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How to improve the performance of your sales team

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Not getting an inspired performance from your sales team lately? There are a number of ways that you can improve results, from rethinking the way you do your targets for the month to putting more effort into motivating your people properly.

Mark Stiffler built his business on improving the performance of sales teams in companies worldwide; while he has retired from his company, we’re sure that he would agree with many of the points that we will make in the article below.

1) Make an effort to hire the best talent

If you want a company that overachieves in its sales performance, it makes sense to hire the best talent right from the get-go.

While it may cost more to hire the most qualified sales people, the added expense will be worth it. This investment will be recovered quickly in the extra sales made in the opening months of their tenure, and loads of valuable time that would be spent doing remedial training with lesser qualified candidates will also be spared.

As a result of getting the best people in place from the start, everyone will be free to focus on their core mission within the company.

2) Motivate more than manage

Many sales departments tend to focus obsessively on hitting metrics and on the day to day performance of its employees.

While this may sound perfectly reasonable on the surface, better performance can be had by also looking at the qualitative factors that drive the work of your sales staff.

By finding ways to motivate and reward them for hitting set targets, your salespeople will begin to assign personal meaning to them.

This may end up boosting performance to previously unreached levels; when a performance bonus or added commissions represent a new car or an all-inclusive vacation, they will move heaven and earth to surpass your targets.

3) Sales expectations should be crystal clear

However, all the motivation in the world will not help if your targets are not well-defined and easy to visualize.
When you have a concrete number to hit each month, your staff will have a reference point to guide their activities every day.

As the month progresses, the level of urgency will adjust itself accordingly; if they are just instructed to outdo last month with no physical reminder of what that month’s sales were, some sales people may end up slacking off, thereby hurting the performance of the team.

4) Coach staff on performance in the moment

The old tradition of quarterly performance reviews is an arcane concept that should be abandoned entirely.

Despite what some may think, this isn’t an accommodation for those that cannot handle criticism, but it is a realization that briefing someone on their shortcomings in the moment is far more effective than waiting three months to ambush them with this information.

When a sub-optimal act is witnessed in the workplace, correcting the salesperson on the spot will allow them to understand why their action was not the best one to take. Since they had just made the error in question, the probability that they will learn from this particular mistake will be much higher.

5) Celebrate the victories

Work doesn’t have to be boring or even miserable. When you have a record day or hit an aggressive monthly goal, have plans in place to celebrate the milestone that has been reached.

Most sales people want to know what they are doing is making a difference. By buying the entire office pizza or by breaking out beers and wine on a Friday afternoon, you’ll be letting your salespeople know that their efforts are greatly appreciated.