Saturday, September 21, 2013

6 Ways to Lead Your Sales Team Through Tough Times

The recession is technically over, however, sales teams are still facing more competitors going after the same projects, price pressures or the new competitor, prospects doing nothing. There is an old saying, "character not tested is no character at all." Well, character and resiliency are certainly being tested in this post-recession economy. Even good salespeople are being tested on their persistence and ability to sell.

The recession is also testing sales managers to see if they can provide sales environments that keep their sales team's head up and hearts engaged. Leadership has never been more important. How are you, Mr. or Ms. Sales Leader, showing up in your role as head coach, trainer and leader? Here are six tips for leading your sales team in this post recession economy.

1. Seek out good news. Bad news sells and unfortunately the media seems to be having a fire sale! There are companies that are doing well, spending money and investing in products and services. A colleague of mine recently connected with her first boss. His sales team has opened over 100 new accounts, in a very competitive industry, since January. This good news is often not printed in the newspaper so it's up to you and your sales team to seek out the positive. At your next sales meeting, assign each salesperson with finding good news and sharing it with the rest of the team. It's time to start publishing your own newspaper!

2. Step up your coaching efforts. Have you conducted role plays with your sales team to see if they know how to quantify the cost of the problem or the gain of an opportunity? This selling skill is KEY in a buying environment where cost justification is king. If your sales team can't establish the short term and long term ROI, there is a good chance your team will lose to the new competitor doing nothing or staying with an existing vendor.