When companies aren’t happy with their sales levels, it’s common for them to think that they need to bring in new talent. While there are situations where that may be true, in many cases they already have the talent they need. What they actually need is a way to properly nurture a specific segment of their sales people.
That segment is salespeople who are doing pretty well, but not performing at their absolute best. The reason this is the segment companies should target is with just a few changes, they can help those salespeople reach their full potential. Let’s look at what companies in this position need to do in order to help their salespeople excel:
Make Feedback a Priority
Some managers are worried that if they give their team too much feedback, it’s going to seem like they’re nagging, and actually have a negative impact on performance. While that could be true if the majority of the feedback wasn’t constructive or actionable, as long as it’s given in a form that people can actually use, regular feedback is exactly what salespeople need to hone their approach.
Rethink How You Pair Managers
The standard thinking is that the best managers should be paired with the lowest tier of performers. The reasoning behind this belief is that great managers will be able to pull those who are just getting by out of their slump.
However, there’s not any concrete evidence to back up this assumption. In fact, evidence from a study done by Stanford’s Business School shows the opposite to be true. You should strongly consider supporting salespeople who are on the brink of breaking through by pairing them with your best managers.
Push, But Not Too Hard
This ties into the concept of making feedback a priority. If you want people to perform at their best, you need to challenge them by pushing them slightly outside of their comfort zone. But what you don’t want to do is push them so far that they’re simply not able to handle the challenge you gave them. In order to maximize performance, you need to find the right balance between challenging and manageable.
Take a Broader Look at Performance
Regardless of the industry, sales is always going to be a numbers game. Since the goal of sales is to move the bottom line, this line of work isn’t ever going to be separated from data and numbers. That being said, just because sales figures are the most important metric doesn’t mean it’s all you should discuss with salespeople that you’re trying to help improve.
In addition to discussing other areas where they’re doing very well, you can also talk about aspects of their performance where there’s room for improvement. Since it’s easy for salespeople to get obsessed with their numbers, the benefit of discussing other areas of their performance is it can help keep their morale high even when they have an off day.
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