Salespeople perform better when they have pressure on, and a basic takes pressure off. It appeals more to the average than the ambitious.
What to Do:
Have a remuneration formula that leans more to rewarding results. Recruit those who ask more about potential earnings, management vision, market, sales support than size of basic. A good question to hear is, ‘What did your top earner take home last month?’ Those who just ask about the basic are looking for an easy ride and an increment in status.
Fail to recruit to culture match
Staff flourish, and work well as a team, when they are surrounded by other people who share similar values, likes, concerns, goals, styles, backgrounds, interests etc.
What to do. Hire first for culture fit and then competencies and you will always have strong teams with good staff retention. All you need is a sheet of paper with list of values and ask them to circle the three most important to them. They do not know your culture so will answer truthfully and in so doing tell you if they are a good fit.
Think that commission motivates
Commission is great and essential but do not think that is how you motivate sales staff.
What to do. Understand each member of staff. What are their real personal goals, backed and evidenced by behaviours? Often status and recognition are the top two for most salespeople.
Look for very specific people
Most Sales Directors I have known would give a preference for a candidate with experience of their industry so that they can ‘hit the ground running’. Usually they overestimate the industry knowledge needed and how quickly that can be taught and in so doing reduce the talent pool available to them. This strategy I have seen as producing a musical chairs type situation around an industry. The recruitment industry for example has it own sector called Rec2Rec. Just churning around the same people around the industry. Does not take a genius to realise how impossible it is to scale with this approach. Many recruiters become dependent on their 1 or 2 top billers and when they move on, they are in deep trouble.
What to do. Build a sales process, a system that increasingly requires less and less skills to work. This means that you are forever increasing the talent pool that can be successful in sales in your organisation. I call it McDonaldisation! Biggest restaurant business and needs no skilled chefs.
Have a telesales team of one.
Telesales people thrive on a competitive buzzing environment. Very few of them who are successful telemarketers can achieve the same results on their own. Bit like an athlete. Run around the athletics track on your own and you time will always be less than when you run against others.
What to do. Have a team of three and manage them to compete with each other for commission, promotion, etc.
Set unrealistic targets
It is good to get people thinking 10X ambitious and on what is possible. However, if you cannot lead them to those results, they will become despondent and negative. Now a target and a goal are not the same thing. Have the goal at the 10X level but set stepping stone targets of what has to be achieved to reach the next level. Then when they meet the first target, they feel that the ultimate goal is now achievable. The trick of 10X thinking is if the ultimate goal is very high it creates different questions and thus answers, then focus and action.
Do you think you could make a £1million?
Could you make a £1,000 over the next month? Repeat, leverage, automate what you did to achieve that 1,000 times and you have a £million. Same goal £1million.
Make sales targets based upon what has been previously achieved raising the game to an end goal in sight.
Manage them like other staff
Salespeople are always on an emotional rollercoaster. They call it the ‘peaks and troughs. The troughs are disappointment, frustration, rejection and the positive are elation, enthusiasm. Managing salespeople is a much more skilled job then managing most other categories of employees. Do not underestimate it.
What to do
Have someone manage the sales team who has experience of doing just that. If you do not have someone, get advice and consultancy on what to do.
Alex McMillan (44) 07525-916574 firstname.lastname@example.org