The new year is often a time of renewed energy and commitment for businesses. For many sales leaders, it is their first quarter, so they have every hope and belief that they can meet and exceed their sales goal for the coming year. If you are embarking on a new sales year, what can you do to make your goals a reality? That is, where should you focus your time in 2014 to make sure your team hits their sales number?
The answer is pretty simple. You need to spend less time focusing on spreadsheets, pipeline reviews and territory plans. And you need to spend more time coaching your reps to build the skills they need to acquire and retain more customers, as well as keep up their motivation to service customers throughout the year. Here are three easy things you can start doing right now that will increase your odds of helping your reps hit their sales number this year:
- Hold consistent one-to-one meetings with your reps
Almost all sales managers do one-to-ones and not many sales managers do them consistently and consistently well. This year commit to a regular schedule of one-to-ones (either weekly or every other week, depending on the size of your sales team). Put the meetings on your calendar as a recurring appointment. And then use a consistent format for discussion. Focus on personal updates, goal/activity updates, customer updates, and open discussion time to listen to the rep’s needs, questions or ideas.
- Give your reps regular feedback on their sales skills
Helping your reps increase their selling skills is one of the most important ways you can help them achieve more, as well as increase their motivation to perform. This is because reps are more engaged when they feel confident in their skills. Make sure you fully debrief any joint sales calls you do with them by reviewing all the sales skills they used or should have used during the call. Praise their strengths and give them specific feedback and examples of how they can improve in the areas where they struggle.
- Hold a career development discussion with your reps
According to EcSell Institute research, helping a rep achieve their career goals is one of the most effective ways for a manager to increase the reps’ motivation to perform. To do this, you must first know where they want to go in their career and partner with them to identify the abilities or skills they need to develop to achieve these goals. To this end, you should hold a structured career development discussion with reps that focuses on understanding their underutilized talents, their interests and their long-range goals at least annually.