? Are we closing deals at a higher value? Are we growing beyond price increases? Are my team ‘upskilling’ or just benefiting from better marketing comms and market shifts?

You’ve got to be an Innovator – it’s all very well have the best data on your market and your team’s performance but the problems that the data reveals have to be solved. Your market is changing – even the most conservative markets (yachting industry), stonemasonry etc) are embracing technology and procurement skills.
Being an innovator means you have to embrace creative thinking and be prepared to take risks on ideas. The best leaders develop a problem solving culture in which the team contribute to problem solving. When this is achieved then sales output inevitably improves because at the heart of great selling is the skill of “problem solving”.

A problem solving approach won’t listen to those who talk of ‘impossible’ situations or problems with a product. The innovator will carry with them a process that he/she knows will always win through and isn’t afraid of failure.

You’ve got to lead a great Sales Process and that process should become endemic in your team (only happens with strong leadership). If you can’t identify a consistent client centric process in your team members (they do the same things with the same approach every time) then you are lacking one of the most important criteria for consistent growth. A great sales process puts the client at the centre of the sales calls and sales meetings and enables a team to build rapport and to add value just by showing up.

At Kiss the Fish we have developed our own sales process, it is called “Coach Based Selling” and is designed to meet the needs of the very latest challenges to sales teams in ever-changing complex markets. Coach Based Selling is a process which shows a salesperson how to build confidence in their clients and coach their clients to buy the right things (for their benefit). It is value centred and compels sales teams to approach the sale in the right way and to confidently build relationships through ‘insights’ rather than just information.

You’ve got to be able to constantly ‘Transform” a business and a team. A manager merely takes the resources available and manages those. A leader is someone who creates transformation by understanding what is needed and what is possible. A great sales leader transforms by being clear on what is required, by whom and by when (a plan) and they can ‘lead’ the team to change whatever is required to consistently outperform the competition.

At Kiss the Fish Ltd we deliver these six key area’s and all of my team have the skills and knowledge required to help you leadership and your team deliver the kind of growth you need. We start with an analysis – we will give you the information you need to understand why your team are stuck or not delivering what you desire.

Call me on 07880 558000 or email me at Andrew@kissthefish.net.

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