It’s widely accepted that if you are in sales, you will have a quota. Achieve your quota, good job. Miss your quota, bad job. Miss your quota by a lot or miss it multiple times: no job. This creates stress for individual sellers and the sales organization as a whole.
While it is the sales team’s job to bring in business, simply cranking up the heat to get the numbers you want can backfire. Too much stress in any professional situation will mask talent and lead to poor decision-making.
Stress does help us get the job done, but only to a point. Too little stress and you’re in the weak performance zone; too much anxiety, and performance is impaired. In the middle, an optimal level of stress produces what we’d call peak performance. The technical term for that zone is eustress, which is exactly where leaders should set the pressure to create optimal results.
Leaders can maximize performance by engaging with sellers in these three areas:
— FOCUS ON CREATING AN EXCEPTIONAL EXPERIENCE: The sales experience is a vital differentiator when customers evaluate their options.
— FOCUS ON THE SALES PROCESS: If you want to create a process that will help your sellers sell, match it to how buyers buy. In each phase of the sales process, there are a few key actions that influence whether an opportunity will progress to the next stage.
— FOCUS ON COACHING: Leaders can provide good models of what to do, followed by practice, clear feedback on specific skill improvements and follow-up to incorporate feedback into performance — not just once, but over and over again as a skill set is honed to proficiency and then mastered.
As a leader, you have the greatest influence on the stress levels of your team. Pressure may create diamonds out of coal, but you are working with people