Tips for How to Plan for Your Sales Team’s DevelopmentOctober 31, 2019 | Posted by Jeff Seeley in Leadership Development, Sales Planning, Seasonal
Being Unprepared is Scary!
Happy Halloween! This is the time of the year when “scary” and “spooky” start to become the theme. Whether it’s a movie you watched, an advertisement you saw, or the costume your child is going to wear trick-or-treating, we’ve all probably encountered something over the past month that was intended to be scary. Everyone has a different opinion on what is considered scary, but as leaders in the sales field, it’s likely we can all agree on one thing…being unprepared is truly scary!
As sales leaders, we know it’s imperative for our sales reps to plan thoroughly. Whether this means having a plan for every account, every contact within the account, or every call made to a contact at the account, we know that planning makes our reps more prepared. It can be terrifying to think of our sales reps jumping on a call completely unprepared! Because of this, most of us probably spend quite a bit of time helping our sales reps plan for their meetings and/or reviewing their call plans. Regardless of how we approach planning on our sales teams, we can probably agree that our sales reps are much more confident, productive and efficient when they go into a sales call with a plan rather than without one!
With all this time spent helping our sales reps prepare for their calls, it’s easy for us to forget that we also need to be making a different kind of plan – a plan for how we are going to help each one of our sales reps reach their full potential. As sales leaders, it is our job to help each of our sales reps recognize and use their individual talents in a way that helps them to achieve, and even exceed, their sales goals. Then, and only then, can we expect to have a sales team that is working in complete synergy to boost the sales of our entire organization.
Just as you would never encourage your reps to go into their sales calls without a plan, you should never go into a meeting with one of your team members unprepared. Every discussion/meeting you have with one of your reps is an opportunity for you to help them reach their full potential, and you must plan ahead for what action steps you will take to get them there.
Why It’s Important for Sales Leaders to Plan for Their Sales Team’s Development
Let’s walk through a scenario to demonstrate the importance of planning for the development of our sales team members.
Say you notice one of your historically high performer’s job performance has been slipping. You have your weekly meeting with him coming up, so you’ll talk about it then. You’ve been busy all week helping your reps prepare for their sales calls and you haven’t had time to properly plan for your meeting with him. When it’s time for the meeting, you start by saying, “I’ve noticed your performance is slipping, and it’s worrying me. If it doesn’t pick up again soon, we’re going to run into some trouble…”
This is not the most productive way to help your rep increase his performance. Proper planning for the meeting would have allowed you to think a few things over before you sat down with him. First, you would’ve had the time to acknowledge the fact that you know he is a non-competitive person. Perhaps the new incentive process you implemented a few weeks ago on your sales team isn’t working for him? Because he is not competitive by nature, the contests you’ve implemented to try and motivate your team could be causing him to withdraw instead of ramp up his performance. Although you can’t be sure this is what’s happening until you’ve had a discussion with him, this at least gives you a starting point for a plan to help him increase his performance and get back on track. From here, you could have planned to explore with him the reasons he might think his performance is slipping. The action step for your meeting could’ve then been to work one-on-one with him to come up with the right trigger to help him boost his performance. It’s scary to think that none of this would have been possible if you hadn’t taken the time to properly plan before your meeting with him!
It is entirely possible to be busy without being productive. As leaders, we might be busy helping our sales reps plan for their calls and meeting with them one-on-one, but if we aren’t prepared for every interaction we have with our team members, then it’s likely we’re just spinning our wheels without actually getting anywhere –and that can be a scary thought! Planning is the vehicle that makes us prepared to lead our sales teams to success, and as sales leaders, we should all practice planning on our teams to reduce our chances of running into scary situations!
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