We’ve been focusing on the salespeople, but now it’s time to turn our gaze to the sales managers.
If your sales team is failing to prospect or has bad prospecting habits, maybe it’s time to look in the mirror before starting to point fingers. How are your prospecting habits? I don’t mean personally making cold calls but are you consistently coaching and supporting your salespeople in their prospecting efforts. If you want to create a prospecting culture, it must start at the top. You must make it a priority.
Here are ways you can help your team prospect more effectively and create a prospecting culture:
Respect Dedicated Prospecting Time
Ensure each person on your sales team has a consistent amount of time blocked and dedicated to prospect. Dedicated for prospecting only. Respect this time. (See related blog: #1 Reason Sales People Fail: They Fail To Prospect)
Have A Plan
Know who your salespeople are targeting, the messaging and objective, and emphasize the importance of preparation. Implement a prospect planning worksheet for each call and regularly review it to assist with messaging or improve value statements. This preparation should be done before, not during, prospecting time. If a prospecting touch plan is utilized, review the various channels and messaging to ensure alignment and provide assistance and encouragement. Ensure salespeople are prepared so they make the most of their time and their prospect’s time.
Stop managing the drama and excuses of weak prospecting activity by managing agreements. When agreements are in place and discussed/reviewed regularly, you'll be able to measure prospecting activity, discuss outcomes or difficulties and provide the necessary coaching. Most importantly, you create personal accountability when you make prospecting a priority – for yourself and the salesperson. (See related blog: You Cannot Manage People, Better To Manage Agreements)
Encourage A Growth Mindset
Do you encourage each of your salespeople to share their prospecting successes? Remember:
Recognized Behavior Gets Repeated. Unrecognized Behavior Goes Away.
By recognizing successes and what exactly led to the win, you provide vicarious reinforcement and on-the-spot coaching. Both help to build highly productive teams. Have you created a learning environment by regularly role-practicing with your team to help overcome objections and build confidence and skill? It's just as important to privately discuss prospecting failures and what adjustments are needed. Over time, self-coaching develops, and a failure will be seen as an opportunity to improve.
Consistency Is Key
Be consistent with expectations, 1-on-1s, role-practice, and coaching each member of your team, and provide the training needed to set them up for success. According to recent studies,
The ROI for sales training stands at 353%. Roughly speaking, for every dollar a company spends on training, it receives about $4.53 back.
Make it a priority, and growth will follow.
For sales managers struggling to achieve these action steps before the pandemic, it is more difficult now with a remote or hybrid workforce. Butler Street training has helped managers develop the skills and processes to bring out the best in their sales teams, including WFH managers managing remote teams. If you’d like to learn more about our Prospecting Workshop, High Impact Sales Management Training, or Leadership Effectiveness, contact us to discuss the best option for you.