Managing Your Online Sales Team
So, what makes a good sales team manager? Here are four ideas for your consideration.
Often, sales teams are compared with sports teams, complete with the requisite sports jargon and metaphors. It’s not unusual to hear sports-related words like teamwork, scoring big, beating the competition, being bandied about. Well, every sports team has a manager, and in the world of business, you have your sales team leader, which fills the same role.
So, what makes a good sales team manager? Here are four ideas for your consideration, slanted more towards online sales teams, though most of the principles covered are relevant to sales teams of all types.
Let your team learn by providing their own solutions and ideas; you should provide the guidance
Innovations, Not Expectations Or Solutions "Be a Better Coach: Share Ideas & Lead" tells us that a leader who offers solutions or a list of expectations to be fulfilled could end up stifling ideas and contributions from the team members. At first glance, you’d think that offering solutions is helpful, but by the leader doing this, the team can’t get used to thinking and working things out for themselves. By encouraging ideas, a good leader opens up a healthy dialogue and gets the brainstorming on its way.
Of course, this also assumes that leaders won’t offer their ideas with the expectation that everyone will fall in line and go along with it. A good leader wants a collection of ideas, not just a rubber-stamp validation of his or her idea.
The disadvantage of an online sales team is that they are usually scattered all over Creation. This is why keeping multiple communication lines open is absolutely essential. There’s certainly no lack of tools out there: in addition to email and voice communication over phones, there’s utilities such as Skype, or Google Chat and Video. More on this later.
Maybe it means a video conference held on a regular basis, like perhaps the first thing Tuesday morning (who wants a video chat first thing on Monday, right?). The conference could cover not only work-related subjects, but also devote some time to basic friendly chit-chat, which helps improve team cohesion.
Get Your Hands On Collaboration Software
One way to facilitate the above-mentioned idea of better communication is by investing in some decent collaboration software. Some cost money; others are free, though the latter’s functionality is somewhat limited. Collaboration software makes it easy to conduct web conferencing, online meetings, file sharing, and project management, among other things.
With such a tool at the disposal of the team leader, it makes the whole process of managing the team that much easier, so that the manager can spend more time polishing up on the other aspects of being a team leader, like this rather important one:
Treat Your Team Like People, Not Resources
Finally, a good team manager treats his or her subordinates as people, not as cogs in a machine. That means a good leader spends some time getting to know the team members, making some effort to be sociable.
There’s actually a work-related benefit to doing this. When you get to know the individual team members, you start getting an idea of each person’s strengths and weaknesses. With that kind of information on hand, the smart manager can assign work and projects to team members based on their merits. That way, the right person’s in the right job!
There are more bits of advice out there for the manager who wants to search for them. On a related note, here’s a piece called "Getting More Sales Through Teamwork" that has some decent ideas.
John Terra has been a freelance writer since 1985. He writes about Internet culture, e-commerce, and online marketing.
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