Success in the modern digital marketing landscape requires for company leadership to be characterized by the qualities of a winner and a star – and a humble gardener. Ambitious sales goals need to be set and conquered; and at the same time, both customers and sales teams need to be nurtured.
At the 2015 Forrester Sales Enablement Forum, a startling claim was made: “Of the 4.5 million B2B salespeople in existence today, we believe one million jobs will be net displaced by 2020.” One reason is that the Web has had a huge impact on the sales rep’s job description.
Developing strong sales leaders in your company can be a challenge in an ever-evolving digital environment. Let’s look at proven ways to turn average sales reps into successful leaders in your organization.
Consider Hiring Internally
The proper ‘gardener’ mindset has an impact on developing a stellar sales team – and potentially the best members of that team are already members of your staff. They’re ‘home-grown.’
The Bidwell study, quoted in Forbes found that “In addition to scoring worse on performance reviews, external hires were 61% more likely to be fired from their new jobs than were those who had been promoted from within the firm.”
Hiring externally usually comes at a higher cost, and then you still have to factor in the learning curve needed for a sales rep to get up to speed.
Current employees already understand your company culture and basic operating procedures. It might make sense to look internally for the future stars of your team.
Provide the Right Tools
Hiring the right candidates is only half the job. Even the most experienced sales leader needs the right tools. A state-of-the-art toolbox gives your teams the ability to maximize their output. This includes efficient ways to:
- Find prospects
- Research product and market information
- Manage contacts and appointments
- Create automated follow-up tasks
- Utilize better time management
Provide the Proper Mentoring
Sales training mostly happens in the field, not by studying theory at college. If you keep your sales leader busy crunching numbers and providing pivot tables and graphs, your sales garden might be neglected.
On the job mentoring is vital, and it hinges on creating a culture of constant learning within the team. And how do we achieve this?
- Instead of scheduling marathon training days, create brief 20 minute training sessions more regularly.
- Always align your training to achieve strategic company objectives.
- Use the “buddy system” – pair your new recruits with seasoned reps at the early stages. Doing so provides real-life know-how, and it’s less intimidating than working along C-level execs instead of working alongside a manager.
- Allowing staff to attend market conferences and events can fuel the fires of enthusiasm in your sales team.
Perhaps it’s time to provide world-class tools for your sales team, because the real magic happens when your sales reps are empowered.