• 28th June 2006 - By proteman

    One of the biggest challenges for sales managers today is keeping in touch with salespeople – and keeping them engaged. We asked 50 salespeople and their managers for their best tips on how managers can stay connected with their sales teams. We got a lot of “We don’t do much that’s creative” and “That’s a great question…I could use some ideas” responses. Here are a few of the best ideas we did receive. And we know first-hand that they work, based on TLG’s experience in working with sales organizations. We’d like to hear from sales managers and salespeople – tell us your ideas and we’ll add them to the list! Email me at info@theloyaltygroup.com.

    1. Do More than Talk about Numbers

    David, a computer software salesperson from Chicago, says he communicates with his current manager “only when I have to.” Conversations with his manager focus on the numbers, the sales forecast and “why didn’t they buy from us?” In contrast, David describes a past manager who was “excellent.” She would “take the time to walk through things, take a look at different angles (to approaching sales opportunities), and discuss the ‘what ifs.” This showed that she cared about his success, and motivated him by focusing on opportunities, not just the negatives.

    2. Infuse Meetings with Learning and Fun

    According to Monica Frederick, V.P. of Sales at ModernHealth, Inc., “Staying connected to the sales team on a consistent basis is one of the biggest challenges for a sales manager!” She uses meetings to build teamwork and keep salespeople engaged. In her biweekly meetings, she kicks off by reviewing the company’s mission and team meeting ground rules. She has also been using The Loyalty Group’s thinktwice® Sales Cards to make meetings more learning oriented. Each meeting, a sales team member takes a turn facilitating a 45-60 minute sales lesson from the thinktwice® Sales Meeting Leader Guide. Team members leave with in-field assignments and discuss their results at the next sales meeting. Monica has also chartered a Modern Toastmaster’s Club for her sales team that meets biweekly, to build teamwork and strengthen presentation skills.

    3. Schedule Sacred Time on your Calendar

    There’s a saying: What gets scheduled gets done. If you are like most time-challenged sales managers, you live by your calendar. Most sales managers would never miss a meeting with a big prospect, but are willing to reschedule meetings with salespeople for more important priorities. As a sales manager, your salespeople are your customers. You reach your goals through them. So treat them like your best customers. Schedule time on your calendar to talk on a regular basis. And keep those appointments. What should you talk about? Get them talking by asking for examples of:

    • The recent sales call they’re most proud of.
    • The biggest sales challenge they’ve faced this week.
    • The best question they asked a customer this week.
    • The toughest objection they’ve heard recently and how they addressed it.
    • How they’ve applied a skill taught in a recent sales training class, and how it worked.

    Just listen. You’ll be surprised at what you learn, and the positive impact it will have on your relationships with your team.

    ©2006 The Loyalty Group. All Rights Reserved. www.TheLoyaltyGroup.com

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