Published by : Eric Dionne
If I'm talking about a mammal living in the lands of Africa and Asia, that is fast, elegant and resembles an antelope, you may guess that I'm talking about a gazelle. The main strength of gazelles is that they travel in herds to better react to danger. Impressive fact, some of them reach a running speed of more than 100 km per hour. Are you wondering why I'm talking about gazelles in an article on sales team performance?
Just like a group of gazelles, a sales force is more efficient with the contribution of each of its best players. The company's goals are achieved more quickly when everyone also gives their 100 km per hour.
However, when obstacles arise, such as a lion that appears in the savannah, it is the weakest and slowest gazelle that is eliminated. Yet, its loss is beneficial to the herd, as it now moves much faster without this gazelle.
In an organizational context, the logic is the same. When goals become more complex, it is the least performing representatives who fail first and the best reps who reap the benefits.
Whether you are a gazelle or a sales manager, it is important to evaluate your team and coach it properly to motivate the best members and redeploy those who do not contribute to achieving objectives. To do so, I am sharing with you today some common errors made when managing your representatives that can affect the company's overall performance.
3 errors in sales force management
The best players do not receive enough coaching
Certainly the most essential and time-consuming responsibility of leaders is to coach their representatives. The purpose of coaching sessions is to help sales reps develop the right behaviours, master the execution of processes and learn the lessons necessary for their success.
Intuitively, we tend to think that it is the less-skilled salespeople who need more coaching. Sales managers therefore devote most of their energy and time allocated to coaching to these individuals. Yet, it is the most successful representatives who have the greatest potential for improvement, as they generally have a much higher level of commitment and are willing to receive coaching.
Unfortunately, they are neglected in coaching meetings and the company is depriving itself of a great growth potential. Some representatives could even leave for this reason. According to a study conducted by Sales Hacker, 98% of representatives would be more likely to stay with the company if it offered them continuous development and coaching. In the same way, we know that today, the main reason why employees consider changing jobs is the lack of training!
To learn how to provide effective coaching as a sales manager, read our article on the subject: How to structure your sales representatives' coaching
Not making an adequate evaluation of the team
A sales force evaluation is necessary to identify the causes behind the performance problems observed among your salespeople. A good evaluation tool should also help you understand how it is possible for your team to be more effective in sales.
Evaluating underperforming representatives may seem like a daunting task for leaders, who will therefore put aside this responsibility that requires too much effort. However, without a proper evaluation, it is not really clear as to why these players are not performing.
Is it their sales DNA? Their technical and tactical skills? Or perhaps they are individuals whose profiles and values simply do not match the company's vision and they should not be part of this team.
Without a good evaluation, you can understand that there is a risk of keeping people who slow down the rest of the herd unnecessarily and have a negative impact on the company's performance, instead of dismissing them.
Confusing coaching with motivating
It is common for sales managers to focus on motivational strategies to encourage their salespeople to perform better. These may be based on remuneration, on contests, on the sense of accomplishment, on recognition, etc.
The problem with this approach is that motivation can encourage representatives to want to succeed, but it does not give them the means to do so.
In situations of lack of performance, leaders should focus on coaching rather than motivation, so that their team can find answers to their problems and develop tools to overcome them.