Turning Around a Nonperforming Sales Team: A Professional Sales Company Perspective
Often when a company brings in new sales management, it's because something wasn't working before. And if you're the new management, that means your first job is to figure out what's been going wrong, and then turn it around as quickly as you can.
It can be an overwhelming proposition to turn a failing sales team into a successful one. Fortunately, the good news is that once you've identified the problem, you're halfway to solving it. As a professional sales company, one of the things we do best here at Netpique sales outsourcing is analyzing a company's sales efforts, pinpointing causes for the issues they are having, and then formulating solutions that not only resolve the problems, but also lead to stable long-term organic growth for the company.
There are a lot of things that can go wrong in sales, but many problems can be prevented or eliminated by making sure a few key building blocks are in place. Here are the elements that we've discovered over the years make all the difference when it comes to sales success. If you inherit a sales team, see which of these building blocks are in place, and if you have a weakness in one, work to fix it.
Strong Sales Culture
Some companies make the mistake of thinking that a positive sales "culture" is just fluff, or something that can come out of a few pep talks as an afterthought. The reality is, though, your company will have a culture. You can either leave that culture to chance or consciously shape it. If you leave it to chance, it's likely that your discouraged sales team will create a culture of laziness, dishonesty, or negativity.
If those are the symptoms you're facing, it's time to make a change. A positive sales culture starts with treating your employees fairly and providing for their needs, in the shape of a competitive salary and benefits. All efforts to shape a positive sales culture will fail if this foundation is not in place first. If you're sure that your company is treating its sales representatives well, you can go ahead and start building a positive sales culture by regularly celebrating accomplishments, creating fun contests, and making sure your sales representatives have exciting rewards to look forward to on a daily, weekly, and more long-term basis.
It's easy for sales representatives to look at their managers and notice they seem to make more money and work less than they do. Especially if their managers are not providing the support they need to be successful, this type of relationship between managers and sales representatives can be a recipe for resentment.
If you detect this sort of adversarial relationship between the leaders and the rank and file, it's time to change the way sales management happens in your company. One of the biggest mistakes managers make is managing too much and leading too little. Metrics and accountability are important, but if they are not accompanied by real support, your sales teams will feel exploited rather than motivated. One of the ways we successfully solve this problem at Netpique is to make some of our managers selling managers. When our sales teams see their managers out selling along with them, those managers instantly gain relevance and respect. Make sure that your sales representatives consider their managers mentors, and feel like requests for help will be me with support and real solutions.
Resources for Recruiting
Many companies underestimate the amount of resources they need to dedicate to sales recruiting to be successful. Even the best sales teams experience attrition. Rather than viewing recruiting as something to be done once, or only when your company needs to expand, think of it as an ongoing process to be built into your sales program. Here at Netpique sales outsourcing, we maintain consistent recruiting both to keep full headcount in all our markets and to maintain a "bench" of qualified candidates on file, so that we always have a pool to draw from.
Some companies keep an in-house recruiting team, while others find that outsourcing their recruiting makes more sense. Either way, it's important to make sure that your sales managers set aside some time each week to interview candidates, and that you have a streamlined on-boarding program to easily integrate new recruits into your existing sales teams.
Does your company need help with recruiting, analyzing its sales weaknesses and strengths, or developing a plan to create more consistent growth? Netpique sales outsourcing can help!