Choose the Right Manager for Sales Team Success
If you are serious about setting up your solution selling team to succeed, make sure you select the right sales manager to lead them. Though the sales manager in the cartoon above may not seem to be actively involved in the same game as his sales team, he may be doing just what is needed for them to reach their sales goals and perform at their maximum potential.
Here is what we have learned in our twenty-plus years of business sales training and consulting with high growth clients who want to create high performing solution selling teams—it takes a sales team leader who knows how to inspire, coach and manage…not just sell.
The big mistake many companies make is that they assume their top salesperson would be a talented sales leader or manager. Wrong! The solution selling skills that make for exceptional selling are not necessarily the sales leadership skills needed for exceptional management. Better to keep your top sales talent doing what they do best and look elsewhere for the sales leadership attributes that we know make effective sales managers.You need someone with excellent communication skills (both giving and receiving) who can manage diverse teams, manage change, manage priorities, manage meetings and time, and, most importantly, manage sales performance. Effective sales managers know how to get things done through their people. Whereas high performing sales reps need dedicated customers to reach their sales goals, high performing managers rely on dedicated sales and service teams to work on the right priorities to achieve clearly stated revenue, margin, portfolio-mix, sales cycle and account goals.
Sales Coaching: The best sales managers know how to coach their sales reps toward ever more effective consultative selling skills. Research from Oracle presented at the San Francisco Sales & Marketing 2.0 Conference in 2012 noted that almost 9 out of 10 sales reps want more coaching from their sales managers. Sales reps want to do better but they need to know how to do better and need encouragement to practice improved sales techniques. Sales managers should spend a good part of their time on sales calls and debriefs with their team. This is the best way to embed new sales skills and improve sales performance.
Learn more about sales performance coaching
Hold Sales Reps Accountable: The best sales managers know, too, that under-performing sales team members drag down the entire team. High performers lose motivation and disengage when poor performance has no consequences. It is the sales manager’s responsibility to try to help the sub-standard performer. But if there is a lack of ability or lack of serious effort to improve, the sales manager should hang on no longer.
Meet Regularly and Often: Know your sales team and what motivates each and every individual member. Only then can you tailor your reward and recognition systems to what they care about most. The best sales managers know their team members on a personal as well as a professional basis so they can build relationships based on trust and mutual respect. This is how they gain the loyalty and dedication of their team and can lead them effectively.
Choose your sales manager well. A good one will inspire your sales team to ever great performance and return sales that support your goals for company growth.