In an Entrepreneur article called 4 Mistakes That Cost Me 75% of My Sales Team, a small business owner talks about the difficulties of managing sales people and offers insight from experience:
Only 13% of small business owners come from sales or marketing backgrounds themselves. And, therefore, because most of us aren’t sales leaders by trade, few of us do more than act as part-time managers for sales staff members, leaving them to fend for themselves with the hope that they know what they’re doing.
Although the author’s focus is on B2B sales reps, his advice easily applies to home improvement companies just as well. As an owner or sales manager (or both), motivating and coaching a sales staff is big part of running a business like yours.
Besides not giving his sales reps all the input they needed, he discusses 4 other missteps he also made and how you can avoid them. They are:
- Setting goals without clear consequences
- Taking a laissez-faire approach to managing sales
- Playing musical chairs with their roles
- Buying into unacceptable alibis
Implementing new processes to correct mistakes like these can seem like a lot of work. Few owners or managers have that kind of time in their already busy schedules. So what’s the solution?
Having a business management system in place that creates automatic processes and puts checks and balances on sales reps could be what’s needed. The right system gives owners and sales managers tools and reports to help them better coach reps and saves them precious time.
In the article, he discusses that there was no consequences if goals were not met. When it comes to setting goals, for example, it’s important to follow up. Having a system in place that provides leaders with reports on outcomes. They can see how many leads were issued to each rep, how many appointments each had, what their close rate is, and how many canceled jobs they may have. This is powerful information that holds the reps accountable. It allows managers to see what’s working and what’s not and lets them coach salespeople up or, possibly, replace them if required.
Also in his article, the author talks about how his salespeople who rely on cliched complaints:
A common complaint among salespeople is, “The leads aren’t good.” My willingness to believe this excuse cost our company a lot of time and opportunities. Some salespeople make things happen; others are more like order-takers, content to sit back and process the easiest leads rather than create and cultivate opportunities for themselves.
By implementing a process demanding the sales team to continually reach out and follow-up with prospects will mean that they’ll get better results. The best way to ensure they do this is to have a system with a closed-loop marketing requirement. They should have to put in a result for each attempt. If there’s no answer, they’re required to set a reminder to call again tomorrow and then the next day. In a recent case study, we have a customer that uses the Marketing Opportunities in our system to guarantee they follow up – “You see a client and give them a proposal but you don’t sell it, so you’re required to put down what happened and the system automatically creates a Marketing Opportunity that you’re going to, say, call them back in a week. Then it gives you a notification to call this person a week later.”
Sales people usually hate to learn to use a new system. They are set in their ways. But having processes for all your reps means they will sell more. You’ll have numbers to measure performance and to provide motivation and coaching. It’s a win-win for everyone involved but you’ll need to overcome their objections. Or let them know they’ll be replaced by someone who will make the effort.
In the long run, your home improvement business with thrive when you have an effective sales department.