In this constantly evolving market of talent, millennials constitute the largest share of the American workforce according to the new Pew Research Centre analysis. This indicates that a new type of sales team is on the rise, requiring an entirely different kind of sales leadership to help it grow and comply.
To deal with this new sales legion, as well as the GenX population, sales leaders must have the necessary passion, enthusiasm and an ability to constantly motivate their diverse team. However, that alone won’t suffice. They need some effective tricks and practices in their team management repertoire to lead successfully.
Let’s focus on the best practices that successful sales leaders typically adopt to deal with today’s diverse workforce. The journey commences by delineating a set of clear objectives.
1. Set up SMART goals: SMART simply stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound. The sales process is simply about goals, and with the new highly competitive workforce, it’s imperative to keep these goals realistic and measurable.
Successful leaders root their goals in their business’s strategy and keep their teams aware of the broader vision of the company. They further break down these goals into multiple steps and monitor the changes along the way. They keep the team updated with the results and recognize people for their hard work. Problems arise when the results are poor.
How do successful leaders deal with their team’s poor performance?
2. Keep the figures secondary: Yes, the sales process is always about metrics, but numbers are beyond the control of any sales leader. The successful ones focus more on what they can do to help their sales force grow in order to achieve these numbers.
They coach their team on practical marketing tactics and teach them the relevant management skills to handle more clients successfully. They do not micromanage. Rather, they let their team members monitor and focus on their own revenue generation efforts, and offer a holistic feedback from time to time.
3. Offer holistic 360-degree feedback: The feedback is both about individual goals and outcomes and job competencies. Good leaders observe how their team closes a deal, and how team members interact with each other. They address hard facts and job competencies in a courteous way and offer relevant solutions when required.
Where possible, their feedback is backed by relevant facts and figures. They continuously support and motivate their team members to enhance their skills by taking courses/training sessions in areas such as client management, team coordination, or other technical skills. They believe in building up a strong collaborative team.
4. Build a strong team: Many sales leaders believe in creating competition within teams, making incentives, perks, and bonuses as part of the process. This strategy is, however, short-lived.
Successful leaders collaborate freely to share, brainstorm and fine-tune strategies. The fresh perspective of millennials in conjunction with the experience and knowledge of GenX can help achieve better sales performance and an improved ROI in the long term. Successful leaders also do not hesitate to acknowledge failure.
5. Admit failures gracefully: Successful sales leaders are not one to avoid failure at all costs. Rather, they handle it with poise and reflect on the outcome and make changes to do better next time.
Instead of blaming their team, they sit down and listen to their views on how to deal with the situation, and allow them to accept the failures head-on and continue to guide them to achieve higher levels of success to become future sales leaders.
6. Develop next-gen leaders: Career growth is important to each and every employee. Millennials, being young, are more enthusiastic to acquire new skill-sets while others employees in the team with better experience and knowledge desire to be trained for managerial abilities.
Good leaders ensure that their team grows, both on an individual level and as a whole. They make sure that they pay forward to meet the succession planning requirements. They select senior team members to undergo leadership development programs to be later promoted as a leader.
So, do you have what it takes to be a successful sales leader? These best practices may help you to move from the position of a team member to a team leader. And if you are a leader reading this, we would love to hear your views. You may be able to add more to this list.