Choose the Right Sales Manager for Sales Team Success
The Right Sales 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 sales game plan 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.
Having the Right Sales Manager for Your Unique Situation
Who Makes Sense to Lead Your Sales Team?
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.
It is often better, for them and for you, to keep your top sales reps 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 two-way communication skills (both giving and receiving)
- Who can manage diverse teams and often virtual teams
- Who can manage change, priorities, 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.
How To Effectively Manage Sales Reps
Sales Coaching: The best sales managers know how to coach sales reps toward higher performance. 9 out of 10 sales reps tell us that they want more coaching from their sales managers. Sales reps want to do better, but they need to know how specifically to do better and need encouragement to practice improved sales techniques.
Sales managers should spend a significant part of their time on pre-call planning, on sales calls, and on sales debriefs with their team. This is the best way to embed new sales skills and improve sales performance.
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 desire to improve, the sales manager should help the sales rep to move on to a better situation.
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.
The Bottom Line
Choose your sales manager well. A good sales leader will inspire your sales team to higher performance.
To learn more about how to get the most out of your sales team, download How to Optimize Your Sales Force in the Face of Increased Performance Pressure