A good leader not only communicates well with his or her team, but also promotes good communication within the team itself. The individuals who make up the group usually have a variance of skill sets, experience, as well as shared common problems and solutions. Promoting good open communication will help you get the most from your team, by helping them learn not only from you, but also from each other.
It’s important as the leader, to ensure your team are well communicated to covering topics such as the wider business performance/projects, the team performance and their own individual performance. I have found creating a culture that ensures people are comfortable to open up to you with requests for support, frustrations and anything impacting their personal or work life, creates a stronger team. It is essential for the leader that when they do this, you must listen and support/respond accordingly.
Use of Time
Time is precious in all our lives. I am a believer that a salespersons’ job is to sell and as such, their entire job should be structured to maximise the amount of time they have to carry out their primary remit. Careful consideration needs to be given to travel, reporting, events and meetings. All of which can take up considerable time out of a salespersons’ day where they aren’t actually selling.
Travel – Does the individual need to be at the meeting in person? Can they hold that meeting on the same day as meeting x? Can they use a train to reduce carbon footprint as well as give space to work? Do I need an overnight to maximise my day? These are considerations to think about for both individuals and leaders.
Reporting – Is key for any business. I am by no means suggesting this is forgotten about, but I believe you should only report on the information that matters and will be used – don’t report for the sake of reporting. I have always tried to centralise reports where possible with admin and subsequently have them issued to the team. I then use my face to face time with my team to understand the insights, detail and key points. This can save valuable time, freeing up a salesperson to sell rather than to report.
I have found that if you communicate well, you will understand what your team are doing, rather than ask for report after report about their productivity. I talked about trust earlier and of course understanding productivity is essential, but I find the balance of reporting with trust gives much better results vs focusing purely on a report for every detail. i.e. think to yourself, do I need a report that shows someone in my team made 60 phone calls today and sent 50 emails that documents every voicemail, message, and conversation? Or am I better hearing about the 10 big wins with an appreciation of the work that went behind it due to the trust factor? I for one would much rather 20 big wins in 2 days than 10 big wins and a great detailed report over the same period.
Events & Meetings – All salespeople love face to face meetings and the thrill of closing a deal in front of the client. I am no different, but the time allocated to meetings needs consideration.
The first question one should ask themselves, is there any benefit/objective for me or the client in my presence? If the answer is no, then why are you going? Don’t tag along or allow your people to tag onto meetings that have no relevance. This is dead time that should be used to… yes, sell!!!
You need to also consider can this be done via video call? Meetings can take hours out of our day with travel and again, killing valuable time we should be using to sell. Of course, face to face meetings are important but consider the requirement.
Another consideration are networking events. The question to ask yourself is, what’s the reason I am going? To network shouldn’t be an acceptable answer. I’ve seen salespeople go to an event with no objective, goal or any idea who will be there. Ensure they have done their research and what their objective for going is. I want to meet x or I want to hear x speak to further my knowledge in this area.
In summary, a good leader maximises the time their sales team has to sell by minimising wasted time and promoting efficient use of resources.
Lee Hamill, Bell Group Sales Director