5 Tips to Foster Independence in Your Sales Force


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Sales management is meant to provide direction, tools, and resources to help sellers succeed in their role, but there’s such a thing as too much support. Successful sales forces have both a high level of support from sales management and sales reps with a high level of independence.

If your sales reps are in constant need of support from sales management, your sales force may be suffering from a culture of dependency on sales management. If you are seeing signs of dependency among your sellers, consider the following five tips to foster more independence within your sales force.

1) Delay Responding
Don’t respond to every email or phone call from your reps immediately. Give them time to think through a problem on their own. Experienced sales managers typically wait an hour before responding to non-urgent requests. It’s amazing how many problems get resolved in the hour it takes to respond.

2) Ask for Solutions
Resist the desire to take shortcuts by immediately solving seller issues. When sellers come to you with a problem, ask them what they’ve already tried, and what else they are considering. If they don’t have a plan, ask them to come back with a few possible solutions.

3) Set Expectations for Decision-Making
Sellers may not make decisions because they don’t want to step on management’s toes. Set expectations that define what areas of decision-making reps are responsible for, so they have confidence in their level of decision-making authority.

4) Establish a Process
Establish a repeatable management process including regularly scheduled interactions and adhere to it, so that sellers know the parameters in which they operate and don’t have to constantly look to sales management for next steps.

5) Make Coaching a Priority
Don’t skip one-on-one coaching sessions with sellers. Set the expectation that this time will be used to discuss important issues, and structure the conversation in each meeting to ensure all major topics are addressed. If sellers know they have a meeting scheduled with you in the near future, they will save many of their questions and discussion points for the meeting.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Michelle Vazzana
Michelle Vazzana is a partner at Vantage Point Performance and co-author of Cracking the Sales Management Code. Vazzana has more than 28 years of successful sales and management experience in the major account environment. For more information, visit www.vantagepointperformance.com.


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