Sales Management: How to Keep Salespeople Challenged - dummies

Sales Management: How to Keep Salespeople Challenged

By Butch Bellah

Just as salespeople need feedback, elite salespeople need to be challenged. One of the traits you find in almost all top performers is a tendency to get bored very easily.

Successful salespeople get their challenge either from you or somewhere else. Don’t make the mistake of losing top talent because they got bored.

Teachers cannot teach a classroom of students based on the ability of the weakest student in the room; neither can you as a sales manager manage your sales team based on the ability of the weakest salesperson. Your top performers thrive on challenges.

Although some people like the term “raise the bar” about as much as they do “think outside the box” (which is not at all), you must constantly be pushing your top performers to do more. What’s good enough today won’t be good enough tomorrow. The world is changing and you and your company have to not only change with it, you need to instigate the change.

Your industry should see your company as the one pushing the envelope, not being dragged along kicking and screaming.

By implementing this philosophy with your salespeople, you’ll instill in them the desire for continuous growth.

When you push your top performers, you end up pulling up the underperformers with them. However, by pushing the weakest salespeople, you don’t do anything for the overachievers. You end up pulling the slower ones when you push the fast ones.

Give your top salespeople the ability and responsibility to make some decisions on their own. Perhaps you give them a little more pricing flexibility than you do the rest of your group. This allows them to control some of their own gross profit and provides them with negotiating skills they’ll need to continue their growth in their current position and in their career.

If you give some salespeople extra leverage in certain areas, make sure you manage their performance. For example, if you provide them with the ability to negotiate prices, check that their gross profits increase — not decrease. When you provide your people with new challenges and tasks, make sure the results are what you want.

Another way to keep your top salespeople challenged is to give them some responsibilities when it comes to training new salespeople. If your top sellers know they’re helping set the tone for someone else, most of them are going to automatically step up their game. It’s a natural instinct.

Allowing them be a part of your training team keeps them on their toes because they know they’re not only being watched by you, but they’re setting an example, as well.

To continue to keep the great striving to achieve more, increase the number of calls you ask them to make, increase your expectations of them. But, do so in a positive manner that rewards their performance and doesn’t demotivate them.

There’s a difference between being happy and being satisfied. You can be happy with your performance or your team’s performance, but never be satisfied. Never let them be content with what they’ve done in the past or what they accomplished yesterday.

Don’t create an environment of “what have you done for me lately.” You’ll know where the line is — you can feel it. Push your people enough to get them to push themselves, but not enough to where they feel the need to push back.