Stephen Hensley’s 15-Point Manifesto for Sales Performance – Point #4

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Stephen Hensley’s 15-Point Manifesto for Sales Performance – Point #4

No team should be intact for over six months before you change it.

Three reasons your sales team should be shaken up within every six months if you want to be successful!   

The sales profession is constantly influx because of fluid environments and constant turnover. Sales reps have the daunting tasks of seeking leads, meeting with prospects, building value, and closing deals. There are many variables in this process where the sales rep can lose the sale. Many companies have consistent turnover amongst their sales teams because of poor leadership and hiring. I’m talking about the team’s core sales reps, which are consistent in performance.     

Gold Standard

There’s a false misconception amongst leaders about what outstanding performance looks like. I recently worked with a company where they lowered the budget for low-performers and stacked the additional budget on high-performers. Their goal was to allocate the budget “appropriately” amongst the team. I watched leaders celebrate the low-performer for hitting their budget, negating the fact they lowered it. The high-performers felt alienated because they continue to pick up the slack. Is this happening in your department or company? This gives a false positive to senior leadership that the team is performing well. The minimum you should do is bring everyone up to a common level. The gold standard of performance constantly moves up, down, left, and right. You will be best served if your team sets the tone for performance in your company and industry.

When teams stay together for lengthy periods of time, they create complacency. You must infuse new ideologies, perspectives, techniques, and so forth to keep the abundance mentality alive. You must do this even when things feel calm to ensure you are leaping to new success. There are several steps you will need to take. Find your current gold standard and identify those reps who live it. Next, create the new higher-level standard by infusing new behaviors & processes. Communicate the new standards and prepare new job descriptions that fit the new criteria. Next, provided rewards and accountability to those executing the new standard. Hire accordingly and keep increasing your gold return!

Fresh Juice

There are typically 4 types of sales teams I find when I’m in the field. The docile team where everyone is quiet, looking at their cell phones, or laying back in their chair, and so on. The aggressive team where everyone is out for themselves. You can typically hear fear-based selling reps don’t help each other, and so on. The ordinary team where you have a mix of cell phone use, people helping each other, periods of chatter and silence, and so on. When you have a team that fits into any of these 3 types of teams, you need to infuse new talent. The best team is the one with the juice. I’ll tell you about this team momentarily.

I speak to many leaders who get frustrated with the inaction of their sales reps. This inaction is typically caused by a lack of “juice” within the team. The juice can be described as energy, passion, tenacity, positivity, and so forth. The more juice your team has, the more they can feed off each other. When’s the last time you checked to see how much juice your team has? Here’s how you do it.  I base the Juice on the 3S’s (See, Sound, & Sense) method, which I’ll touch on each section. You’ll want to tailor this to your business.

  • See: Put yourself in a position to observe on the sales floor. What do you see?  You should see a high-level of engagement between reps with peers and customers. You should see the desired behaviors you expect from each rep.
  • Sound: What do you hear on the floor? You should hear laughter, development conversations, customer education, some personal conversation, and so on.
  • Sense: This one can be difficult because this is the feel you get internally. Close your eyes and listen for several minutes. What’s the overall feel of the conversation you’re hearing? 

When you use this exercise, your team must execute at a very high-level in each section. When they do, you have the juice and your bound for success!

Career Highway

I heard many times during my childhood, young adulthood, and professional career that life’s a journey. Yet, many leaders forget about their rep’s career highway. Their journey for their life and career. As a leader, you must take time to develop your sale reps so they get to their next destination. When there seizes to be any movement down the career highway, many reps will leave. Unfortunately, this is unplanned attrition and you will be on defense versus offense.

I told a client they needed planned attrition, which is best for everyone involved. Initially, they were stunned. A member of leadership asked why they would want to break up a performing sales team. I mentioned several of the following points. When you have planned attrition, you can use it as a sales tool for new candidates. You can share with them how the department leaders are invested in their success down the career highway. This will, attract more top talent to your organization. This has a positive impact on current reps too. This provides optimism about the future. This can remove the reps feeling of having one foot out of the door and looking for other opportunities.

Make sure you put your reps on the highway to success!

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