3 years ago
January 5, 2015

How to Relinquish Control of Your Sales Team

If you want your sales team to flourish, relinquishing control of daily activities is a good place to start.

Rhys Metler

Sales managers try to do everything they can to ensure the success of their sales team, but this can backfire when a sales manager tries to take on too much. A sales manager who is constantly checking up on every activity of his or her sales people instead of overseeing the process can become stretched, a focus on low-level activities can distract time and attention from high-level sales strategy planning and execution, and micromanaged sales people can become dissatisfied, leading to morale issues that can erode sales. If you want your sales team to flourish, relinquishing control of daily activities is a good place to start; this short guide will help you and your sales team reach the point where relinquishing control is feasible.

Let Your Sales Team Make the Most of Their Training

In any sales department, training is the baseline for success. If you are having trouble relinquishing control, working far too many hours, and still not meeting your goals, your sales team may be struggling in one or more areas that training could address. Think about the real reasons behind your drive to control the daily activities of your sales team to identify where additional training or coaching could make the difference that would allow you to lessen your control. Then equip your sales team with the tools and training they need to provide a great sales pitch on the phone and in person to move new business forward under their own direction.

Learn How to Delegate

Many sales managers avoid delegating out of concern that the tasks delegated will not be completed or to avoid the appearance of delegating responsibility. However, delegation is not transferring responsibility; it is still up to the sales manager to make sure that anything delegated is done correctly and on time. Here are a few tips to make releasing control through delegation easier.

  • Know that delegating to your top sales reps is an opportunity for them to learn more and do better
  • Make expectations for delegated work clear: What are the desired outcomes, what tasks absolutely must be included, and when must the work be completed
  • Check in with the person undertaking the work occasionally, but do not micromanage; if you have confidence in the person’s abilities and understanding of what is required, he or she should be able to complete the delegated tasks

Let Go of the Reins Gradually

Loosening control too suddenly can have negative impacts on you and on your sales team. Avoid culture shock and additional stress by relinquishing control over a period of time, rather than all at once, while instituting new methods that can help you keep the control you need without stifling the productivity of your sales team.

  • Shift the frequency of your check-ins for mundane activities from daily, to every other day, even to weekly for sales people in whom you have confidence
  • Schedule periodic meetings with agendas focused on important issues, rather than what should be automatic. Sales team members who are having trouble may need individual coaching; sales team meetings for “the basics” are unnecessary for your better performers
  • Learn to recognize when you are micromanaging against when you are managing to make adjustments with continual benefits

Finally, recognize that you are still the sales manager and responsible for your team’s activities, but put the responsibility for your sales team’s success on their shoulders: Personal accountability granted through your trust in the ability of your sales team to deliver is a great motivator.

A good sales manager is hard to find, but a great sales manager can be irreplaceable. By relinquishing control of your sales team’s daily activities you can free time for yourself to focus on the truly important activities that make you a great sales manager and continue contributing to your sales team’s success.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 11+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and two daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day, tropical vacations and cottaging.