The challenge of minimising waste affects all businesses, but in light of the current global food crisis, waste in the food and drink industry is seen as a particular priority right now.
As the point of first contact with customers your sales staff can be your greatest asset, but how do you ensure they remain motivated and exceed expectations?
Here are some top tips to help you maximise your team’s potential.
Invest in your teamAs Confucius used to say: “plant mushrooms, reap mushrooms”. In other words, you only get out what you put in. So you need to invest time and money into training and developing your sales staff if you want a competent, well developed and future-proof team.
When on-boarding new hires ensure you induct them correctly with call-shadowing and regular support from a well-trained senior member of the team. Ensure new hires know where everything is and that they have everything they need to do their job well right from the off.
The established sales team are equally important. Maximise their potential by investing in external training opportunities and implement your own internal programmes. Designate a learning day each week and present your team with motivating videos, roleplay and activities designed to teach and provoke discussion. Focus on communication and teamwork, setting tasks that require they work together to achieve a common goal.
Play to individual strengthsAll sales reps have areas where they excel, and it’s your job as their manager to identify them and ensure that each rep is in a position where they can succeed.
While everyone on the team is working towards a collective goal, recognise your team is made up of individuals, each with their own ambitions and objectives.
Take time to understand each rep on a personal level. Different people need to be managed differently, so tap into individual aspirations to better motivate each member.
Currencies Direct’s Head of Corporate Sales Leeann Nash, says:
'Don’t treat your sales team as a collective unit, each person has different motivations, strengths and weaknesses and in order to get the best from them you need to recognise the differences, embrace them and play to their strengths'.
Use this knowledge to spot and avoid potential personality clashes within your team. Ultimately your role is provide an atmosphere where your sales reps can flourish as individuals, while still forming a cohesive unit.
At the same time, apply the Volume vs Value method of management in which low value, high priority work goes to your best performing team members, while high volume, low priority work is allocated to the lowest performers. Don’t waste high performers on menial jobs when they could be propelling your business higher, but be sure to team up low performers with high performers on relevant tasks so the good practise of your best staff rubs off on reps who may be struggling.
Incentivise and inspireSales people tend to be naturally competitive and goal oriented, so incentivising your team through achievement-based rewards can be a great way to drive them forward.
Tap into that competitive spirit. Create a dashboard that helps to visually track sales targets and deals closed, offering both transparency and a sense of urgency and motivation.
Consider implementing a separate reward scheme which complements commissions and better allows you to reward both individual and team success.
These rewards needn’t be monetary and provide an excellent opportunity for you to inject a bit of fun into proceedings. A week of casual dress, for example, cakes in the staff room or Management washing the car of the year’s best performing employee! Think about what rewards will best incentivise your team and make them smile at the same time.
But rewards alone are not enough to encourage and maintain staff morale. Setting realistic targets and recognising success is also vital to maintaining consistent motivation.
Praise positive behaviour rather than focussing solely on sales. Shield your team from toxic office politics and negative attitudes, especially those likely to teach bad sales practices. At the same time, avoid dwelling on mistakes and ensure your staff know that errors are merely opportunities to learn.
Nash adds: ‘Don’t vilify sales executives for mistakes. “Black-box thinking” is paramount and making mistakes and learning from them helps us thrive in every aspect of life - especially sales.’
The success or failure of a business can hinge on its sales staff – so ensure both you and your team are on the same page and that no individual is being set up to fail.
Encourage your team to keep learning, reward those who excel and maintain constant communication with your reps. Allocate work intelligently and don’t waste your top performers on workaday tasks.
Ultimately the strength of a sales team can depend on the quality of their management, so apply good management practise throughout and put your organisation on a path towards growth.
Currencies Direct is one of Europe's leading non-bank providers of currency exchange and international payment services. Since we were formed in 1996, we've maintained our focus on providing innovative foreign exchange and international currency transfer services to corporations of all sizes, online sellers and private individuals. We have also expanded our services to provide dynamic and pioneering "business to business" solutions to help companies, tier 2/3 banks and other non-bank financial institutions to process their international payments. Our headquarters are in the City of London (United Kingdom) and we have operations in continental Europe, Africa, Asia, and the United States. Currencies Direct is jointly owned by private equity firms Palamon Capital Partners and Corsair Capital.