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The Basics of Managing A Top-Tier Sales Team

Isabella McKinnon
Aug 16, 2019
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A key to successful sales management is managing for success and not to just stay busy. Below we will lay out some helpful strategies to assist in the management of a sales team, which will turn chaos into effective planning and profits. In order to establish these strategies, it is important to take a realistic look at your current management process. How is your sales team currently handling their responsibilities? Are you seeing positive results from your current strategies? If not, your management team could probably benefit from a change in strategy.

Strategy 1: Account for Daily Activities

A good starting point is to first look at the day to day activity goals and results. Then, take an honest stock of how these two feed into your long term goals. You should confront your problems head-on. Learn the team’s weaknesses, and be open to fixing these issues with hast. Some weaknesses may lie in random unproductive periods. It can be easy for employees to get bored with their tasks, straying away from their responsibilities. However, if you ensure they are held accountable for reasonable daily goals, then you can minimize coasting from sales representatives. While you don’t need to account for every minute of the sales team, you should base activity goals on ensuring long term goal success for the team. Determine patterns and habits linked with sales successes and block out these activities into the team’s daily schedule.

Strategy 2: Range Sales Goals

Many sales teams are rewarded for narrow-ranged results, which can be extremely frustrating for sales employees. A better way to create a system of rewards is based on a wider range of performances. For instance, setting a range of numerical goals with percentage commission escalators (10% for the first $250K and 20% for $250K-$500K…etc.) instead of a single numerical goal with a set bonus ($25K bonus at $250K ) will broaden the sales team’s incentives. This keeps people motivated when the escalators kick in, instead of shooting to hit a bonus and then coasting if the next bonus is deemed out of reach by the rep.

Strategy 3: Set Goals with Specific Time frames

Don’t make the mistake of setting very far-off, long-term goals. While it is important to keep a long-term plan in mind, you should not be setting these types of goals. People are motivated by a near term reward far more than by a long term reward. Your goals should have a timestamp on them to ensure that they can be accomplished within a reasonable time frame. Short-term sales goals keep your team engaged and rewarded while letting you know if you are on track as a team.

Strategy 4: Allocate Percentages to Individuals

By allocating specific percentages to individual sales members, each person on the team has a real goal in mind. Each person will have a target percentage of national sales that he/she should contribute. This approach allows salespeople to compete against one another, instead of focusing strictly on beating the competition. Your company will ideally have multiple emerging sales leaders in the industry. This can help to foster a feeling of contribution and teamwork as well.

Strategy 5: Smaller Goals

Huh? Yep, you heard me correctly. Setting smaller goals allows a sales team to build confidence in themselves along the way with small victories. This “slow but steady” mentality helps sales teams chug along. These victories let salespeople receive rewards for their success and stimulate their motivation to continue making new sales. Motivation is often disregarded beyond lip service when goal setting and creating a culture amongst sales teams. However, it is extremely important, as it essentially dictates the morale of the team. Without victories, teams will feel swamped and unproductive, which will launch them into a slump – a slump marked by lack of sales.

Strategy 6: Reward Sales Team

I keep mentioning that sales teams will receive “rewards” for their hard work. But, how specifically will sales teams be rewarded for reaching their goals? Companies should get into the minds of their sales reps to really understand what motivates them. Small incentives may be in the form of cash bonuses for completing desired tasks or in the form of fun activities your company can offer them. You may be thinking to yourself, “My company doesn’t have the funds for these additional rewards.” This is a good opportunity to think outside the box. Envision something different than just cash. Sales teams do not only operate solely on monetary rewards. Give them extra vacation time, work from home privileges or promotions. People need recognition and reward to continue performing at max capacity.  

What’s Next?

By following these six strategies, your sales team will surely see increases in sales! It is essential from a management standpoint to really understand different types of goals when setting them. Therefore, I believe we should dive into the various kinds of sales goals to reach peak sales success.

1. Waterfall goals: A gradual progression of tasks that slowly but surely sets your sales team on the right track. It includes incremental sales jumps so that the sales team’s morale stays high. Do not inundate your team by doubling their tasks, give them more responsibility over a period of time.

  • Example: you want your sales team to transition from making 200 to 400 calls a week.
  • YES: over the period of a month give them an additional 50 calls a week to eventually reach 400 calls.
  • NO: do not tell them that they will immediately need to start making 400 calls a week instead of 200. This doubling of calls all at once will not do anything good for your company. Reps will lose morale because they cannot reach that goal, and overall calls will probably go down overall.

2. Sequence goals: Give sales teams a list of priorities when reaching goals. You need to prioritize goals that you want your sales team to reach. Unfortunately, sometimes you cannot have it all; therefore, you need to determine which goals take priority within your company. Additionally, even if your sales team doesn’t meet every goal set for them, they will meet the most important ones.

3. Activity goals: Some reps perform better when you assign them tasks rather than numerical quotas. This specifically breaks down what activities are necessary for them to reach these goals. This can be particularly helpful for new sales reps, so they know just what activities are necessary to reach certain amounts of money.

4. Mentor goals: If reps are struggling, you should look into finding them a sales mentor, who is doing wonderful things for your company. That way, the rep can mimic the other salesperson, finding new levels of motivation because this person is successfully reaching their sales goals. The mentor can be there to advise them on certain strategies, acting as an intermediary between the rep and higher management. This approach ensures that new reps will receive the help they need without the fear of getting in trouble with upper management.

Looking for Help Elsewhere

An additional way to better manage your sales team is by integrating technology into your company’s sales strategies. This technology breaks down concrete goals your team is accomplishing and what areas need more work. For example, our new release of Magazine Manager generates a report of accomplished sales goals. The program’s “opportunity dashboard” provides the necessary data and graphs to identify any areas of expansion in your sales department.


Use all your resources to expand your sales department. Don’t be narrow sided with your sales vision. Anything and everything should be possible for your company. Finally, remember that sales goals do not get accomplished if sales reps are unhappy. Be a company that inspires its sales team to reach new heights!

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