More money, more problems…well, the same goes for employees, too. Larger teams typically signify growth and stability, but they also require much more oversight and careful attention to both individual personalities and team dynamics.
Whether you have a designated sales team or it’s a group effort by everyone in the company, your employees are perhaps your most valuable assets. They have the power to help you elevate your business to reach its goals, yet they also have the power to squander resources and damage your reputation.
It is essential to have the right people on your team. It is just as important that you’re taking strides to nurture their motivation and ensure that they’re measuring up to expectations.
Let’s walk through the steps of managing sales expectations for a large team.
Set clear goals & objectives
You can’t have a roadmap without a destination. You must have clear goals for individuals and for the team at-large. Otherwise, employees will not know what they’re reaching for and will likely fall short of your expectations. Goals are prime fuel for motivation, but you must apply them and follow up on them with respect to your team members.
Team goals are excellent for promoting camaraderie, but there are also certain individuals that do well with personal goals. If you have a great salesperson, sit down with them and learn the secret to their success. Then, discreetly share that secret with those that you feel could learn from it. Use your team as a source of inspiration; your business will be better for it.
Check in often
You cannot expect to set quarterly goals for your team and then lose your mind the week before the goal is supposed to be met. As a leader, you must be accountable to your team throughout the whole quarter. Our job is not to punish people the week something is due, it is to help people find new strategies to get their job done successfully. We don’t make sales goals for people to fail, so we need to be instrumental in their path to success. That means being present and checking in with them regularly to track their progress.
Look beyond numbers
Sales goals can feel negative to employees and there’s a good chance that they’ll lie to you if they’re not on target. Instead of hammering them about numbers every chance you get, try asking them some different questions to gain accurate answers. Some questions I keep up my sleeve include:
• “Who’s your biggest prospect currently? When do you expect to close the sale?”
• “What is an accomplishment that you’re proud of this week?”
• “What lessons have you learned this week from your mistakes?”
• “Can you tell me why we lost this prospective client?”
• “Who is the client you’ve emails the most this week?”
By getting beyond the numbers, you can gain a better understanding of an employee’s performance and can come up with ways to help them improve in the following weeks. This must be done throughout the quarter, not just when a goal is about to be missed.
A healthy level of competition is a powerful motivator, as are incentives that are tied into sales goals. However, not everyone is driven by the same things. Some employees may thrive on recognition, whereas others may be more committed if they know there’s a financial bonus on the other side.
I am a strong proponent for personality assessments in the workplace, as you can get priceless information about how to motivate individuals. You have to understand what motivates each of them, so you can adjust your style as a manager in order to adapt to multiple people. It’s similar to teaching in a classroom: if you only teach in one way, a portion of your students will likely fail.
A personal tip: While financial compensation is a motivator for anyone, it doesn’t always need to be in the form of a cash bonus. Sometimes, I’ll take an employee out to fill up his or her gas tank at the end of a long week…it’s really just doing the unexpected for your employees.
Discipline with respect
When sales expectations aren’t met, I believe in talking to people in a non-confrontational way. If an all-star is not performing as usual, there is most likely an underlying factor that is shifting the tide. People don’t just get bad at their jobs. They might be facing any number of personal situations that can impact their quality of work (step lightly if you approach personal topics) or it could be work-related: too much work, not enough praise, too much repetition in the work itself. Even our brightest stars can hit a point that when, facing too much work, quality and capacity can slip. We all have our limits.
Have a heart-to-heart to see if you can get to the bottom of it, be respectful, and look for ways to have other employees support them if they need it. As always, assure them that you are there to support them and do what’s in their best professional interest.