Energize Your Sales in 2016
"Remember that optimistic, slightly crazy, throw a dart at the wall forecast? We beat it."
Three proven methods for building and maintaining an efficient, productive team
by John Griscavage

A new year is just beginning, and while this is a great time to motivate your sales team to take on 2016 at full speed, it can also be overwhelming with an updated list of goals. In my 15 years of sales experience in the post-acute care industry, I have learned that in order to keep ahead of the competition, sales teams need a hands-on approach from managers, motivating compensation plans and an environment where creativity and encouragement are wildly abundant.

This is an ideal time to implement creative approaches and incentives. Here are three proven tips for developing an efficient and productive HME sales team.

Tip 1: Take a hands-on approach.

When training sales reps, managers should take an active role to set them up for quick success. Walk your team through critical action steps. Show them how to set up a territory and identify the accounts they will serve. Help them establish a daily schedule, and share how to manage and prioritize their time for best results. Conduct in-office role-play training early on, and continue at regular intervals so you can provide a trusting environment for constructive feedback.

Develop each rep’s face-to-face skills with referral sources by working in the field with your rep and attending sales presentations and client meetings. This not only provides improved customer service and experience, but also the time spent in the car going to the next call is the perfect time to discuss what went right and where there are opportunities to improve. There is always another opportunity and conversation to have, and each one is a chance to improve and make the sale.

Tip 2: Create compensation plans that motivate your team.

Intricate and confusing commission plans do not work. Your sales reps should not be crunching numbers to figure out the amounts of their next paychecks. The incentive plan should be simple and aligned with company goals. If driving new orders is your key objective, then reward sales reps based on new orders and not by keeping people on service, which should be the responsibility of your service personnel.

Be careful not to make qualifying for a commission difficult. It is frustrating for sales reps if they do not get paid until mountains of paperwork are turned in. Be aware that any commission plan can also have adverse incentives. For example, if you incentivize reps to get new orders, chances are they will not think about whether a patient is costly to service or whether they are paying their bills. Lastly, I prefer to set dollar amounts for new HME orders and use kickers or accelerators for sales reps who achieve exceptional results.

Tip 3: Create a teamwork environment.

Consider team quarterly and annual monetary bonuses that include service personnel. This way, the service team is incentivized to deliver great customer service that goes above and beyond expectations, helping with new orders and new patients. Sales reps will have an easier time selling when the level of service is at such a high standard. Also, layer on non-monetary recognition such as awards or prestigious clubs that high performers can strive to join.

Be a manager who listens and is there for your team. Help them build accounts, confidence and, of course, sales. Encourage your reps to share ideas on how to beat the competition and maintain an atmosphere that gives your team an outlet to be creative. By doing this, chances are you will see far better results in 2016.

In the next issue, I will focus on key performance indicators and the types of metrics to watch as you steer your sales team to exponential sales growth. I will wrap up by discussing how a CRM can drastically reduce the amount of time spent creating reports and monitoring the success of your team.

I encourage you to contribute to the conversation either via online through PlayMaker’s social media channels (Twitter and Facebook) or on our blog. We want to hear about your best practices and lessons learned.

This article is the third in a five-part series. Each segment will focus on best business practices and relevant HME topics. Read other articles in this series here.