How to Help Reps Maximize Their Strengths
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Sales performance is something that can be encouraged, trained, and built upon. Great salespeople are not just born out of thin air. What makes a salesperson flourish can be supported by all the right tools and training. But nurturing the personal traits that make an individual salesperson successful can not only help the sales rep to succeed, but it can also lift up the achievements of an entire sales organization.
Enablement leaders are positioned to work together with sales managers to recognize the strengths of their reps and optimize them to better achieve consistent results. A recent Gallup study found that strength-based development led to a 19% increase in sales and up to a 29% increase in profits. Engaged employees who feel like their strengths in the workplace are recognized and encouraged are more likely to apply those strengths to improve their overall performance and increase productivity.
Below, learn key ways enablement can help sales managers and their reps promote their strengths, rally behind them, and use a personal SWOT analysis as an essential launchpad to better optimize performance.
Building Healthy Competition
Even with a focus on optimizing individual strengths, the success of top-performing reps has an impact on the overall team’s success. Sales reps have to keep up with changes in the market, buyer demands, and product innovations.
Competition can be a healthy way to engage reps in boosting morale and ultimately driving better revenue outcomes. This could be done by establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) that play to the strengths of a certain team. With a list of competencies ready to be put into action, reps can then put those to the test against critical metrics, including win rates, quota attainment, sales cycle lengths, or pipeline coverage.
Enablement can collaborate with sales managers to organize a specific workshop that explores a team assessment for strengths and then build a leaderboard or dashboard that is transparent, trustworthy, and easy to manage.
Enablement can help ensure that these metrics are something that can be communicated frequently and publicly among the team so that sales activity can be recorded and healthy competition among reps can become a reality.
Catering to Sources of Motivation
Although it may be tempting to think that all that matters out in the field is attaining quota, more often than not there are underlying motivators that can make a massive difference in driving improved performance. Things like recognition, being proud of individual accomplishments, or becoming subject matter experts on new product material are all ways in which sales reps may seek to find even more fulfillment beyond the numbers. Enablement can help reps seek out ways to stay in step with other team members, while also encouraging personal growth and productivity.
“You need to think about, especially as a sales leader, but even importantly as an enablement leader, how do I remove obstacles?” said Jeff Depa, chief revenue officer at Gainsight. “How do I help my team reframe the problem to potentially see it in a new way, ultimately, that will allow them to create more value for their customers? How do we understand the motivations of the team?”
It’s helpful to remember that the definition of personal success may differ between peers. Setting goals that are equal parts achievable and ambitious is essential to improving sales performance — but it’s important to distinguish between goal-setting and unrealistic ambitions. Goals are made to be specific, written down, and most importantly, measurable. Unrealistic goals seem off-the-bat vague, untraceable, and ineffective when put against a timeline.
“My real objective is to help to maintain this balance between a data-driven approach that could be constraining sometimes with the very chaotic trait of the improvisation and freedom we can find in the selling process,” said Numa Sales, sales enablement manager at Hedera Dx.
One way enablement can help streamline that kind of growth is by working with reps to develop a “personal development plan” — a living document that defines what skills they want to improve within a specific timeframe.
Start by focusing on one or two specific skills each month, and document the steps the rep is taking to develop those skills — that way the performance can be accurately measured to see what has been improved over time.
Establish More Meaningful Benchmarks
The field of sales offers opportunities for meaningful professional growth that encourages traits such as passion, accountability, curiosity, and a hunger to thrive. With such rapid development opportunities, enablement leaders can help reps understand that a personalized plan can assist in helping them take ownership of their performance to accelerate results.
Instead of focusing solely on quarterly quotas and looking at them from a purely quantitative perspective, think of the “why” behind the number. These numbers all tell a story to the specific seller that helps guide enablement in what needs to be done to help close gaps or improve upon results. Enablement can tap into the specific strengths each rep brings to the table to better understand what behaviors are sticking that can be adjusted to be better improve sales training, coaching, and the resources necessary for a rep to feel confident when speaking with prospective buyers.
For example, a rep who feels comfortable in the prospective phase of a customer conversation may be able to make dozens of calls in that first phase with ease. One of their strengths is confidence and interpersonal communication skills. However, the rep may struggle with time management further on in the customer relationship and lose valuable time in converting those leads into sales. Enablement can help in identifying the appropriate benchmarks based on the strengths and weaknesses of the reps with the help of their sales managers and dig into the context as to why there may be inconsistencies throughout a rep’s week or quarter.
“I want us to be comfortable with the idea of navigating in the notion of information, insights, comments, catching news sometimes with fake data, and to be able to catch the ones that will lead to somewhere interesting for us and our customers,” said Sales.
Recognizing, celebrating, and challenging reps to optimize their strengths and put them into practice will help to create a sustainable and healthy sales organization.
“You have to understand the strengths of the people within your organization and put them in positions to be successful,” said Depa.
As a first step, enablement can help sales managers deploy a personalized SWOT analysis that details a rep’s overall strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to their overall job performance. The strengths and weaknesses can provide the rep a chance to reflect on the internal factors that enhance or hinder their ability to perform their best, while opportunities and threats are more external-facing factors that affect their day-to-day roles like market shifts, competitors, or processes within the sales organization that hinder their success.
To get started, download our personal SWOT analysis template to help reps map out their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that can serve as a jumping-off point for new insights, deeper discussions, and helpful discoveries in achieving consistent rep performance.