4 Sales Strategies to Help Managers Help their Sellers
Being a sales manager requires managing a lot of moving parts. When you manage, your role is to strategize, support, and sell the vision to your team. Every now and then, you need to take a step back and reassess where your sellers are focusing their time and effort.
Here are 4 best practice sales strategies for managers looking for ideas and strategies to implement with your team.
BEST PRACTICE: One of the most effective ways to ensure that you are using your questioning skills to uncover complete stories is to keep in mind the total context of a story – beginning, middle, and end. When asking questions, don’t just focus on the here and now. Look into the past, into the beginning, and trace how the story developed from the initial point of contact through today and, potentially, where it might go tomorrow. This will give you a firmer grasp on the logic and history of a customer’s decision. As a manager, it is important to encourage your sellers to question the entire context of a story.
TRY THIS: Think of several accounts that you think have not been explored as effectively as possible by your sellers. Note what questions you wish they had asked.
BEST PRACTICE: Sellers’ bad habits are the bane of the manager’s life. The reason those habits form is that sellers always find themselves in the same situations. So, they develop ways to deal with these situations and, over time, start applying these techniques to all situations, regardless of the specifics of each one. This means they stop thinking creatively and stop challenging themselves to do “something different” and become satisfied with the routine reaction so they can move on to the next sale. As a manager, your task is to look at the patterns of each seller and find ways to challenge them to think and act differently.
TRY THIS: Review your sellers and identify those who are in a pattern of passively waiting for a decision and who do nothing to accelerate the close. For each, note the questions you would have them ask to more actively get decisions.
You Make the Call
BEST PRACTICE: Active involvement in accounts is a critical activity for the manager for several reasons:
- It enables you (and the company) to “own” the account.
- It establishes a pipeline for the customer to get back to you to discuss issues and concerns that the customer does not want to discuss with the seller.
- It helps you monitor and assess likelihood of closure.
TRY THIS: Think of critical accounts where you think you should be more involved in the sales/relationship-building efforts. For each, note ways that you think would work when you make a relationship/thank you call post sale. Then, think of other accounts where you think the seller would benefit by your involvement. For these, note what topic you would introduce on a call you place with the seller’s agreement.
BEST PRACTICE: An effective manager will periodically review all unclosed accounts in the sellers’ pipeline and determine which ones have been unclosed for the longest time. The effective manager will periodically update the metrics on what constitutes the normal length of time to gain closure on specific types of sales and will use these metrics to measure which sales are trending towards too much time. Using these metrics and activities, the manager can make critical decisions on either coaching the seller to improve closing performance or to move away from particular sales and move on to something more promising.
TRY THIS: Review the accounts in your pipeline against historical accounts that have closed. Determine the normal length of time it takes to close a sale. Then, apply this metric against all existing unclosed sales and see which accounts are trending too long.
About Steve Bookbinder
Steve Bookbinder is the CEO and sales expert at DMTraining. He has delivered more than 5,000 workshops and speeches to clients all over the world and has trained, coached, and managed more than 50,000 salespeople and managers. Steve continuously refreshes his training content to reflect his latest first-hand observations of salespeople across industries and regions. Through him, participants in his workshops and coaching sessions learn the best practices of today’s most successful sellers and managers across industries. Steve understands that sales is a competitive game. To outperform competitors and our own personal best results, we need to out-prospect, out-qualify, out-present and out-negotiate everyone else, not merely know how to sell. Through his specialty programs in Pipeline Management, Personal Marketing, Great First Meetings, 2nd-level Questioning, Sales Negotiating, and Sales Coaching, Steve trains sales teams to master the skills they need to overcome the challenges they face in today’s world… and keep improving results year over year.