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7 powerful strategies for effective sales management

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(llustration: Trifonenko / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images)
(llustration: Trifonenko / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images)

Jeffrey ScottTo scale your landscape business, you must ultimately grow an effective sales team. And to do that, you must become quite good at sales management. Ironically, sales management is one of those roles they don’t teach at school, university or almost anywhere, really. So you have to grab the learning where you can (books, training, peer groups, reading.) Let me help you — with the following seven observations.

Seven sales management techniques:

1. Become an encouraging coach

Being a transactional manager won’t cut it. Your salespeople (most of your people actually) need an encouraging coach in order to flourish and grow. Some of you are naturals at coaching and others need work. If you are introverted, independent and low on the need for recognition, it won’t come easy to you. Practice those coaching skills and it will pay off.

2. Use incentives to break through your own thinking

If you want your salespeople to hit higher goals, be creative with incentives. Don’t assume the standards that have always worked in the past, will be effective for your company’s situation this year. One thing about incentives is certain: they have to be adjusted as your needs adjust. With that said, ”Don’t let your own mindset be the obstacle!“ For example: I was speaking with a client about this very issue yesterday. She was stuck on the fact that her salespeople were already well-paid. Yet we needed to add a maintenance commission to grow that side of the business. Don’t get stuck on 100 bucks here and there, when a simple tweak to the plan can grow a new side of the business.

3. Make data your friend

Tie your commission plan into the profitability of the work; directly or indirectly it should be tied into gross profit or gross profit per hour. Either way, back it up with data so your sales team can agree with any changes to payouts. The more you can tie salespeople and production people together using data, the better. Give them something to agree on.

4. High earners don’t want ceilings

To attract the very best salespeople, show them how to earn large payouts; don’t put artificial ceilings on what they can earn. Salespeople are extremely optimistic, make use of that. The sky is the limit!

5. Keep your salespeople selling

Do not distract salespeople with production minutiae if you can help it. Instead, keep them focused on initiatives that will build marketing and sales. Salespeople should sell, production people should produce and admin people should administrate.

6. Become a marketing expert

Ok, you have heard me say this a lot. But it bears repeating. If you want to grow your sales, you must provide branding support, name recognition and lead flow if you are doing residential work. Great salespeople want to work for great companies with great branding and marketing. Fake it til you make it, but don’t rest on your laurels.

7. Operations must keep up

To scale your business with great salespeople you need scalable operations. Great salespeople must believe in your operations and vice versa. Your operations people must believe in your sales targets in order to invest their time in building up your bench. Your challenge is to keep sales and operations in a collaborative relationship.

Someone needs to be the sales manager in your firm, to guide and represent your sales staff as they collaborate with operations. Your sales manager should have good analytics and bring accountability, as well as support, encouragement and a sales strategy.

If that is you, make “mastering sales management” a personal learning goal this year. When your salespeople believe in your operations 100 percent they will run through walls for you, and sell what’s needed at the right margins.

Go get ’em!

P.S. Learn how to become a great sales manager, at Jeffrey Scott’s Sales Symposium on Feb. 27.

Jeffrey Scott

Jeffrey Scott

Jeffrey Scott, MBA, author, specializes in growth and profit maximization in the Green Industry. His expertise is rooted in personal success, growing his own company into a $10 million enterprise. Now, he facilitates the Leader’s Edge peer group for landscape business owners. To learn more visit GetTheLeadersEdge.com

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