Much like Olympic gymnasts start training from a very young age to master the art of balancing on a 4 inch-wide beam, learning to balance on the precarious beam that is sales freedom takes years of trial and error.
Take too much freedom away, and your sales team revolts.
Give too much freedom, and you’ll lose potential sales revenue.
As a sales manager, you don’t have the luxury of spending hours in training classes, learning how to walk the freedom line. Today, we’re going to show you how to identify team members who deserve freedom, and those who aren’t yet ready for it.
The New Hire
This one’s pretty easy to judge: Track every new hire’s activity level and make sure the new employee has sufficient daily activity to meet sales goals—until she proves herself. Only then should you give her a little freedom.
The Seasoned Salesperson
If you have a team member who’s been around the block and outperforms everyone else, don’t micromanage. You’ll risk alienating someone who’s hitting sales goals time and time again. In this case, freedom should be freely given.
For everyone else, follow this rule: The less you’re selling, the less freedom you get. But if you’ve never before tracked a salesperson’s activity and you start, your team will probably look at you as a micromanager.
Measuring a Salesperson’s Freedom Potential
The previous point brings us back to the importance of tracking activity. You should justify the need to track sales activity for every person on your team, because it gives you the insight you need to gauge sales objectives–before it’s too late.
Let’s put it another way: Tracking helps your salespeople perform better, and it helps the company increase revenue. That’s a win-win for everyone.
If you’re going to present a new activity-tracking plan to your team, present it in a positive light to further its acceptance:
- Track the prospects, not necessarily the salespeople. If you track where prospects are in the sales cycle, and who’s been contacted, you take the direct focus off of salespeople. That way, you can present a tracking report covering untouched prospects in a positive way, and help the salesperson see the untapped potential he should target.
- Encourage success. When a salesperson is underperforming, they’re likely discouraged, too. Instead of investing a lot of time in someone who doesn’t turn out sales, tracking their activity can help them see what they did in the past to be successful. Then, you can work out a plan together for meeting realistic and incremental sales goals. In this way, your team will see tracking as encouragement, instead of punishment or distrust.
Tracking your sales team from the get-go offers unique insight into who is performing and who isn’t — and who has earned freedom. You’ll avoid investing training, time and resources into zero-performing salespeople, and you can reward your top sellers with the freedom they deserve.