The sales industry is one of the most stressful industries globally. According to PayScale in 2016, Sales Account Manager was considered the 2nd most stressful occupation, with a whopping 73% of respondents reporting that it was “highly stressful.” It’s safe to say that the PR campaign behind sales jobs needs to change. There’s a way to strike a balance between productivity, and missed opportunities, and it's one that few consultancies or sales teams have been able to do. Hitting targets and winning clients doesn’t have to be a back-breaking, soul-crushing job. In fact, it should be one with many challenges, but a lot of rewards, if you are in one of the many tech sales jobs, or a sales role in whatever you specialize in.
Building an effective, productive, and enthusiastic sales team can take time, but there are three things you want to keep in mind:
Productivity and success in sales is relative and needs to be defined at your company. First, make sure that your definition of these things matches with job candidates before they even get hired. Once it gets to quarterly crunch time, turning up the heat doesn’t really work wonders when it comes to performance. Putting constant pressure doesn’t reap a high reward, most likely it will result in poorer performance in the long run. Long hours of grinding might get work done, and incrementally increase the numbers. However, it will stifle the creativity and morale of your team. So, if you want an increase in productivity for your sales team, consider rethinking company processes. Additionally make sure each of your team is equipped with the tools to do the best they can.
There’s a variety of methods and programs available when it comes to sales coaching. It’s important to research which program or coaching consultant would be the best fit for your business and team. You want a program that will make a long-term impact. It should also withstand the test of time, as the needs of buyers or clients are constantly changing. Opt for a program that calls for more one-on-one interaction, even if it's on Zoom. A good program is also one that your senior sales reps can coach to new sales reps. You should have a clear process that your company abides by, but not one that is too rigid. Stick to what has worked, and learn when to abandon principles that clearly don’t work anymore, or don’t apply to a specific type of client.
Part of why sales can be a stressful job is because of high competition, and a lot of rejection. You might find that some of your reps lose motivation. Often because they can’t close a deal with a lead, or they are super close to closing a deal, but lose to a competitor. Coming off doubtful or lacking enthusiasm puts salespeople at a psychological disadvantage. This always comes through via video, in-person, or on the phone, no matter how much they try to cover it up. Clients won't be won over by someone who doesn’t have confidence in their pitch. Do a weekly or even daily motivation meeting.
Going back to the first point about how your company measures success, make sure to impress upon your team that closing a deal isn’t the only thing to keep track of. Keep track of progress because even those can be markers of success. Even if you made it to the final step before closing, that is vital data that you can still use to inform your future decisions! Affirming or celebrating small wins is a great way to keep the enthusiasm alive. It also motivates your team to learn and get better.
Pitching, networking and is a skill that requires regular refinement, coaching, and scrutiny. Make sure to ease the pressure on your reps. Constantly do an error analysis of what's been working and what hasn’t. Plus make sure to reward hard work and dedication, even if a deal isn’t secured.