Staying Engaged with Your Sales Team
This week, I had the chance to pay a visit to my brother’s landscape and floral design business. To put it lightly, the business is flourishing, with three divisions and more than 40 employees. Even in such a time of success, he made it a point to note that it’s still critical to stay on top of things when it comes to managing employees.
It’s not uncommon for business owners to expect to be able to step back after hiring a great manager, especially in situations where there is more than one division at hand. As my brother stated during my visit, however, a business owner who expects things to grow must stay actively engaged.
Leadership and Achieving Sales Goals
There has to be leadership at the helm. Business owners are responsible not only for having a vision, but communicating it in a clear manner and managing the way in which it is carried out.
I can’t overemphasize the importance of establishing a clear vision. Even the most strategic-thinking vice president of sales or operations in the world can easily flounder if a clear vision is not set in stone from the very beginning.
VARs often feel as if they can hire a sales manager and call it a day, allowing that side of the business to run itself uninterrupted. After all, many business owners are not only uninterested in being sellers themselves, but also feel as if they wouldn’t be fit for the job regardless of how hard they tried.
The fact is, sales drive business. Operations are, of course, of the utmost importance, but the chances that you’ll achieve your full cloud capacity or maximum project capacity, for example, without a dynamite sales team on your side are slim to none. Without the sales team your operations team may be stuck on the bench, which isn’t going to do your business any favors.
Sales need to know who they should be targeting, what offerings to focus on and what revenue and profitability objectives they must achieve.
Establish a Clear Vision
Recently a VAR customer of ours lost its sales manager. They’re growing quite rapidly at over 20 percent annually and as the president evaluated both internal and external candidates, he realized that they’ve moved beyond a sales manager who directs quota-achieving activities. Rather, his company needs an actual vice president of sales with a strategic thought process to both manage the sales team and establish an effective plan for continued growth.
An effective sales team is one that’s driven by a cohesive vision set by you, the business owner, and not left to their own devices. You need to provide a clear goal in order to find success.
Go the Extra Mile
Just because you’ve provided a goal, however, doesn’t mean you can simply walk away. A business owner that stays involved with seeing his vision through often results in success, with the alternative usually ending in disappointment.
With sales, numbers are everything. You’ve got to pay attention to monthly targets, market penetration and weighted percentage of total offerings being sold to ensure you stay on target. If the numbers aren’t meeting your expectations, it isn’t your job to figure out how to make the correction, only direct that one is necessary.
It’s the responsibility of your sales manager to ensure that corrections are made, especially in situations where sales numbers have fallen.
The importance of not abdicating any role in sales cannot be overemphasized. As long as you take the time to hire the best candidates possible, share your vision and remain engaged in seeing it through, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your revenue and growth goals.