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Having and managing a strong sales team is a task that requires constant adjustments, education and two-way communication. After all, the revenue that comes from your sales team can be the backbone of your business’ success, and provides the opportunity for your business to grow, expand and thrive.
So, what best practices can you utilize to manage your sales team and maximize club profits?
One thing is certain: defining clear, attainable, measurable goals is essential in being able to evaluate the success of your sales team. Daron Allen, the president of sales software company VFP, thinks that goal-setting is by far one of the most powerful practices in successful sales teams, and that your goal-setting process should be set up to be exciting and motivational.
“I think one of the keys to this is to be very transparent in your goal-setting, along with having the right amount of collaboration in sales management and motivation — but definitely having their buy-in and excitement is just really key,” said Allen.
Allen went on to say that one of the things he sees clubs doing wrong a lot in terms of their sales management style, is not investing enough time into setting adequate goals that are parallel with their company and its compensation plan.
“There’s not nearly enough time spent on the goal-setting portion of what they’re doing for sales,” added Allen. “Too often clubs just ask, ‘How did we do during this month last year?’ or ‘What do we want to do better?’ But I believe if you want to hit your goals, you have to take a holistic, in-depth view on how you set goals, and those goals need to be very, very specific, and they also need to be achievable.”
Tom Deimler, the senior vice president of sales, marketing and fitness for California Family Fitness (CFF), agreed that the sales team should be goal-oriented, and gave five tips on what he’s found successful for managing his sales team.
“There’s a lot that goes into it, but No. 1 is hiring the right people,” said Deimler. “Two is proper, extensive training and ongoing training. Three is goal-setting and defining clear goals and objectives. Four is holding people accountable to those goals and objectives. And five is rewarding positive behavior when it’s done the right way, and when expectations are exceeded — and rewarding people along the way through incentives and recognition.”
Allen added it’s important to make sure everyone understands the expectations, and that good employees are essential to building a good team.
“You have to build a great team that’s motivated,” said Allen. “You need to make sure you have every single arrow aligned in the same direction — because anytime you have a salesperson who is not in total alignment, it’s going to create a drag in the overall performance. So you really want to have that alignment and the great team focus in order to achieve that goal.”
Allen said he’s a big believer in rewarding salespeople — even if it’s just bringing visibility to their successes. This is because as a salesperson, one of the toughest things to overcome is starting at zero every single month. “So throughout the month you really need to look for ways to encourage, incentivize and motivate them to get them out of the gate quickly,” he said. “From a team perspective, getting that excitement and motivation and transparency is really important.”
Deimler agreed that it is vital to motivate the sales team throughout the month with incentives and recognition. For example, CFF upholds that belief by holding contests, dinners, trips and giving away prizes. “We try to make it as much fun as possible, with competition at the same time,” he said.
According to Deimler, a common mistake health clubs make when it comes to managing sales teams is not having consistent training processes and expectations.
While the onboarding process at CFF lasts seven days, Deimler said the company also has in-field training that’s on-going. “It doesn’t stop,” he said. “We have training every day, and part of every sales meeting is a training activity.”
Allen agreed that an emphasis on sales training should be much more paramount in the industry. He added he finds having consistent “coach-them-up meetings” to be another useful tool.
“If you think about it, anybody who ever really improves at anything, they have a coach … and it doesn’t matter if it’s professional athletes, college athletes, people in other industries — the people who get the very best results and best improvement, they all have a coach,” said Allen.
Deimler uses Salesforce to track and manage leads and to know who’s ahead in selling. He explained using a system like this encourages everyone to manage their leads effectively, and ensures no potential customer falls through the cracks.
“It let’s us know if someone isn’t following up with a lead, and then that lead becomes open game for other people to pursue, so if there’s been no contact with a lead for a month, other people in the sales team can claim that lead and try to work it,” said Deimler.
Greg Gsell, the senior director of product marketing for Salesforce, said the platform is great for sales teams because they “need a single platform in order to maximize their productivity, build deeper customer relationships and close more deals.”
Gsell also added that it helps sales teams keep the pipeline filled with solid leads and ultimately score more wins.
Implementing these four practices could be an effective strategy for your sales numbers to grow, expand and thrive, which can lead to more success in your company’s initiatives all around.