I have worked with and as part of many B2B sales teams over the last 15+ years. I find one thing that has varied greatly over that time is how sales managers or company leaders interact with their sales rep.
This is where communications comes into play. An effective communications plan for the B2B sales team will keep the sales reps and sales managers in the same loop. Implementing one into your organization isn’t hard, just try to keep the following points as a general guideline. While I don’t think there is always a one size that would fit all, I do think there are a number of specific components to a successful plan.
Formalized Individual Meeting
This meeting would occur in fairly regular intervals. In my experience, the best time frame would be once or twice a month. I suggest that the agenda be fairly consistent. My suggested agenda would include: review the sales reps goals, funnel, follow-up items from the last meeting, as well as frequently reviewing personal development goals.
I would suggest this occurring once or twice a month. Getting different team members to lead sections rather than just the sales leader is the best format for these sessions. Every member of the sales teams has great information they can share about their experience with customers. Frequently I would invite people from other company functional areas to share their experience and to share in the customer feedback. These team meetings also provide excellent education opportunities.
Management by Walking Around
I find that most managers do this either too frequently or not frequently enough. Heading out to the sales area and talking about what is going during or towards the end of the day is a good practice to determine the challenges and successes of the day that they can share.
Sales is an activity that goes on in real time. There are many techniques and nuances that are best seen in action. I would recommend regular joint calls with your sales team. The sales leader should not lead the meeting but use it as an opportunity to learn and help with development. The same process can be done with inside sales reps as well by listening to calls and setting up some time to review after.
Don’t Forget About Remote Reps
Remote reps can still be interacted into the sales communication process by using telephone calls, conference calls, webinars, and tools like Skype. The sales leader should also make an effort to visit the sales rep territory and spend some face to face time. Switch it up and bring the rep into head office a few times a year to spend time with the other team members.
Make Sure the Reps Have Input
Too often sales reps are spoken too, rather than being engaged. It is key to give the sales reps an opportunity to participate, lead, and have any opportunity to make sure their thoughts are known.
One of the most challenging jobs in any company is being a salesperson and that challenge is even stronger if you are a sales leader. Having a well-defined communication plan will allow you to make your team better and that should lead to more sales.
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