3 Winning Factors for a Grand Final-worthy Sales Team

About the Author: Ashley Thomson
Ashley Thomson

As the 2015 AFL season comes to an end, the two spots in the Grand Final will be hotly contested (sadly not by the Mighty Tiges this year *sniff*). But what about those teams that haven’t achieved the best results this year?

How many times on a cold, windy Melbourne Saturday afternoon have you watched your footy team being demolished and thought to yourself “I could do a better job than the guy managing this bunch of overpaid thugs!”

But would it really be that easy to do?

Is there a simple, methodical way to get your team kicking goals and winning flags, or is it all built on intuition, common sense and a little bit of luck?

Unfortunately, we haven’t answered that particular question yet (or we’d probably be managing an AFL team), but what we do know through years of experience coaching Melbourne businesses that managing a high performing sales team does revolve around more concrete methods that can be the difference between getting the spoon or drinking from the big cup of glory.

What’s even better, is the simplicity of the key to effectiveness.

So what are these methods that we speak of that can help you manage a highly functioning sales team?

We know three key factors to help get the most out of your sales ‘players’.

The factors are: 1) incentives, 2) a sales budget and 3) sales commissions.

Rather than just implementing these methods like lone forwards, we’ve got a few rules that go with them.

We need to identify what behaviours we want from our staff, and link these behaviours to our business goals by offering rewards.

Often, by acknowledging that salespeople need their individuality without sacrificing the team, we can find the right link between behaviour and performance.

Of course, some of your players will look for glory through commissions while others will be content with a salary. It’s important to know what type of players your team has and recognise it through the way they are paid.

Irrespective of how your sales people work best, we run with a golden rule of 3; that is the income a salesperson should generate for the business should be three times their salary. If your sales person is paid $80,000, they should be generating $240,000 in revenue for the business. 1 for them = 3 for the team. After all, business is a team game.

Commission, in itself, is an important way to keep your team running on a full tank of gas.

Commissions are done best when they are activated after a hurdle is achieved, and separate hurdles could have different margins of commission for the representative. For example, 10 sales means a 5% commission, while 30 means 20%.

Following on from commissions, having incentives are another method not too dissimilar that can motivate your team to be first draft picks.

In contrast to commissions, incentives generally revolve around short-term prizes (instead of cash) that are set on top of commissions. This might mean rewarding your star players with events, a holiday or, staying on theme, some footy tickets.

How do we make sure our players keep their eyes on the goals?

Sales budgets act as a guiding force to help your players ‘keep their heads over the ball’.

Sales budgets need to include a definite time period (forgetting seasonality in your budget is akin to forgetting round 1). Further, and probably most importantly, your sales budgets need to have a minimum sales level. That way, your team has a solid understanding of what’s expected of them.

What do you think? What similarities have you found between coaching sports teams and managing your sales team?

Image source: By Sascha Wenninger (Own work) [CC 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/)], via Flikr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sufw/5917585651/in/faves-135789094@N06/