Every sales person knows that they live or die by their ability to hit sales targets. And one of the worst things that any sales leader has to suffer is the walk of shame to the boss’s office or the boardroom at the end of the month when its time to explain why your team hasn’t made the figures.
As the leader, it’s only right that you take one for the team.
But the difference between a sales leader who will thrive and one who is doomed to fail is the ability to say what you will do differently to hit the numbers next time around instead of preparing your excuses for why you didn’t hit the targets this time.
A picture of success
This shouldn’t be a difficult job for any sales leader because any good sales person knows what a successful sales operation looks like.
It’s when you’re not just closing sales, but you have a pipeline which will get you to the next targets.
It’s when you go through your team’s prospecting plans and their diaries are looking full with appointments.
It’s when your people aren’t just following up new leads but are creating their own and then nurturing them through the sales process: qualifying out the ones who aren’t ready to make space for ones with more promise.
Smells like team spirit
Yes, a lot of this is the basics of sales, but the reality is that you can only build game-changing momentum to hit any kind of sales targets when you have the right foundations in place.
This is where sales leaders have to make a difference. They have to get people motivated to do the basic things right again and again.
And it is here that many make common mistakes that undermine performance.
Things like making an assumption that sales targets and bonuses are enough to motivate your teams.
The expectation that every individual should be able to thrive and survive without your support as they win new clients.
The assumption that they will be doing everything you would be doing in the same situation in order to succeed.
Frequently, the reason why sales teams fail is because they aren’t really teams at all: they are a collection of individuals working in the same team to hit their own share of a target for which they feel no sort of connection.
Of course, there is a place for financial incentives and rewards to fire up your sales performance. Particularly when those rewards and sought after and personalised to be that powerful carrot.
But motivation is a prerequisite to hitting any target, and being motivator-in-chief is the job of every sales leader.
Good sales leaders understand this.
These are the people who know that inspiring a team isn’t just about a vision or a big target, but a plan for getting there, knowing their manager is on their side and ready to support.
They are the ones who know that reward isn’t just about financial incentives but the recognition of a job well-done or generous praise for hard work.
They are the ones who understand that when things go wrong, the fix is as much their problem as anyone else’s.
These are the ingredients for the massive motivation you need to get your team performing on fire. Every sales leader should remember it’s actually a simple recipe for success when they step up as managers and make sure they are doing all the right things to inspire and reward the performance they need.