Have patience with all things but first of all, with yourself
-Francis De Sales
In this new series, we will focus on building an effective sales team over time as we look towards 2024. And there is the key word: time. Like most things in life, you must exhibit patience to see results. To transform your team as their leader, you will need to fully understand the skill, experience, and ability to learn each member has. And that’s a good starting point for this three-part blog series.
Assess Your Sales Team
Take stock of your current team. I recommend starting with two essential measurements as you rank each of your sales team members: revenue generation and attributes/behavior. And the ranking system is as simple as ABC! Group your associates into A, B, and C players based on the two aforementioned measurements. Here is some help to determine rankings:
A Players: consistently exceed their revenue goals and are highly mature, motivated, and commercially grounded. You generally don’t need to give them much feedback but when you do, they eagerly accept it as a way to grow professionally.
B Players: have had some success but are generally inconsistent, requiring more of your guidance. However, they are eager to learn and have potential to become A Players.
C Players: often are entitled, inconsistent earners, and resist feedback. They are your lowest performers and can also be toxic to building a strong sales team.
Analyze Foundational Behaviors
Once you’ve done a stack ranking, it’s time to look at what behaviors are consistent with your A Players. These are the foundational behaviors you will use as your baseline for developing your team for a fast start in 2024.
Here’s where you will need some patience. Most of your B Players and likely all of your C Players will not exhibit these behaviors. So, you will need to help develop them. This won’t be easy because, well, if they had the inclination or inherent ability to develop these foundational behaviors, they would have already.
Take your time with each sales team member, creating a development plan in which they have some authorship and agree to follow. Pay attention here! Your C Players are the most likely to resist any effort to change how they do things. It may be time to have an honest, frank and direct conversation about their future. If they cannot commit to adapting to how your team is developing, it may be time to have them move on. One thing is certain…the time to address these issues is now, not in December.
Address the Changed World…And Then Move Forward
One last thing as you assess, rank, and develop your team. Remember our changed world. Things have been anything but normal for the last five years. As a leader, you need to acknowledge that but not dwell too long on it. Yes, COVID fallout is real and it impacted how business development has been done. Your team may have struggled. But now is the time to move forward and develop a strong sales team that can learn from those experiences as they improve their foundational behaviors. Wary should you be of those in your care who are still using COVID as a reason for not moving forward.
As mentioned in this post, determining how well your team accepts and reacts to feedback is an important assessment. In Part Two of this series, we’ll focus on communicating and delivering positive feedback to inspire them to develop. It could be that HOW you are delivering feedback is the reason they aren’t reacting well to it!