4 Must-Have Attributes of a High-Performing Sales Team in 2018
So your sales team is full of people who are great at what they do, but does it actually feel like a team? And are you all working together like a well-oiled engine or pulling against each other as you run in different directions?
Lots have been written about the characteristics of a successful salesperson, but so often the importance of the team as a whole is overlooked.
Salespeople are typically competitive and goal-driven by nature. It’s probably what got them the job in the first place. Unfortunately, these characteristics often don’t go hand-in-hand with helping others, collaborating, and working for the greater good.
If this situation sounds familiar to you, take a look at these four traits of high-performing sales teams. Working on these will help you cultivate a culture where people are not only fired up to achieve their own goals but also see the benefit of working with others to achieve even more.
Working Together Makes Way for High-Performing Teams
Each person has their own unique strengths that make them great at selling, but those individuals need to collaborate with their team to really build a positive sales culture.
Authors Michael Finley and Harvey Robbins agree in their book: “Many companies call sales departments teams, but they’re not really teams, because they don’t operate as teams”. They explain, “They are getting evaluated on individual reward systems and on individual goals and not team goals”
Team members should have a passion for achieving the team’s overall goals – and not just for the financial reward they will receive. One indifferent team member can soon bring the rest down with them, and a demoralized sales person does not make a convincing pitch.
Goals You Can Deliver
Sales teams are heavily goal-focused, but it’s surprisingly common for those goals to be too abstract to really measure or achieve.
There’s nothing wrong with a challenge, but each team member should feel confident about tracking and achieving their own targets. Encourage an accountability culture where each individual records their own success and reports back to their manager, and by doing so build a high-performing sales team.
Investing In What Really Matters
Sales reps need to be constantly learning, both in terms of the outside market and their personal skills. Great managers need to continually coach their team members, recognizing their strengths and weaknesses and working with them to build on what they have. This level of attention helps managers to assign tasks and clients in the most appropriate way.
Yet, there is something of greater importance that sales managers should be focusing on – empowering team members to take better action by including them in the decision-making process. Not a lot of companies implement this strategy, but Peter Barron notes, “Each day [sales managers] are faced with a myriad of decisions that need to be made. Think about which decisions you absolutely need to make solo, and which ones would be better made by involving employees. Experiment with giving employees more ownership of decisions that impact their work. Empower them to make a difference.”
By teaching team members to recognize opportunities and giving them the authority to make decisions we bet you’ll end up with confident, high-performing sales team.
No More Box-Ticking
How often do you find yourself wishing there were more hours in the day? Time is one thing you can’t create more of, so make sure your team’s processes aren’t needlessly draining that precious resource.
Think about how much of each day is actually spent selling, and how much is spent on research, admin, order processing, meetings, and travel. Of course these things are all necessary for closing a deal, but the right systems can make things way more efficient.
Time management comes naturally to some but for others it has to be learned. Each person will go about managing their time in a slightly different way, so imposing systems from above won’t always deliver the best results. More than likely you’ve encountered a high-performing sales rep who had never tracked a single action in Salesforce. Still, team members should be encouraged to regularly assess their processes for streamlining opportunities – and to share ideas among the team.
A high-performing sales team isn’t just about the competence of the individuals within it; although each person has their own sales target, the best teams are willing to collaborate for shared gain. The best teams are not just willing – they ENJOY working and learning together.