How to Support Your Sales Team Effectively

How to Support Your Sales Team Effectively

Last updated: 

September 7, 2022

Reem Abouemera

Reem Abouemera

Whether you've been recently promoted to sales manager or have been in the role for a short while, you’re probably carrying a sense of responsibility for your team's success–and you should. A sales team is only as good as its manager, so it's up to you to be the leader they need and enable them to hit their quotas.

That said, offering your team the right level of support can be challenging to achieve. How do you know if you're doing too much or too little? Are you micromanaging, or are you hands-off? We’ve curated the best tips to help you find the right balance and support your sales team effectively. 

Alright, let’s dive in.

1. Set Realistic Goals

It's one thing to want to achieve record-breaking sales numbers, but it's another to actually achieve them. If you set the bar too high, you'll end up feeling disappointed–and naturally, your team will feel the same way.

The first tip is to set realistic and achievable sales goals for your team. Here’s how: 

  • Analyze the historical sales data
  • Assess the overall industry's health
  • Identify any external factors that could impact sales (e.g., a competitor's new product launch)
  • Review each employee's skills, strengths, and weaknesses

For instance, if your company’s month-over-month revenue growth tends to be around 20%, it's unlikely that you'll be able to hit 50% MoM growth. However, if there’s a market tailwind and you have a team of trained salespeople, it might be realistic to set a goal of 30-35% MoM growth. 

That isn't to say that you shouldn't strive for big goals–you should. However, increase your goals gradually to avoid putting too much pressure on your team (and yourself).

2. Leverage Sales Call Recordings

Your sales team needs your feedback to sell better–and that feedback should be based on more than just your gut feeling. It needs to be based on data, and what’s a better source of data than the actual sales calls?

Of course, as a sales manager, you won't have time to attend and listen in on every sales call. While video conferencing platforms allow you to record meetings, it’s not easy to find the time to watch dozens of hour-long recordings every week. Most of the recordings in the Zoom Cloud are rarely viewed, let alone leveraged to improve the sales process. 

And that’s where tools like Grain come in. Grain allows you to automatically record sales calls and compile all of the recordings in one library that you can access at any time. The best part is, that you can clip out key moments from the calls and share them with your team for further discussion. 

As every call is transcribed, you can search and get to the specific moment you want to review, clip, and share.

That way, you can offer your team more targeted and actionable feedback to help them close more deals. You can even reference successful sales calls as examples for other members of your team to follow and allow the whole team to have access to the recordings so they can learn from each other. More on the benefits of building a library of sales call recordings here.

3. Provide One-on-One Coaching

Did you know that high-performing companies are twice as likely to provide personalized coaching to their employees? Despite that, 23% of managers spend less than 30 minutes per week coaching their direct reports, which has been linked to lower quota attainment.

Yes, you may be stretched thin as a sales manager, but if you want to support your sales team to reach their full potential, you must make time for one-on-one coaching. During these sessions, you can:

  • Get feedback from your direct report on how they're feeling about their sales goals
  • Identify any roadblocks they're facing and brainstorm solutions together
  • Discuss their recent wins and losses and what they could’ve done differently
  • Review their pipeline and upcoming deals
  • Provide feedback on their recent sales calls
  • Refresh their memory on key company processes

One-on-one coaching sessions don't need to be long–even 30 minutes once a week can make a big difference. When your team members feel like they have your full attention, they'll be more engaged and motivated to achieve their goals.

4. Always Give Your Team Detailed Feedback

"George, you need to work on your sales technique. Your prospecting could use some improvement." While this is technically feedback, it's not very helpful.

As a sales manager, your feedback needs to be specific, actionable, and timely. That way, your team members can use it to improve their performance.

For example, you could say: "George, I noticed that you hesitated when the prospect asked about our pricing. In the future, can you try to be more confident when responding to price objections? You can try role-playing with one of your colleagues to help you prepare."

This is a specific, actionable piece of feedback that George can use to improve his performance. In addition to being specific and actionable, your feedback should also be timely. The sooner you can give it, the better.

Performance metrics also play a role in giving feedback. By tracking key metrics like call volume, conversion rate, and average deal size, you can identify your team’s areas of improvement and work on them.

So instead of saying "you're not closing enough deals", you can say "your conversion rate is lower than the team average. Can we brainstorm some ways to improve that?"

5. Use a Sales-Friendly CRM Tool

If your sales team has to shuffle between a million different tools (a spreadsheet for tracking leads, one tool for scheduling calls, another for recording calls, and so on), their productivity will suffer.

A sales-friendly CRM tool can help by consolidating all those different tools into one platform. Not only does that make it easier for your team members to find the information they need, but it also makes it easier for you to track their performance. You’ll be able to quickly identify patterns, spot errors, and give more informed feedback.

When evaluating CRM tools, look for one that includes features like:

  • Lead and deal management
  • Reminders or notifications
  • Integrations with popular sales tools
  • Automatic reports and analytics
  • Mobile app

If we’re looking for a safe bet, go with Salesforce. It’s widely used for a reason. Thanks to its extensive integration and documentation, you can make it work for your team—today and well into the future. 

Pro tip: If you’re using Grain to record sales calls, enable Salesforce integration to view recordings and highlights directly in Salesforce.

6. Minimize Admin Tasks 

Sales representatives often have more on their plates than just selling. There are also administrative tasks like maintaining their CRM, scheduling calls, sending emails, filing expense reports, and more.

While some of these tasks are necessary, they can quickly become time-sinks that take away from selling time. As a sales manager, it's your job to minimize the time your team spends on administrative tasks so they can focus on what they're good at: selling.

The solution is one of three things:

  • Eliminate unnecessary tasks: Is there a task that your team members spend a lot of time on that could be eliminated? If so, get rid of it.
  • Outsource repetitive tasks: Are there any tasks that your team members have to do regularly (like scheduling calls or sending emails) that could be outsourced to someone else? If so, consider hiring a virtual assistant or another staff member to take care of those tasks.
  • Automate where possible: Are there any tasks that could be automated using technology? For example, you can use a tool like Zapier to automate repetitive tasks like data entry or sending follow-up emails. Another example is automating call logging in CRM. 

By taking some of the administrative burdens off of your team's shoulders, you can free up their time. Let your team focus on what matters rather than getting bogged down in the details.

7. Employ Gamification Strategies

89% of employees say they'd be more productive if their job were more gamified. And gamification has indeed been proven to increase sales productivity.

Gamification is the practice of using game mechanics to drive engagement and motivation. And when it comes to sales, there are a few key gamification strategies you can use, including:

  • Competitions: Create friendly competitions between team members (with prizes for the winner) to see who can close the most deals or generate the most revenue.
  • Leaderboards: Use a leaderboard to rank team members based on their performance. This can create friendly competition and encourage everyone to up their game.
  • Badges: Give team members badges when they reach certain milestones or accomplish tasks. For example, you could give a badge for closing 10 deals in a month.

By tapping into our natural desire to compete and be recognized, you can increase motivation and productivity on your sales team.

8. Offer Constant Sales Training

Many sales managers make the mistake of assuming that their team members are experts on everything sales-related. For that reason, they only offer training during the sales onboarding process.

However, the reality is that sales skills (like any other skills) degrade over time if they're not used regularly. 87% of the knowledge learned in sales training is forgotten after 12 weeks, so it's important to offer constant sales training to keep your team sharp.

There are a few different ways you can offer sales support, including:

  • Sales enablement: Sales enablement is all about making it easy for your team to access the training they need when they need it. That might mean creating a library of resources (like ebooks, guides, and templates), hosting regular webinars or training sessions, or making sure that your CRM is up-to-date with the latest information.
  • Mentorship programs: A mentorship program pairs each sales rep with a more experienced team member. The mentor offers guidance and advice on an ongoing basis, helping the mentee to improve their skills over time.
  • Coaching: Coaching is similar to mentorship but is usually more formal and structured. As a coach, you'll work with each sales rep to help them identify their strengths and weaknesses and create an improvement plan.

By offering constant sales training, you can make sure that your team is always sharp and up-to-date on the latest selling strategies.

9. Create a Sales Playbook

A sales playbook is a document that outlines your team's processes and procedures. It includes everything from the way deals are structured to the scripts that should be used during customer interactions. Ideally, it should only contain tactics that have been proven to work.

When done right, a sales playbook can be an invaluable resource for your team. It can help new reps to hit the ground running and keep everyone on the same page, improving efficiencies and close rates.

Plus, having a sales playbook gives you a single source of truth that you can refer back to when you're troubleshooting problems or trying to improve your team's performance.

10. Hold Yourself Accountable

Finally, it's important to remember that as a sales manager, you're not above the rules. You need to lead by example and hold yourself accountable for your actions.

That means adhering to the processes and procedures outlined in your sales playbook, using the tools and technologies that you've implemented for your team, and following through on your commitments.

By setting the right example, you can ensure that your team does the same.

The Bottom Line

Start from the goals, build a library of sales call recordings, empower your sales team to learn from each other, provide clear feedback using sales call data, build training programs, and create necessary playbooks. 

As a sales manager, your ultimate goal is to help your team reach its full potential. Being a good sales manager is about more than just hitting your numbers. It's about developing relationships, offering support, and constantly striving to improve. If you can do that, you'll be well on your way to becoming a great sales manager.

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