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In recent years, I have noticed a growing lack of ability of small business owners to manage their sales people properly. Whether this is because they have never been trained in sales themselves or have not worked in a sales team and never seen a good sales manager in action, they burn a lot of money turning over unproductive sales people.

If you are going to hire sales people, you need to learn how to manage them properly.

From years of working with sales managers, teams and representatives, I have seen that the best results achieved, came from business owners and sales managers who apply these 8 items;

  1. Learn how to recruit good sales people, Recruiting and managing staff is the most important task of a business owner. Learning how to recruit, manage and work with people will be the best thing you can do for your business.
  2. Set clear Targets, it is important for both you and your sales representatives that there is a clear understanding on the targeted revenue the sales person is expected to achieve on a monthly and yearly basis. Sales roles have the sole purpose of generating the businesses revenue, for the business to be successful you need to be clear on how much revenue needs to be generated.
  3. Set clear Territories, ensure your sales people have clarity on the product or geographic territory that they are expected to work in.
  4. 4. Hold weekly Sales Meetings, You need to meet with your sales team on a weekly basis. The purpose of this meeting is to monitor results, activities and the next weeks plan. The meeting is also used to for motivation, training and working with issues. Depending on the size of your team, this meeting should go for no longer than 1 hour. In 35 years of working with and around sales teams, the best time frame I have seen for a weekly meeting is 8.00am on Monday mornings.
  5. Don’t give sales people non sales duties, your sales team are there to sell your company’s products or services, and that is it. Do not give them other duties. Giving sales reps other duties, i.e. delivering product to customers, gives them the opportunity to have excuses for not achieving their targets. It makes it a lot more difficult to counsel a sales rep over poor results when you give them the opportunity to say “but I have to spend so much time delivering to customers”. The reason I use deliveries as an example is because businesses have sales reps deliver goods, believing it is a good reason to visit and talk to their customer. They should be visiting them on a regular pattern already.
  6. Regular Training, the best sales reps are always improving their skills and knowledge in their product and sales skills. As the business owner, you need to encourage them to always be developing their sales skills. You also need to let them know that it is just as much their responsibility for their training as it is the companies.
  7. Don’t pay a high retainer, good sales people can sell and they have the confidence in their sales ability. The higher the retainer a person is looking for, the lower their sales skills and achievements are likely to be. Pay a low retainer, and higher commission, encourage them to make a higher income by selling more. They are sales people aren’t they?
  8. Don’t micro manage your sales people, looking over their shoulder every minute of the day will destroy your sales reps. Provide them with clear targets, good training, support and guidance and let them go. If they need you to hold their hand all of the time, they need to be moved on.

Managing your sales people is not hard if you follow these steps; take the time to learn how to recruit and manage a good sales team and your business will boom.

Have a great week,
Peter