To close sales, serve customers, and strategize effectively, your salespeople need to be in the know. That includes keeping them informed about company-wide goals, giving them tools to uncover new opportunities, launching new training methodologies, and managing in a way that helps them improve their sales and service performance. Ultimately, the sales team in the know can make sales grow.
Use these management ideas from Dr. Ken Blanchard to help empower your salespeople to do what they do best.Understand that people are your most valuable resource.
Even with the best product on the market, a company needs people capable of and committed to pleasing customers. Customers may stay with or leave a business based on how well employees treat them and handle their questions and complaints. Sharing information not only gives your reps the facts they need to make customers happy, it may also improve team motivation by making salespeople feel more valued and respected.Trust your team.
When you hire well, you should be able to trust your team members to act responsibly with the information you give them. Give your team credit for being willing and able to increase sales with the information you provide. Let your team members know the value of the information you share and what they should do with it. By reminding them that using knowledge to act in the company's best interests benefits everyone and increased company profits also benefit them (in pay raises or more lucrative incentive programs, for example), you will help inspire them to put the information to good use.
Arm your salespeople with technology and quality training.
As sales cycles lengthen and fewer executives deal with sales reps, enterprise sales teams are becoming more serious about consultative selling. Because it is more difficult than ever to get to decision makers, enterprise sales organizations are increasingly turning to such social networks as LinkedIn or Sales 2.0 tools such as Jigsaw, to empower their teams with more knowledge and make sure "the pipeline is filled with active, rather than dormant, opportunities."
Make your business an open book.
A shift to open-book management makes your salespeople privy to information that once might have been for management's eyes only. With that information, your reps better understand how their actions affect the company and how to maximize their contribution to it. To convince the president of a restaurant company to share financial information with employees, a consultant asked the employees how much of every dollar earned went to the bottom line to be reinvested in the business or returned to investors as profit. Not until the employees found out that only five to ten cents of every dollar amounts to profit did they realize how much one burned steak or broken dish costs the company. Reconsider what information you feel is too sensitive to share with employees, and ask yourself if you can afford to keep it secret. Try releasing information in an online newsletter that presents how to use it and how it can help salespeople do their jobs more effectively.
Although making your salespeople more knowledgeable is reason enough to keep them in the know, sharing information also shows your team members that you're one of them. With every fact you provide, you strengthen that bond, along with their motivation and ability to sell efficiently and effectively.