Last week, after a keynote program called Gourmet Living, an attendee came up to me afterward and discussed her challenges as a sales manager. The last three years had been tough, and she was looking for new ideas for 2015 to excite her team and also to simply change up the routine.
Since my keynote program had been about creating a Menu for Your Life, with many metaphors around cooking, I started thinking about what her sales management recipe should be. For about 30 minutes, we discussed a variety of ideas. So if 2014 left a bad taste in your mouth, use the following ingredients to create a new recipe to make 2015 your best year ever.
Become a detective
In sales management workshops, we always talk about “inspect what you expect.” Once a week review your sales team's CRM system to ensure they are using it properly and casually ask each team member about certain activities within their key accounts. Once they know you are actually reviewing their accounts they will be more precise and begin to be more accurate. Next, make two extra sales calls per month with each sales rep. Validate they can sell your firm and they are using the proper sales tools. These actions are not micro-management, they are designed to provide you greater opportunities to coach and grow your team.
Recognize your sales team might be tired or somewhat challenged based upon the past few years of tight budgets and stress. Fire them up with new products or packaging/pricing, change the game with new times for sales and sales training meetings — even rearrange the sales offices. Once a month, take your sales team on a “field trip” to visit a customer, let the customer “sell” your team on your products/services.
Find creative dust
Read a book on creativity and share it with your team. The truly great salespeople are the most creative and it's true that creativity can be learned! As a sales manager, creative sales strategies will push you over your quota — get your entire team into a creativity fix.
Become an SOB
That is, a Student of the Business. Invest in sales management training, books, DVDs. Create your own network of other sales managers where you can discuss ideas, learn what is working for others and explore new sales management concepts. Push yourself to become a professional in 2014, consider visiting other offices and view how their sales managers run their sales teams.
While these are just a few ideas, I would enjoy reading your reactions or other recipes for success below. As a team of readers, let’s build up a complete for each as we work to make 2015 a feast we will always remember.