The View From Up Here
Do you really know what your salespeople are up to? How closely are you following these key individuals as they navigate through the trenches to find prospects and close deals?
Oftentimes, managers and executive staff become quite detached from what is really happening on the frontlines of their business. Management’s view of a company is typically very different than those of the salespeople, and that disconnect can ultimately be quite detrimental to the overall success of a company.
Sales teams and management need to be on the same page to effectively establish expectations, goals, and strategies. It’s not always easy to accomplish this, especially for companies that have a corporate culture that is rife with poor communication. However, once everyone is working together, management is often very pleasantly surprised at the positive changes that occur. Here are five simple steps that can help management reconnect and refocus with their sales team.
Get Up and Personal
You’re simply not going to get all of the information you need to make effective business decisions from sales reports. To get a much broader perspective of what clients and prospects are saying, go on sales calls with your reps. Not only does this approach communicate to your team that you are able and willing to get involved, it’s absolutely necessary for seeing the big picture issues that are often not clear by simply reviewing sales numbers, graphs, and charts.
Initiate “How Are We Doing” Interactions
Besides rolling up your sleeves and getting out there in the field with your salespeople, reach out to clients on a frequent basis just to find out how the company is doing. They will provide you with honest feedback, so be prepared for not always hearing the sugar-coated answers that your sales team might be giving you. These interactions can be done via phone call, email, or by personal visit.
Conduct Informal Focus Groups
Along with one-on-one interactions, informal focus groups with clients can be extremely useful for gathering information. Invite key customers to lunch or coffee and make it worth their time to participate by offering something in return for their feedback. What they will offer you will be valuable data that will help you better understand what’s really happening.
Industry associations are just as important for upper-level management as for those just starting out. They should be a prime source for keeping up to date on trends and news that affect your business.
Participate in Regular Sales Meetings
Sales meetings shouldn’t be limited to once a year shindigs. They should be a regular part of operations that salespeople and management both attend. To be effective, meetings must be considered forums for open discussion about the business and industry as a whole where everyone is encouraged to participate and share their views.