As an employee, it’s always nice to hear, “It’s okay. Just wait until tomorrow…”
But if you want to build a winning sales team as a sales manager, you need to build a sense of urgency.
You need your sales team to get excited, to crave a win today, and to move on leads quickly. And as their manager, you have to lead the charge. It’s your job to instill a sense of immediacy. You’re the one who emphasizes the importance of taking immediate action.
So how do you do it? It all starts with casting a vision. Then you help them get there with the right tools, fewer distractions, and accountability.
Here’s how to create a sense of urgency in your sales team that keeps them focused on meeting those goals ASAP.
Clear a Line of Sight
Set clear goals for your team. What are you trying to accomplish? Cast the vision and sell them on it.
Tell them, “Here’s where we need to be by the end of the quarter. If everyone does their part, we’ll get there. If we don’t get there it’s on me — but I’m not going to fail.”
Whittle Down the To-Do List
After you set the goal, look at what tasks help salespeople achieve it… and what don’t. Start eliminating the things that seem productive but aren’t — like research, filing emails, or anything that doesn’t result in an immediate sale. You can even tell them, “Hey, we all spend time (researching, filing emails, etc. ), but we’re not going to do it for 90 days. Instead, I’ve made arrangements for how we’re going to handle it.”
It may seem that the time spent doing these non-urgent tasks is minimal, but it adds up. And when your team takes some of the little things off their plate, they’re better able to focus on more productive work.
Get your sales team involved in figuring out how to achieve those goals too. Explain how activities lead to sales. Then ask for input:
- What tasks do they see as non-productive?
- What time-sucks keep them from making a sales?
- What “jobs” have nothing to do with meeting people and making a sale?
- What ideas do they have for getting stuff done in a different way?
People are probably harder on themselves than you would be on them. And the more involved they are in thinking of ideas, the more dedicated they’ll be to acting on them.
Look at the Pipeline
Also, look at each person’s pipeline. Salespeople should not have 50+ leads in their pipeline — they should have about seven. Look at each contact in their pipeline and ask the salesperson what the next step is. If the next step isn’t, “I need to call them,” “I need to get this from them,” or “I need to find out…,” move them out of the pipeline.
Only keep the leads you can act on now. The pipeline is not the place for delayed action. It’s the place for leads you can act on immediately.
As their manager, communicate regularly and consistently. If you can, have salespeople call or email you after every appointment or meeting. We call it an “after-action report.” If they know you’re in the loop, they’ll automatically be urgent.
Without accountability, people move at their own pace — which often isn’t as efficient as it could be. You’re not their babysitter or their auditor. But you are holding them accountable. This kind of communication is all about sharing, working together, and staying on the same page.
Should you pay them more or offer incentives for reaching goals?
Honestly, they don’t really help. Incentives won’t fix a lack of urgency.
Creating a winning sales team is all about establishing the right culture — a culture that feels a sense of urgency and gets things done!