Now that you have re-thought your approach to hiring your sales team, the rest is easy, isn’t it? Your new sales person will walk through the door, perform and the sales will tumble in. After all, they’re driven, high-performing self-starters… They’re here to manage sales, so these talented sales people will manage themselves, right?

Wrong!

We are frequently told about the most common mistakes a Growth Tech Founder or CEO makes when building their sales team, and right at the top of that list is underestimating the management burden that comes with it. It doesn’t matter whether you have 1 salesperson or 100 of them: they not only need to be managed, they need to be driven.

In ways this is no different from any other colleague; sales people are still people after all. But there are discrete nuances, subtleties and judgement required to get the best from the complex skill set and personalities that make up a proper entrepreneurial sales engine. We’ll leave the full complexity of that for another post.

How we manage talent

Let’s start with the basics and our Calibrate-Regulate-Collaborate starter model that should get the management of your salespeople off on the right foot:

  • Calibrate
    • It is astonishing how often Growth Tech businesses (& their sales people) operate without clear financial objectives. Sales is about doing a number by a date. It doesn’t matter how small you are, how early stage or how low the number might be, salespeople without a target are not sales people, so don’t expect them to be. Give them explicit, time bound targets – always.
  • Regulate
    • The next things you need in sales management are Discipline & Structure. The wonderful, complex traits that make for a brilliant entrepreneurial sales performer require more management, not less. This isn’t sexy – reports, agendas and minutes rarely are. And it is most definitely not a chat over pizza & beer. It’s a formal check on your clear and time bound targets – and what your market is telling you. This is the oxygen of your business.
  • Collaborate
    • Don’t mistake this formal discipline as an excuse to opt out of constant engagement with your sales team. Unlike any other colleague, and whether you like it or not, your salespeople are involved in a truly collaborative relationship with your business. They are your eyes and ears in the marketplace. They are your intermediary. Your representative. Your customer’s representative in your business. Ensure that you are constantly tuned in & reacting to the signals your customers are sending you – good and bad.

If all of this sounds a bit hard – and costly – that’s because it is. Hiring the right sales people is not even half the battle. Constantly managing and driving them to high levels of performance is the tricky bit.

Don’t make the mistake of underestimating the task – or, worse, ignoring it altogether. If you do – and you don’t start seeing results – perhaps start by looking in the mirror.

Looking for help with your sales recruitment, management or execution? Have any burning questions about something you’ve read in this article? Feel free to get in touch! 

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