How to manage a sales team: 4 tips for leading a sales team to success
Are you a new sales manager or director in need of some tips to manage a successful sales team?
Or, perhaps you already have a successful team but simply want some fresh ideas for developing salespeople and keeping your team moving forward.
Whether you’re managing a sales team for the first time or not, knowing how to run a successful sales team isn’t always easy, especially with our modern hybrid workforces. However, you can take some simple steps to start leading a sales team to success or further develop seasoned sales reps.
Are you ready to learn some of the most effective sales management strategies for remote or hybrid teams?
In this article, we’re talking about how to manage a sales team. You’ll learn some of the top sales guidelines to successfully lead your team for months and years to come.
Keep scrolling to get more information on how to improve your sales team.
The top 4 tips to manage a successful sales team
Not sure how to manage a sales team effectively?
Every company is different and has unique needs when it comes to sales. However, some basic principles form the foundation of any successful sales team.
Here are four tips for leading a sales team to success that any sales manager can follow and implement in their workplace.
1. Provide engaging, ongoing training
Providing your sales team with engaging, ongoing training is at the top of our effective sales management strategies list.
Sales training is a necessary and valuable investment. A good sales training program helps your sales reps:
- Gain confidence in the selling process
- Understand your products and services
- Know what resources are available and how to access them
- Refine and upskill their selling abilities
Unfortunately, many statistics show that companies drop the ball when it comes to developing salespeople:
- 35% of people working in sales blame low-quality training for their lack of engagement
- 26% of sales reps claim that their sales training isn’t effective
- 42% of salespeople say they don’t have adequate information before making a sales approach
If you want to avoid becoming part of these statistics, you need to offer engaging and ongoing training.
The way that employees learn and retain information is changing. You need to provide sales reps with the necessary information, but the way it’s delivered should drive engagement and retention.
Engaging training content isn’t:
- Long in-person meetings
- Extensive PowerPoint presentations
- Lengthy pages of text or hours of training videos
- Unrelated to the person’s role and responsibilities
Instead, training that captures a learner’s attention is:
- Relevant and job-specific
- Bite-sized and easy to consume
- Delivered using a variety of modalities (e.g., VILT, games, etc.)
But making your sales training material engaging is only the first step. You also need to provide ongoing training opportunities to sales reps.
Did you know that learners can forget 75% of what they learn after six days if it isn’t applied or reviewed?
But when learners periodically review training content (called the spacing effect), they can recall up to 80% of what they learned after 60 days.
So, what does this mean?
It means that you can’t expect your sales team to remember everything from the training after one go around. Instead, you need to provide them with ongoing and refresher training. And you should do this anytime you introduce new information, concepts, or processes.
The best way to start leading a sales team to success is by providing engaging and ongoing training.
2. Set realistic goals
Another one of our top tips to manage a successful sales team is setting realistic goals.
Goals are beneficial for you as a manager and for your sales reps.
Benefits of goals for a manager
As a manager, goals allow you to measure and track your employees’ progress and performance. They help you identify areas of improvement for a salesperson or evaluate the effectiveness of a training program.
If you believe an achievable goal is to have ten calls (or approaches) per week and a rep only has five, you can have a conversation with this employee to find out what’s keeping them from reaching the goal.
Or, perhaps you provided training on how to close more sales and expect your team to have a higher close rate post-training. If you don’t see an increase in the closed sales rate, you can re-evaluate the training to see if the content needs to be revised.
Benefits of goals for employees
Goals also benefit your sales reps by giving them a direction to move in. Instead of telling salespeople to simply “go make calls” or “send emails to prospects,” a goal gives them a concrete target to aim for.
Without any goals, your sales team will feel aimless and won’t know whether they’re being productive and adding value.
One last note on goals is that setting realistic goals doesn’t mean setting the bar low or not challenging your team. You don’t need to “shoot for the moon,” but you also don’t want to aim too low.
3. Streamline the sales process
Tip number three for how to improve your sales team is to streamline the sales process.
- Do sales reps know what’s expected of them during the sales process?
- Are sales materials and resources organized and easily accessible?
- Is there a defined sales journey from one step to another, or are your salespeople often unsure what to do next?
If you answered “no” to any of the questions above, you might need to work on streamlining and defining your sales process.
A streamlined sales cycle is a repeatable process that salespeople can follow each time they engage in a sale. It provides them with a clear understanding of how to move from receiving a qualified lead to closing a deal.
A good sales process also gives reps access to resources and materials that can help them during the sales process. These resources should be easily accessible and can include:
- Infographics, videos, and other visual content
- Statistics and specifications about your products/services
- Questions to ask during different parts of the process
- Frequent objections and common responses
Ultimately, a streamlined sales process ensures that your team can effectively engage in and close sales consistently.
4. Coach your employees
Coaching is more than simply checking in on your team now and then or holding 3-, 6-, or 12-month reviews.
Instead, coaching involves intentionally setting aside regular time to meet with a few select reps consistently. It’s a way to guide employees toward company objectives and provide employees with:
- Job-specific guidance and direction
- The opportunity to hone sales skills
- Intentional interaction with company values
- Constructive feedback
Managers who invest in coaching their sales reps can reap benefits, like:
- Improved employee performance
- Increased employee engagement
- Quickened leadership development
Coaching your employees empowers them to think for themselves and gain greater confidence in their roles.
How to run a successful sales team: Sales readiness software
Sales teams are essential to an organization's success, so sales managers and directors need to know how to manage a sales team. However, leading a sales team to success is no easy feat.
To help you know how to run a successful sales team, we shared four tips with you:
- Provide engaging, ongoing training
- Set realistic goals
- Streamline the sales process
- Coach your employees
But putting these effective sales management strategies into practice is easier said than done—unless you have the right tool!
At Unboxed Training & Technology, we developed an award-winning sales readiness platform called Spoke®. Spoke is a learning management system (LMS) that allows you to easily train, coach, and manage your sales team. It provides you with the ability to:
- Create and deliver custom training content
- Utilize various learning modalities, like gamification and micro-learning videos
- Keep all your content organized and in one place
- Make data-driven decisions
- Collaborate with employees on action plans
And because Spoke® is an online learning platform that’s remotely accessible, it’s also the perfect solution for a remote or hybrid workforce.
Contact us today to get a demo of Spoke and see how it can transform your sales team.
Request a demo to see how Spoke can drive Skill Agility for your sales team.