Trying to manage salespeople can pose problems that wouldn't typically befall managers in other corporate departments. This is because, while successful salespeople tend to be powerful and authoritative in their attitudes, these very qualities can put them at odds with their bosses.
For this reason, managers in sales departments should be especially careful how they handle their recruits. Here are just a few techniques which they can draw upon to impressive effect.
Where possible, don't impose rules
Great salespeople tend to prize independence; they don't like to be excessively tied down. Therefore, by going as far as you can in lifting barriers to their autonomy, you can help these people realise their full potential in the sales field.
Entrepreneur cautions that, if you don't relinquish the regulations where possible, salespeople will put their creative powers towards seeking ways of overcoming those nuisance fetters.
Let salespeople work to their individual strengths
Salespeople can noticeably vary in the sales skills which they have most effectively honed. For that reason, it would be to your advantage if you let these people take on responsibilities - like writing proposals and making details - where they are especially likely to excel.
You might have some team members who struggle with preparing pitches but can sell well on the back of preparation which has been carried out by other people in the sales team.
Be straight-talking, not manipulative
As salespeople have the task of convincing people to buy items from them, they will probably be able to tell if someone attempts to manipulate them. However, many rudimentary management approaches aim to manipulate workers in ways that might not always be to their liking.
Therefore, you should forgo those approaches and instead simply be honest and upfront with your sales personnel. While this tactic could spark some arguments, it would still be preferable to alternative techniques which could anger people who don't take kindly to manipulation.
Avoid favouritism in your treatment of salespeople
It's understandable if the limited number of work hours at your disposal tempts you to coach primarily your sales team's best and worst workers. However, neglecting those in the middle could send out a negative message to them. Therefore, as The Balance advocates, arrange team-ups with every single sales team member, no matter how well or poorly they are performing.
Give credit where it's due
While your salespeople are likely to be driven mainly by the prospects of both money and recognition, your company won't have a bottomless pit of money with which you can reward them. Fortunately, giving recognition as and when warranted is a much easier task.
Hence, if you see that a particular salesperson is faring well, remember to praise them - not only privately, but also when other team members are present.Showing appreciation for any marked improvement in a worker's performance can help improve the overall team's morale.