Thanks again to sales management guru Lee Salz for compiling these excellent suggestions from top experts for his article on "The Unprecedented Sales Management Challenge for 2009."
“In tough times, sellers must be at the top of their game. As a sales manager, your job is to infuse your team with fresh thinking - to make sure they have the knowledge and skills to deal with today’s challenges. Start a “book of the month” club. Register for webinars or teleseminars put on by sales experts. Encourage sign up for sales e-newsletters. Lead weekly “how we won” sessions. For maximum impact, start now!” -Jill Konrath, Sales Strategist & author, "Selling to Big Companies"
has never been a more critical time for sales leaders to work overtime
to ensure that their teams remain focused and fully motivated: Attitude
is, after all, that small thing that makes such a big difference.
Strong leadership from the front, and by example, is the only way to
reverse the downward spiral that comes with self-limiting beliefs and
fears.” -Jonathan Farrington, Chairman of The Sales Corporation
“To get the malaise out of your sales team give them permission to press the “off button” and shut out the negative media. Protect seller’s natural optimism – have contests for the best joke of the day – buy coffee for the winner. Equip them with the winning words
– role-play the very words decision-makers long/need/want to hear:
which are how your product increases revenues; decreases expenses;
mitigates risk.” -Leslie Buterin, founder ColdCallingNetNews.com
"Sales managers must remember the behavior of sales people is driven by the desire to avoid pain or gain pleasure. The more powerful of these two drivers is the desire to gain pleasure. Smart sales managers recognize that achievement and recognition of that achievement are the two most powerful motivators in sales. So instead of cracking the whip, they are whipping up contests, games, spiffs, and awards that keep their sales professionals focused, happy, and engaged.” - Jeb Blount, CEO of SalesGravy.com and author of “Power Principles”
“Although the current economic situation presents problems for you and your sales team, it also presents unprecedented opportunities. There are still prospects buying and customers purchasing additional products and services, and your competitors are facing the same daunting and depressing news. Salespeople who overcome their lethargy and seek new business can turn this economic downturn into a record-breaking year. Empathize with their issues, but emphasize the tremendous opportunities your team has while their competition is sitting on the sidelines.” -Paul McCord, management consultant and author of the Sales and Sales Management Blog
“Managers need to shift away from fear based management and develop more of a collaborative coaching culture. You cannot inspire others when you are afraid and you can’t be inspired when you’re full of fear and worry. Conduct more frequent one-to-one meetings, build greater accountability by relinquishing your role as Chief Problem Solver and have less tolerance for mediocrity. Ultimately, management needs to adapt, innovate and evolve or suffer from corporate inefficiency, rigidity and declining profits.” -Keith Rosen, Executive Sales Coach and author of "Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions"