5 bad sales management practices to stop right now

Your salespeople seem talented, but aren’t able to deliver good results. Why?  

5 bad sales management practices to stop right nowOld school sales managers would be quick to point the blame at the reps, themselves. But sales team performance is a reflection of sales management, as a sales leader’s job is to coach and guide reps around the fundamental activities that lead to sales.

A top-performing team requires top-performing sales management. Here are five bad sales management practices to stop right now if you want a top-performing team.

Avoid these sales management mistakes

1. Inadequate incentive structure

Incentives are very powerful, yet we often misunderstand them. Many sales management teams have incentive programs that are too far-fetched (spend ridiculous amounts of money) or not powerful enough (barely exist).

Even if you think traditional compensation is all you need to motivate reps, think again. Salespeople will perform their normal, day-to-day work to earn their commission. But incentives help rally your team for special initiatives or competitions.

That doesn’t mean you should burn a hole in your budget to lure people with expensive incentives. There are hundreds of inexpensive sales incentive ideas that any sales management team can use to motivate reps.

2. Misguided sales metrics

Metrics are the way for us to know where we have been and where we want to go as a company. However, many sales management teams get into trouble because they lack effective metrics – or in some cases, any metrics at all.

Metrics should allow a sales management team to monitor and course-correct sales performance in real time. You need to keep an eye on the data every day to be able to draw key insights and formulate better strategies.

In today’s high-velocity markets, it is absolutely necessary that we have a set of key selling metrics to guide our strategy and our decision-making process.

3. Inconsistent sales strategy

The zeal to do more and get more can be a great thing, but only when it is focused and well thought-out. If you keep bouncing from one idea to another – or one strategy to another – you will not really see any reliable results.

To understand if a strategy is working, you must give it a decent amount of time to take effect. Some ideas might not work initially, but turn out to be a big success once you analyze data and optimize the process.

Before you decide on a strategy or a new idea, take your time. Weigh the pros and cons, estimate possible outcomes and make a well-calculated decision. Whether it’s a new CRM software or a sales funnel strategy, give it decent time and attention before tapping out.

4. Poor accountability

Consistently holding people accountable for their actions is the only way to deliver consistent performance. However, many companies don’t bother to execute this step.

You should absolutely have a positive, encouraging attitude toward reps. But at the same time, ignoring non-performance or mistakes will send a message that management doesn’t care about company results.

Every month, take the time to set targets and hold people accountable to them. If someone falls short of their target, make sure the reason is genuine and pragmatic.

Turning a blind eye because you don’t want to deal with confrontation or any other reason will only propel the problem and worsen the situation.

5. Misalignment between sales and marketing

The dissonance between marketing and sales teams is not a new problem. We all know (or have experienced) sales teams who blame marketing for not contributing to lead generation, while marketing blames sales for not following up with the leads they have been sent.

These complaints should be evaluated and addressed by management. But more often than not, these are signals of a misaligned go-to-market strategy.

Good teamwork between marketing and sales isn’t optional. It’s necessary. Fortunately, the right collaboration tool or strategy can make sure that both the teams work as a single unit and remain up-to-date with each other’s issues and work.

The effect of good sales management practices is often overlooked, as is the trouble caused by bad sales management practices. Just because you can’t see the negative effects on a graph curve, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Be honest with yourself and your team. If you’re making some of these sales management mistakes, you might want to try a different approach.

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