Too much data can turn sales management into micromanagement. It’s a slippery slope. Ubiquitous sales technology allows sales leaders to track practically every part of their sales organization, so they try to.
You probably know people who do this. You might be one of them.
But micromanagement can have dangerous effects on your company: employee disengagement, misallocation of manager time and resources, high turnover, stunted growth or worse.
“I see a lot of managers who try to do a one-size-fits-all approach. As you scale to larger teams, you can’t really do it that way,” NeuraFlash CEO Brett Chisholm told us.
Brett has more than 20 years in sales and sales management. He currently leads NeuraFlash, a Salesforce consulting partner that marries digital channels, the power of artificial intelligence and Salesforce.com to create great experiences.
Brett believes in employing a malleable sales management strategy that emphasizes managing for each individual rep (instead of forcing one management strategy on everyone). Here shared insights on how to replicate his strategy on your own team.
4 steps for an agile sales management strategy
1. Hire the right people.
This can’t be overstated. Dedicate the time and resources to find a good employee up front. Hiring quickly to save time can result in bad hires that don’t perform well or fit in with your culture. Ultimately, those people leave your team – voluntarily or not. And you’re left to start the recruitment process all over again.
Brett’s advice is to invest time into identifying valuable hires: Research new candidates. Have multiple team members conduct interviews. Find out how they work and what motivates them. Check every reference. Look for a coachable, growth mindset.
Employee turnover is expensive. Save time and money by investing in quality employees.
“If you have the wrong person, you’re not going to be able to change them,” Brett said.
2. Set expectations
When you do hire reps, be transparent about your company initiatives and team expectations. Provide them with sales KPIs and a scorecard to track their metrics against goals.
In addition, get to know your team. Take the time to learn what management style, work environment and team setup helps them be most productive.
“Spend quality time with your team. If you don’t, no one is going to follow [your leadership],” Brett advised.
3. Provide tools & training
Even if you hire someone with twenty years of experience, they still need to be educated on your company’s specific sales process and go-to-market strategy. Develop a thorough onboarding process so that reps are introduced to not only your sales operations, but marketing, customer success and engineering, as well.
In addition, you need to equip salespeople with high-quality tools that help them sell. Reporting tools like CRM systems are great for for upper management, Brett explained, but they should be customized for both executives and reps. Interactive selling tools like sales activity management, for example, help reps sell more and increase CRM adoption.
“When reps see the value in tools, they will spend time using them. And managers will reap the benefits,” Brett said.
4. Invest in rep success
This is undoubtedly the most important step. Once a rep is onboarded, Brett recommends setting up regular one-on-one sessions that are tailored to each individual.
Spend each of those sessions learning about how you can empower your rep’s success.
Find out what’s going well for them. Ask what you can do to help. A lot of people want to know how they can help themselves.
You should also try to understand your team’s personal and professional goals. Figure out how you can invest in their future both with your company and in their own lives.
“If you don’t continually invest in people, you lost their respect,” Brett said, adding that he believes in keeping employees for a long time.
The big takeaway from Brett’s advice is to avoid micromanagement and one-size-fits-all approaches. These steps form a personalized approach to sales management, which can help you retain your best reps.