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16 Sales Team Management Best Practices for High‑Performing Sales Teams

Lead your team to success and drive profits with our sales team management best practices.

For B2B businesses, their sales team is often their most valuable asset. Unfortunately, sales can be complicated, and poor management or leadership can affect even the best agents.

Managing a sales team requires more than expertise; it demands leadership skills that promote a healthy, happy work environment and encourages employees to reach their goals. The better your sales team management, the better your sales.

However, learning how to manage a sales team takes work. While you might be an excellent salesperson, it doesn't necessarily mean you're an excellent leader. Managing sales teams requires more than experience selling, and leadership might be to blame if your teams struggle to land sales.

Good sales team management increases employee retention rates, keeps employees productive, and supports overall sales initiatives and goals. Keep reading to learn how to run a sales team.

Best practices for managing your sales team

Leading a sales team requires a deep understanding of the business and its customers. Yet, many sales team leaders fail because their employees aren't motivated. Knowing how to run a sales team is much different from knowing how to make a sale, going beyond sales strategies to encourage employees to meet their goals.

Here are a few sales team management strategies to increase sales and employee productivity and morale:

1. Know your team

Many sales teams have autocratic leadership in which one person makes the decisions for the unit, setting their goals and delegating tasks. However, this leadership style doesn't mean managers can't get to know their team members. Ultimately, your leadership style may not resonate with your team, leaving them feeling less motivated and with low morale.

Getting to know your team can improve productivity because it helps you find effective strategies that motivate them to sell. Forming more personal relationships with sales agents can also make them feel comfortable around you, making them more willing to come to you with issues affecting sales goals.

2. Determine your organizational structure

Sales team management relies on an organizational structure that helps everyone learn their responsibilities.

There are 3 types of sales models:

  • The island model relies on sales reps who are given specific responsibilities to perform independently. For instance, they may be responsible for a few top accounts.
  • The assembly line model allows reps to work more collaboratively and efficiently on assigned responsibilities related to a particular stage in the sales process. For example, you might have someone dedicated to vetting leads and another for closing sales.
  • The pod model is similar to an assembly line in that groups work together yet separately, fulfilling specific duties related to the stage in the buyer's journey. The main difference between an assembly line and a pod is that a pod uses groups while an assembly line designates responsibilities per individual. In pods, sales reps don't compete with one another. Instead, their pods act as units or smaller teams within a sales department.

The best organizational structure for your sales team depends on the roles and team size.

3. Establish clear goals and expectations

Setting clear goals and expectations helps sales employees understand what to do. You should have sales goals that give them something to work towards, but you should also make responsibilities and deadlines unmistakable.

For instance, while your sales team may have an ultimate goal, each has its own responsibilities and individual goals they should be working toward. One agent may be responsible for vetting leads, while another is responsible for closing a certain percentage of deals based on the number of leads.

Establishing goals and expectations also helps you determine where employees are falling short. For example, if one employee has a sales goal of $5,000 and consistently falls below that, you can discuss it with them to determine the underlying issue and improve your sales process.

4. Encourage healthy competition

Healthy competition among sales agents can boost sales by allowing them to measure their performance within a group. Of course, we're talking about healthy competition; encouraging unhealthy competition can affect overall employee morale and decrease the total volume of sales.

The easiest way to encourage competition is to create leaderboards and use competitive compensation structures that make salespeople want to work harder.

5. Provide ongoing career development

Providing ongoing career development can help sales representatives stay motivated because it shows your business cares about them. Many people enter the workforce wanting to grow in their careers, and if your business can't offer them growth opportunities, you may lose your best salespeople.

Instead, encourage ongoing career development that allows them to sharpen their skills and gain new skills to help them climb the corporate ladder. Doing so will also benefit the business because it means you can promote qualified, experienced staff from within the organization.

6. Share detailed, actionable feedback

Sharing actionable feedback can strengthen your sales team. Your feedback should be as detailed as possible. For instance, if you record their phone conversations and notice an employee has a poor tone, guide them on the right path by highlighting how they should speak to prospective customers and offer suggestions.

The more detailed your feedback, the more employees will understand what they need to do to fix issues that arise. Of course, your feedback should also be constructive. If a sales rep is doing well but went off-script, consider whether it's worth it to mention it.

Meanwhile, if a sales rep is consistently underperforming, you should find out why. Talk to them about the problem and understand why their sales are low. You may find their feedback just as valuable as yours. For example, they might tell you they require more training to succeed in the role, meaning they need more guidance.

7. Avoid micromanaging sales reps

No one enjoys being micromanaged. While you should manage and monitor the performance of your sales reps, you shouldn't hover over their shoulders. Instead, you should hold regular sales meetings with the team and share a sales meeting agenda to help them prepare.

Meetings can provide insight into what's happening within the team and whether everyone is meeting their goals. It will also give your team a space to discuss any issues and let them collaborate on solutions.

At the same time, you shouldn't be too distant. You want your sales team to know they can come to you whenever they need help or have a problem.

8. Delegate responsibilities effectively

Delegating responsibilities properly ensures the right team members are assigned duties based on their skills and time. You may have a great salesperson, but that doesn't mean you should overload them with work. Instead, delegation requires you to distribute responsibilities across your team to avoid one member getting overwhelmed and burning out.

While you may want your best salesperson to make the most calls, it's not realistic to put the work of several on one person's shoulders.

9. Tailor your management style to different employees

The key to a good team is having a diverse team. However, this also means that your management style won't resonate with every single employee. Instead, consider tailoring your management style to different employees based on their needs.

There's no best leadership style because every employee is different. For instance, some sales agents may learn by doing, while others prefer to shadow the lead sales rep for several weeks before they feel comfortable on the phone. Whatever the case, you must determine what's best for your team, which means finding out what's most suitable for each employee.

10. Take advantage of technology

Sales teams need technology to help them communicate with leads. A sales CRM helps them track leads through the sales pipeline, allowing them to stay organized and send the right correspondence at the best times.

Sales management software, such as a CRM, can act as a sales hub, making it easier to manage customer data and provide context for sales calls and different types of communication. It can also facilitate communication and assign tasks to improve project management.

For instance, with sales automation, you can send prospective customers emails based on where they are in the sales pipeline. If a lead downloads an e-guide from your website, you might email them to discuss your product or service more. Meanwhile, if someone is much farther along in the sales funnel, you might send an automated email to follow up with them. At the same time, this sales management tool can send a notification directly to reps when a new lead enters the sales pipeline, allowing them to act quickly.

Using sales CRM software can increase productivity by helping reps spend less time tracking down information and data.

11. Recognize achievements

A sales manager should always recognize hard work. A reward for landing the most sales or securing a large account will motivate all your employees. You can acknowledge achievements in many ways, from gifts to private notes and other gestures.

How you recognize these achievements will largely depend on their size and importance.

In any case, making your employees feel like their hard work has been noticed can motivate them to keep working hard for your business.

12. Schedule regular 1:1s

Sales team management isn't just about managing a team; it's about managing each agent. Scheduling regular one-on-one meetings with employees can help you learn more about their needs and individual goals.

For instance, if you have an underperforming sales rep affecting the team's performance, you can work with them individually to make a plan for success.

These meetings also allow reps to express issues they're having privately.

13. Incentivize sales reps

Incentivizing sales reps is one of the best ways to increase sales and overall morale. This is why many businesses use a commission structure in which agents earn a certain percentage of the sale as income. Of course, a commissions-based approach isn't right for every business, but there are other ways to motivate your team.

For instance, you can give them prizes for reaching their goals, such as travel vouchers, paid time off, and team trips.

14. Act on feedback

Sales managers must respond to and act on feedback accordingly. Everyone within a team has an opinion that matters because it can impact the entire team's performance.

Acting on feedback from the team shows them you care about issues they may be facing. For instance, your team might want newer technology to help them manage leads.

Letting them state their case and listening to their feedback makes them feel like they're an essential part of the team.

15. Measure the performance of your team with key sales metrics

You should always measure the performance of your team with sales metrics. Sales performance metrics like time spent selling, number of follow-ups from high-quality leads, and number of closed deals can help you determine the effectiveness of your sales strategy and team.

These metrics can also pinpoint areas of improvement. For instance, an employee might spend an average of 45 minutes selling on the phone. By reducing this time, you can increase how many leads your salespeople talk to within a day, potentially increasing sales.

16. Foster open communication

A culture of open communication can improve employee morale and engagement because they'll know their feelings, thoughts, and opinions are heard.

Having an open-door policy that allows them to express concerns will make them view themselves as important team members with valuable opinions.

Manage a successful sales team for better performance

Managing a sales team isn't about control; it's about supporting the individuals who sell your products and services. Learning how to run a sales team requires getting to know your team and learning about their concerns or needs while providing them with the tools and technology to improve efficiency and productivity.

Using the right sales management system can help your sales team succeed. Mailchimp's CRM enables B2B businesses to sell more by leveraging customer and sales data to enhance the sales process and lead prospects through the pipeline. Try Mailchimp today.

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