Here are three of the top things you can do to destroy your sales force.
Building a great sales force takes time, effort, and perseverance. Destroying a great sales force is much easier, and happens all too frequently. Small things that you do every day or week could be sucking the joy and motivation out of your sales force, driving your sales people to other businesses, and making the ones who remain apathetic. You’re probably doing some of these things without even realizing it. The worst part is you probably don’t have a clear understanding of why you’re doing these things-it’s just the way things have always been done. Here are three of the top things you can do to destroy your sales force.
A lot of managers subscribe to the belief that they need to have frequent, regularly scheduled meetings for all members of their sales force. Why? What is going on at these meetings that justifies taking your sales people away from paying clients? Typically, these meetings are just a carbon copy of all the previous meetings, with a review of the previous week thrown in for good measure-as if your sales team somehow forgot everything that happened the last week. People attending these meetings are bored, distracted and, frankly, have better things to do with their time.
Before having a meeting, have a point to the meeting. If the meeting is nothing more than a rehash or an update, send the information out in an email. Only have meetings when there’s a reason to have a meeting. Is there a big new client? Have a meeting. Are you changing sales strategies or goals? Have a meeting. Try to avoid meetings for the sake of meetings. Only have them when there’s important new information to share with your sales force.
Nothing kills motivation like unachievable goals. Once a sales person realizes that, no matter how hard they work, they’ll never make their sales goals, they’ll simply check out. Some managers mistakenly believe that impossible goals are a way to motivate people to work harder-however, the opposite is usually true. Sales people enjoy the feeling of being successful. If there’s no way for them to succeed, what’s the point in trying?
Keep your sales goals realistic and achievable. Give your sales force the tools and support they need to achieve those goals. Be mindful of events that could require you to modify those goals. You want your sales force to have something to work for that they can actually accomplish with the right amount of effort. Once the goals are obviously out of reach, your sales people will stop reaching for them.
In the absence of information, rumors and gossip will rule the day. If your sales force doesn’t know what’s going on, they’ll try to fill in the gaps with whatever they’ve heard around the water cooler. This can create a general atmosphere of anxiety and unease. This can lead to distractions that keep your sales force from performing their best. In the end, they’ll spend more time and energy worrying than working.
You don’t have to tell your sales people everything about the internal workings of the company. You do need to give them information that’s relevant to their jobs, and their position at the company. People notice when things are changing around them, and they feel better if they know something about those changes. If they’re left completely in the dark, it’s only natural to assume the worst. A few small changes at your business could have your top sales people submitting resumes to your competitors-if they feel that the changes are a threat to them. Keeping your sales people in the loop will make them more at ease, and keep them focused on doing their jobs.
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.