There are many aspects to sales development. And all great sales managers know that when it comes to sales development, opportunities for growth are endless.
When we talk to sales managers about sales development, we tend to get some similar questions:
- Where is the best place to start? What areas of sales development should be prioritized?
- How do I support my salespeople in their sales development efforts?
- What’s the best way to motivate my salespeople so their sales development efforts don’t plateau?
So, if you’re a sales manager that’s looking for ways to support sales development and keep your team in growth mode, read on.
3 Sales Development Tips for Sales Managers
1. Where to Start
If you’re wondering where to start with sales development, we recommend starting in the weakest area first.
Where is there a kink in the hose? That is, what is the biggest source of suffering for your sales team? Are they having trouble finding the right leads? Or are they failing to convert leads to customers? And what about your prospects and customers—are they reporting inconsistencies or issues with your salespeople?
Diagnosing opportunities for growth is simple. Here are a few areas to consider:
- Prospecting – Is your team prospecting at all? If they do, is it haphazard? Are they developing and monitoring prospecting plans? Is said prospecting plan working?
- Selling – Is your team struggling at the selling level? Has the team identified what works in selling for your audience? Are they sharing best practices with the rest of the team? And are they documenting best practices in your Sales PlayBook?
- Support – Is the team supported to succeed by management and other parts of your organization such as marketing and operations? Is your sales team aligned with marketing on campaigns and new initiatives? Are there opportunities for continued training?
- System – Does your sales team use a system or database for contact and opportunity management (such as a CRM)? If so, are they using it effectively? Are you holding regular reviews for data accuracy and are you updating procedures and policies regularly?
- Team – How well do your salespeople work as a team? Do you have a group of mavericks? Are they sharing best practices and success stories with one another?
2. How to Support Salespeople in Their Development Efforts
Once you’ve identified the area in which your team suffers most, you can begin to develop sales development plans to move your team into a new direction.
If your team is suffering with prospecting, for example, you’ll likely want to focus some attention on prospecting action plans. This will help focus your salespeople’s prospecting activity and create a log of actions and impacts.
If your team is suffering with selling related activities, you’ll likely want to focus your attention on your Sales PlayBook. Consider reviewing your team’s shared best practices in the following areas:
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3. Motivate Your Salespeople so Their Efforts Don’t Plateau
It’s easy for successful salespeople to plateau. And this can go in either direction. Many salespeople find themselves discouraged after a few months without success.
Alternatively, successful salespeople can also find themselves leveling off, only to feel frustrated and demotivated.
As a sales manager, working to curb head trash is the first step to solving issues related to negativity or a lack of motivation. As humans, we tend to get in our own way. That little voice inside our heads says things like:
- “I’m not good enough.”
- “I never win.”
- “This product is too hard to sell.”
- “I’m not smart enough.”
- “Prospects never call me back.”
Now, think about some of the thoughts that have plagued you over the years. How have those thoughts impacted your day-to-day? And how about relationships? The point is: we all have head trash. But that does not mean that we ARE our head trash.
Help your salespeople on their journey to growth by having conversations often about head trash, then work together to crush it.
There is nothing more frustrating than experiencing sales success, only to watch it dry up after a month or two.
In my experience as a salesperson, there was a common denominator each and every time I experienced this issue: poor planning.
I’ll never forget the movie theater commercial that played on repeat for years. It was for a local financial planning firm and the video ended with a man saying very seriously, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
All these years later I understand exactly what that phrase means. In sales, we should always be planning for what’s next. We should always have one ear to the ground. I’ve watched the insurance industry change time and time again year after year. And each and every time they change, related industries such as restoration, home inspection, and auto body have to pivot too.
How is your company thinking forward? What plans do you have in place to support your salespeople as markets shift?
A great place to start is by creating monthly themes for your marketing and sales teams to follow. Not only will it create synergy between departments, but it will also keep both teams on track and will keep things fresh for prospects and employees alike.
Solving Sales Problems: Head Trash
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Do you have a fool-proof plan that keeps your sales team in growth mode? We’d love to hear more about it! Please comment below.