Successful sales reps work across diverse industries, pursue different performance metrics, and have various selling styles. However, there are certain things they all share. One common denominator is training. Continuous, relevant education that keeps them at the top of their game, and up-to-date on the latest trends in their market is critical to success.
Of course, as a sales manager you want to give your team the tools for success — which often includes a guided training or "up-skilling" program. But what if you could turn your sales reps into their own teachers? What if each individual sales rep could regularly tap into the collective knowledge of the entire team?
When your reps are oriented toward collaboration and continual self-improvement, then your entire team's performance will enjoy a significant boost.
How to Make It Happen
It may not take a huge amount of investment to transform your reps into self-educating superstars. Once you establish a consistent framework in which your team members can learn from one another, they'll be able to "fill in the blanks."
Here's one idea: Develop a worksheet that your sales team has to complete on a quarterly basis. Empower them to proactively manage it — you don't want to be standing over their shoulder, urging them to fill it out. Assign a different rep to take the lead each quarter.
Any insights gleaned from this exercise can be distilled into actionable lessons. Then, they can be distributed throughout the team (either in one-on-one feedback sessions, during team meetings, or both).
Sample Sales Success Worksheet
The worksheet you develop may include questions such as these:
Of course, you may need to curate the feedback gathered from this exercise in order to make it as beneficial to the team as possible. Still, the objective is to promote critical thinking and collaboration. You want your reps to think about what is and what is not working — and to feel comfortable enough to share their insights with you, and with one another.
Why Is This Important?
It's been said that "no man is an island." The same could be said of sales reps. Not only does an individual's performance affect the bottom line of the entire team (and the company). But the team as a whole, when managed properly, can contribute to improvement for each individual.
Take this scenario as an example: A sales rep at Company X discovers that he can convert 10 percent more leads into customers by focusing on product quality rather than pricing. As his manager, you definitely wouldn't want him to keep that knowledge to himself. Instead, you would want your other sales reps to follow suit, and (hopefully) improve their performance as well.
With a consistent process in place to share ideas and insights (i.e., to transform your reps into their own teachers), it would be that much easier to disseminate the knowledge of a single sales rep throughout your team — and your entire department.
Avoid the "Silo Mentality"
Many sales organizations are victims of the "silo mentality" — departments are in fierce competition with one another, and sales reps are more concerned about individual accolades than team success. You want to avoid that mindset at all costs. By empowering your reps to teach themselves and each other, you'll almost certainly see a higher ROI from your efforts. And what more could you ask for?
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