Okay, our team will say it; sales leaders and teams often find themselves in tough positions. In short, everyone expects them to produce consistently—as if sales teams were robots and machines. Those in sales know you're only as good as your last close. And if you aren't in sales, well, you should also take a read of this productive rant about sales. Why? Everyone in a company needs to know the unique challenges with sales.
Problem: The sales team must always perform. In other words, they never catch a break. People always expect massive growth from sales. And if there's a dip, people often see it as the sales team's fault.
Opportunity: Business leaders, and everyone on company teams, need to strike a balance between empathy and expectation. The reality is that salespeople are humans. They're not machines. However, if everyone supports them and promotes a culture for revenue growth, it's a win for everyone in the company.
Resolution: Want to know how you could support your sales team as a leader, peer, or team member? All you have to do is read through this productive rant about sales. Remember, knowledge is power toward understanding. And understanding helps improve positive action.
1. Sales is everyone’s job. If a company doesn’t generate revenue, it will eventually cease to exist.
Sales leaders and teams realize they have to generate revenue and keep their company running. They have a tough job because they can never stop selling. It doesn’t matter what time of the day it is or how much energy they have left, or how they feel—they must always keep going. However, this doesn’t mean that only salespeople help to grow sales.
Here’s a scoop for you if you happen to work outside of sales. Everyone in the company should work to generate revenue and help keep the company going. Every person needs to try to contribute to the success of their organization. It’s not just up to sales only to generate revenue and keep things afloat. In short, it’s everyone’s responsibility.
2. Create reports that drive action. Don’t just measure to measure.
Many salespeople get a dopamine rush and thrill when making a sale. They love to close the deal, but no one updates them on what happens after the close. Here’s the deal. Your sales team should get updates on how clients do. The reality is that salespeople are in the business of relationships. As a result, they could help during critical customer moments.
Reporting—beyond just sales metrics—is one of the best things you can do to support sales.
1) To measure success—Provide reporting to show your team’s output and where improvements can happen to keep hitting the numbers.
2) To identify trends—This reporting gives a sense of how the market changes and how your team should adjust.
3) To identify areas for improvement—This allows you to see where your team might lack so you can take steps toward improvement. For instance, do you need to invest more time into training or providing coaching for your top performers?
3. Don’t tolerate toxic people—even if they are your top performers.
Sales leaders who want breakthrough results must demonstrate a commitment to protect their team—not their jobs. And let's face it; sometimes top-performing salespeople are also toxic. What does that do? It creates turn-over. Who wants to spend time in the pressure-cooker of sales and have to deal with toxicity? It just doesn't work. What's more, it costs the company money as you seek to replace sales members.
Leadership isn’t just about what a leader can do, but what they won't do. Businesses will always want leaders willing to make tough decisions even if they’re unpopular. If a sales leader tolerates toxic people, they give up one of the most powerful tools in their toolkit—the ability to motivate people by example.
4. Don't just tell people what you want from them. Tell them what you want for them.
Some leaders are only concerned with themselves and their own success. And they may give the impression they don't care about the team because they only look out for themselves. This type of leader may always take the credit but share the blame. But this isn’t a good way to manage the team and an even worse way to generate top-notch sales results.
Instead, leaders need to focus on what they can do for their sales team. Company and sales leaders should look to serve and help their sales team get everything they need to do the job. So, it means using leading technology to optimize their leads. And it might also mean boosting professional development if that's what they need. However, all of it starts by listening to the sales team.
5. Sales leaders who want breakthrough results must demonstrate a commitment to protect their team—not their jobs.
Closing out our rant about sales leads us to managers who make sure to protect their team—and not just themselves. In other words, they provide a safe environment for people to be vulnerable, learn, grow, and make mistakes. Why is this? It's because the best sales leaders know that a culture of fear doesn’t breed success. They know that people will never perform at a high level if they constantly worry about failing or disappointing leaders and their teams.
Think about it: If you have ever been in a toxic work environment where your boss was yelling and screaming at you, chances are you felt some anxiety around going into work. You might have even dreaded going in to do your job. And when we dread doing something, our productivity suffers as well as our creativity and happiness. This isn't good for anyone involved in the company.
In sum, remember this about our productive rant about sales. It isn't just about motivating—it's about creating an environment where people can grow and flourish. It's not always easy, but it's necessary to improve results in any industry. And it starts with understanding what drives people to want to succeed at work—and what doesn't.
Ben Stroup is Chief Growth Architect and President at Velocity Strategy Solutions where he helps leaders design, develop, and deploy smarter business growth strategies. Ben is a futurist, disruptor, and data champion. He leads a team that takes a structured learning approach to business challenges, which allows them to assist leaders in bridging the gap between ideas, innovation, and revenue—taking ideas from mind to market.
Velocity Strategy Solutions is an on-demand, next-generation business strategy and management consulting firm which provides clients with a relentless focus on data, execution, and results that positively impact the bottom line. Velocity delivers integrated people and revenue strategies combined with a disciplined approach to growth architecture that elevates the capacity of leaders, teams, and organizations to succeed and win more.