Your Sales Staff Needs a Refresher
By: Tina Samuels
Sometimes sales can slow down or even come to a standstill.
Perhaps sales have slowed to a trickle and you're not quite sure what to do. Should you fire your entire team and start over? Offer more rewards? Possibly downsize?
While those are tactics used by some businesses, the savvy CEO knows the sales team is an asset, not an expense.
What can you do to help your assets improve?
Training and More Training
The dynamic of making a sale changes.
This change can be due to a change in demographic – new products, new services, or to the way people are buying things in general. Change can happen very quickly, possibly from day to day. Consumers are fickle – which is why sales can change so quickly.
This is why it is important to have ongoing training for sales staff. Veteran sales team members can train new staff and should hold weekly meetings with the sales team. These meeting can offer insight on how sales are moving.
Weekly sales training sessions should take place at the same time every week.
When a sales team understands you are serious about them and sales, they're more likely to take meetings seriously.
During the meetings leave a time slot open for brainstorming. All members should contribute with ideas of how to increase sales or training ideas.
Consistency is important with sales training, as in all parts of your company. If you reward employees, reward all of them on an equal basis. Don't change the reward system each week. This can leave some staff feeling as if they'll never get ahead. Have a reward for small, medium, and large sales goals.
Read related content:
- Why You're Failing at Sales
- Is Your Networking Not Working?
- Human Resources Solutions for Your Small Business
If you're giving your sales team a refresher, give them real working ideas.
Don't come up with theories and then walk away hoping for the best. The most that will happen is your team will be confused and frustrated. Reinforce what you're teaching. Your staff will forget what you've taught if you don't talk about learning points more than once. Someone else's theorized sales pitch isn't likely to work for your team as is.
You and your team should tailor a pitch to work for your company or per individual. A one time run through isn't likely to get results, nor will tossing a form to team members and saying “Here's our strategy.”
Not only is this frustrating, weak leadership can cause you to lose sales, staff, and eventually your company. It takes a smart, strong leader to run a loyal sales team into the future.
Take responsibility for the team, train it well, and constantly evolve sale techniques. This is protecting your investment – both your company and your sales department.
Remember, your team is an investment. Putting money into training, not to mention time, is one of the largest investments you will make as a business owner. Don't squander this investment by abandoning your sales team when sales seem slow.
Work together to design a strategy that will increase sales and move your company forward.
When it comes to your business, how do you make sure your sales team is on top of their game?
About the Author: Tina Samuels writes for businesses on the topics of marketing, social media, and how to send invoices online.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.