Many sales teams experience cyclical declines in new orders. Familial obligations, customer availability, economic recessions to name a few can lead to business development challenges. Business leaders must invariably ask: How can I keep my sales team energized and motivated to keep selling, no matter what?
The most effective weapon for keeping a sales team fired up to close deals is simple: Planning.
Are sales leaders teaching the sales team the planning skills needed for success? Are sales leaders holding the sales team accountable for building and executing a solid sales plan ? Coaching sales leaders to do this and sharing the following instructions will help sales teams continue to succeed during challenging declines. Obviously, some of salespeople will be better at this than others, but even the best need some coaching to keep them focused and fired up.
What Sales Leadership Can Do
Most salespeople could benefit from enhanced planning capabilities. They may need help to literally plan their day. A calendar can be a salesperson’s best friend. If used properly, it will help assure prime selling hours are protected and other activities are scheduled outside of that time. However, before salespeople can plan, they need to prioritize. Why? It’s easy to get into a slump when disorganized and unsure of priorities.
Here’s what we recommend: Once salespeople have prioritized their activities, help them plan daily, weekly, monthly, and annual selling activities and put them on their calendar along with other recurring meetings. This prioritization should also include time for planning.
Planning may seem like busywork, but it’s time well spent. Remember the daily activities of salespeople have a direct impact on revenue! Here are effective tips to help salespeople plan so they feel good – and stay motivated to sell.
How to Help Salespeople Create Effective Plans
Salespeople should select a time first thing in the morning or at the end of each day to plan for the following day. The day should never begin with checking email. Daily planning should take about 15 minutes. Before checking email and voicemail (and before everyone else’s priorities get in the way) they should make any necessary adjustments to their daily plan which should include a block of time for prospecting, moving deals forward, and any needed follow-up. All plans should protect their prime selling hours and ensure that other work is scheduled outside of that. Be sure they have daily planning time on their calendar.
Remote workers should be encouraged to schedule breaks to maintain high energy and increased productivity. Many are working longer hours than ever before. Be empathetic to the struggles of the team and help them build a schedule that makes sense and includes exercise and breaks. The goal is success. To have success, they have to stay motivated. Working long hours without breaks is not good for anyone. It reduces productivity and can cause crabbiness. No one wants to talk to a cranky salesperson.
Encourage salespeople to add a 30-minute appointment on their calendar each week for planning. During this time, they should examine their upcoming week. Put scheduled meetings on their calendar, and include time to prepare for sales calls, time to do follow up on sales calls, and networking. They need to include several blocks of time a week for prospecting (preferably they should choose a time of day when they’re at their best). Two days before each sales call, salespeople should add a 30-minute block to write out their plan for the meeting. Make sure they have learning time on their calendar as well.
Salespeople will need one hour a month for monthly planning. We suggest doing this 10 days before the end of the current month and they should take a look at the big picture so their weeks run smoothly. Salespeople should place any planned meetings or events on their calendar for the month ahead. If they have a sales presentation or virtual meeting coming up, be sure they block off plenty of preparation time to prevent having to pull an all-nighter. Last-minute rush jobs are never our best work.
Every October or November, salespeople should plan for the year. They should allow several hours to set goals and make a plan. They can schedule the events, programs, promotions, and other activities they’ll need to meet goals, as well as the planning time needed. I recommend blocking time 12 weeks in advance of a show or event to do the planning.
It will take time to work with each salesperson. Remember that plans will likely shift as one pivots to find market opportunities. As a leader, make sure enough time is given to plan and decompress. Use your own calendar to plan and schedule so that you have time to do the things you need to and get some time for yourself. If you’re tired and irritable, please don’t coach your salespeople on planning! You need to be at your best when engaging in any kind of coaching.
Keep your team fired up so they don’t slump. Try these ideas to fire up your sales team and let us know how they work. Contact Falcon Project Consultants if you would like more information on how you can increase your businesses’ profits.