One of the quickest ways to grow your sales results and your income next year is to strengthen the competency of your sales managers. With turnover rates in the imaging industry red-lining now in the 60% range (mostly metro centers), it’s hard to argue with the need for a strong sales leader. A recent survey of sales professionals also revealed that the number one reason people quit a sales position is because they don’t like the person they work for. If you have ever worked for a great sales manager, you know what a difference they can make.
To help you and your sales managers succeed, here are five New Year’s resolutions to consider:
1. Focus on sales skill development – not just results.
It’s hard not to focus solely on the numbers, but if you don’t teach your salespeople the art of selling, they may never become self-sufficient – and stay! Most adults learn by doing, so the key to building selling skills is ongoing reinforcement. Try to create some form of ongoing weekly sales skill development exercise as part of every sales meeting agenda.
2. Create individual rep development plans – focus on the person.
Every sales rep is different. Each has their own selling style, their own unique motivations and certainly their own expectations. This is why successful sales managers have a specific plan for each rep on their team. The plan is based on their profile including a realistic view of their strengths and weaknesses. Coaching everyone the same may work for some, but not all.
3. Make sales meetings productive – don’t waste people’s time.
Have you ever attended a sales meeting that could have been handled in an email? If you’ve sold for more than three months, chances are you have seen your share of wasted selling time: long, boring PowerPoint presentations, product info that could have been emailed or meetings that lack a structured agenda. Elite sales managers have a meeting agenda, a meeting plan and then they execute on that plan. Think about it, in professional sports would you ever catch a coach without a practice plan?
4. Inject some FUN in the job – keep things positive.
Customers can be extremely challenging and common sense suggests that people will endure more and try harder if they enjoy going to work. That’s not always an easy task which is why the culture of the sales department must be upbeat and positive. Great sales managers have a way of creating fun contests and humorous challenges that make work fun while generating bigger sales results!
5. Spend more time in the field – but be prepared.
We all act differently in front of a customer. Some can act good...and some, not so good. Take the new hire for example. Who really knows what they’re saying (or not saying) to a customer. Sometimes it can be scary for sales managers to see how their reps engage with a real live customer. Spending more time in the field allows the sales manager to impact more deals, observe the rep's selling skills first hand and coach better than they could behind their desk. If job shadowing isn’t part of your current sales management process, you may be missing a big opportunity to develop people and achieve bigger sales results.
Do you need help with MPS sales training or new hire selling skills? Now may be the time to view what North America’s top Managed Print providers are doing to grow their businesses and their profits. Engage us today to learn more!