Do you know what it takes to become an exceptional sales manager? Here are six common sense management strategies you can use to become more effective in your daily work.
1. Alignment. One of the keys to your long-term success is alignment. Let me explain. It’s important, actually extremely important that you are aligned with your manager and your company.
Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that’s a no-brainer and you believe you are in perfect alignment with your boss. You can prove it by periodically asking him this question, “What are your expectations of me and my sales team during the next 90 days?”
If you have never asked this question, you might be surprised at the response you get.
Just remember asking this question insures proper alignment.
2. Priorities. This is closely related to the first point, however it is different. Never assume you know someone’s priorities until you ask them.
For example. Create a list of priorities you believe your salespeople should have for the next 90 days. Then, ask each sales person what his priorities are for the next 90 days. If they match – that’s great. If they don’t, you now have a unique coaching opportunity.
You might also want to ask your manager periodically, “What are your priorities for the next quarter?” Once again, if you have never asked this specific question, you might be surprised at the response you get.
3. Focus on goals. During my sales management training programs I always observe a great deal of interest in the subject of motivating salespeople.
I’m here to tell you, that one of the best kept secrets about motivation is goals. You see, the world we live in today is almost indescribable.
Multitasking has been ratcheted up to levels that are mind boggling. It’s difficult to stay focused because of constant e-mails, texting, voice mails, social media, and playing old ordinary interruptions and distractions.
One of the best ways to motivate your sales team is to keep them focused on clearly defined goals. And you can achieve this with relentless reinforcement and repetition.
4. The 80/20 Rule. Never under estimate the power of the 80/20 Rule. It has never let me down
Let me give you a practical example of how this works. Imagine your company is getting ready to launch a new product, and you’re asked to provide a six month sales forecast for your sales team.
Here’s how some (nave) sales managers would do it. You have 10 salespeople and you believe each sales person can sell 2 new products a month. That means you expect your team to sell 20 new products a month or a total of 120 products during the first six months.
To be sure this is based on good intentions, however it’s seldom based on reality. The reality is 20% of your sales team will sell 80% of the new products. This means 2 salespeople will sell 2 new products a month which adds up to a total of 24 sales during the first six months.
Anybody can create an exaggerated sales forecast, you would be wiser to base your forecast on the proven 80/20 Rule.
5. Set the example. You may not realize this yet, but your sales team’s behavior is a reflection of your behavior. For example, always being on time or always being late.