3 Strategies to Position Sales Teams for Growth
As the pressure for sales teams to succeed increases, so too does the need for sales leaders to develop their sellers’ skills and potential.
But there are a couple problems preventing them from doing so.
First, many sales leaders rely on an outdated sales leadership approach. The old-school method of hiring sales reps, pushing them through onboarding that provides only the “need-to-know” basics, and sending them into the field no longer works.
Instead, sales leaders must work collaboratively with their team members to develop their skills and potential. To do that, sales leaders themselves need training and they must have modern revenue enablement tools that allow them to provide continuous learning, easily coach their sales reps, and uncover sellers’ full capabilities.
Second, sales leaders do not have enough time to help their reps develop their skills and give them the customized coaching and guidance they need. In fact, 76% of sales leaders have too many demands on their time, Brandon Hall Group research shows.
76% of sales leaders have too many demands on their time.
—Brandon Hall Group
“There are not enough hours in the day, so we have to find some tools out there to help automate some processes so that some tasks can be taken off our plate so we can spend more time developing our salespeople,” said David Ashe, director of sales development at Allego, in a recent report, Sales Leaders as Talent Developers: Strategies for Success.
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3 Strategies for Building High-Growth Sales Teams
For sales leaders who feel they are drowning in tasks and are unable to help their sales teams develop their skills, all hope is not lost. You can take steps now to get relief and set your sales reps on a path toward growth. Here are three strategies you can implement now.
1. Provide Continuous Learning for Sales Reps
Once upon a time, having a traditional onboarding program for new sales reps was considered sufficient. The problem with that type of learning, however, is sellers receive too much information at once and can’t remember it all. Plus, without reinforcement, people gradually forget what they learn.
In addition, traditional learning is often one size fits all and doesn’t consider a new hire’s sales skills, expertise, and goals.
A better option is to build an environment of continuous learning that develops skills in ways that align with sales reps’ career goals, as well as organizational goals. Also called everboarding, this learning strategy supports and educates employees along a continuum rather than the one-and-done approach.
A modern learning platform can help you implement continuous learning practices. Using a mobile-first enablement solution, you can regularly disseminate bite-sized content in the flow of sellers’ work, reinforce skills using role-playing and quizzes, automated flash cards, short videos, and provide sales coaching via automated conversation intelligence.
2. Coach and Develop Sales Talent
Sales coaching is essential to drive continuous improvement. Be careful not to confuse coaching with feedback, though. The two are very different. Coaching involves skill development, which requires training your reps. Whereas feedback is merely offering opinions or critiques.
Since time is a rare commodity for sales leaders, they need a conversation intelligence tool that uses AI to automate much of the process.
Conversation intelligence allows sales leaders to coach from “game tape,” observing exactly how sellers interact with buyers in the field, the precise language they use, how they describe the company’s value proposition, and how they handle (or don’t handle) objections.
Specifically, managers can use conversation intelligence to:
- Consistently assess every sales rep, regardless of location, to determine if they are achieving the necessary competencies for each stage of the buying cycle
- Get an at-a-glance summary of reps who need attention
- Deliver personalized coaching recommendations, exercises, quizzes, and remedial learning content to help reps improve
Plus, conversation intelligence lets sales managers scale up their coaching. With it, managers can listen to many more sales calls and provide the personalized coaching sales reps need—and want.
In addition, sales leaders should learn the skill of active inquiry and understand how to help sales reps discover answers for themselves that can lead to improved performance. Having a robust sales content management system is important to achieving this. Fill it with tips and best practices from your top sellers, case studies, win and loss reports, and other sales content. And make sure the content is easy to find and includes context, such as when and how to use it.
3. Uncover Sellers’ Full Capabilities
Learning is only part of the solution. Sales leaders can position team members for growth in several ways, including:
- Give sales reps new responsibilities in their current roles
- Involve team members in project teams or initiatives that align with their career goals
- Partner your reps with colleagues for peer-to-peer coaching or mentoring
You want to look beyond current or past performance in evaluating a sales rep’s potential to advance in the organization. Consider capabilities beyond their current job, engagement, and aspiration.
When sales reps feel valued, have the potential to grow, and have a good relationship with the organization (especially their immediate supervisor), not only will they perform better, but they will also stay at the company longer.
“From experience, I can tell you that organizations that have career paths for sales reps — not just to management but other paths as well – do not see high turnover,” Ashe said in the report. “But when reps don’t see the possibilities of a better future, attrition is much higher. When we hire sales reps, we hire them for their talents. It is then up to the leader to develop their talents so they can grow within the company.”
Position Your Sales Team for Success
In today’s fast-paced business world, sales leaders face several challenges, including outdated sales leadership approaches, lack of time for customized coaching, and the need to develop sales reps’ skills and potential. However, there is hope for sales leaders who want to build high-growth sales teams. By providing continuous learning, coaching and developing sales talent, and uncovering sellers’ full capabilities, sales leaders can position their team members for success
Download Sales Leaders as Talent Developers to learn how to connect with sales reps more effectively, coach more efficiently, and improve sales team performance.