5 Steps to Get Your Sales Team Back on Track

5 Steps to Get Your Sales Team Back on Track
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Do You Need to Get Your Sales Team Back on Track?
At some point, every sales leader needs to get their sales team back on track.  Whether it caused by top producers walking out the door or losing a major account, it is critical that you get your sales team back on track.

Not Enough Sales Leaders Take Sales Attrition Seriously
Let’s start with top producers walking out the door.  An American Management Association survey of 1,000 companies found that the bulk of sales managers were not very concerned about losing their tops sales reps. We believe too many sales leaders are so burdened with meeting their quarterly sales targets that they greatly underestimate:

Use Employee Exit Interviews
The first step should be open and honest employee exit interviews. If your sales reps have already secured another position, they will be more likely to answer your questions frankly. Be sure to frame your queries with your sincere desire to improve the situation.

The interviews could steer you in many different directions. The top sources of sales attrition are typically: unclear sales strategies, poor sales management, mismatched sales hiring, inadequate sales compensation, unfairly drawn territory or account mapping, overly complex sales processes, and a lack of sales skills and tools.

These common causes of sales turnover are fairly straightforward to fix.  For example, highly customized solution selling training could help re-set your sales reps’ ability to add customer value. But consider a more comprehensive reason for sales turnover cited by sales reps – a misaligned sales culture that makes it hard to get work done, close deals, and serve clients.

Five Steps to Get Your Sales Team Back on Track
The backbone of a high performing sales team is a common direction and plan to achieve sales targets. Every sales team member should know the direction they need to pull, feel that their efforts are valued, and know how reaching team goals will benefit them and the organization as a whole.  Here is a step-by-step plan for creating a common vision:

  1. Design Your Sales Strategy
    Strategic sales clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing sales teams.  Gather the sales team together to define what sets you apart from the competition, your ideal target clients, and how will success be measured.  Then create a clear plan to get you from where you are to where you want to be.
  2. Define Sales Performance Expectations
    Once your overall sales strategy is clear, your next step is to clarify performance expectations so each sales team member knows what they must do to reach the agreed-upon sales goals.  For sales performance expectations to be effective, they must be fair, transparent, accurate, timely, consistent, and achievable.  This includes identifying both sales success and sales failure.
  3. Create a Sales Culture of Accountability
    A clear sales strategy with established performance expectations sets the stage for your to define a healthy and aligned sales culture.  Sales culture – how work gets done – accounts for 40% of the difference between high and low performing sales teams.  High performing sales teams establish a sales culture of accountability where the way work gets done is fully aligned with customer success.

    Then adherence to “The Way” is actively measured and rewarded.  In high performance sales environments, high performers receive a disproportionate share of the rewards on offer and under performers must improve or exit in a timely and respectful manner.

  4. Encourage the Sharing of Ideas and Issues
    Our organizational alignment research found that the timely and transparent flow of information rated as the fourth most important attribute to get right if you want to grow revenue faster than your peers.  Make sure your sales meetings and processes are ruled by transparency, mutual respect, and the honest, straightforward sharing of information.

    Does your sales team have the information that they need to be successful?

  5. Align Sales Rewards and Recognition
    Reward top sales performers and celebrate sales milestones as they are reached. Too often, sales leaders ignore this important step in the bustle of daily tasks. If you want to keep or get your sales team back on track, they must want to come to work each day and feel proportionately rewarded for their efforts.

The Bottom Line
Your sales team will inevitably get off track for one reason or another.  Be sure to take care of the things that are in your control by defining a clear sales strategy, aligning your sales culture to your sales strategy, and engaging and retaining your top sales reps.  An engaged sales team is more productive sales team.

To Learn more about how to get your sales team back on track, download How to Optimize Your Sales Force in the Face of Increased Performance Pressure

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