Solution Selling Managers…Beware these Top 6 Mistakes
Who are solution selling managers?
Solution selling managers are sales leaders who are responsible for ensuring their sales team can consistently and profitably sell complex solutions to their target clients using a consultative sales process. They are the sales talent managers who help ensure their sales team has the solution selling skills required to help their clients to succeed. They are also the sales performance coaches who help to lift the performance of their sales force each and every day.
What happens without solution selling managers?
The above picture is worth a thousand words. Empty pockets, lost deals and falling sales would certainly drive any solution selling manager to tears. But it needn’t be that way!
For over twenty years we have helped solution selling managers reverse a losing trend. It often seems to them that their circumstances are unique and that there is no way to turn revenue declines around. However, we have found over and over again that the mistakes sales managers make:
- are quite similar no matter the industry, sales team size or individual sales rep experience
- can be remedied with an open mind and sincere desire on the manager’s part to improve.
Here are the top 6 mistakes made by sales managers:
- Sales managers don’t know how to lead.
So many sales managers are thrust into the lead position because they were the team’s top revenue producer. But it takes a completely different set of sales and leadership skills to succeed as an individual sales rep than as a solution selling manager or leader. Make sure you get the sales management training you need to succeed at developing others and building a winning sales team.
- Sales managers are tactical rather than strategic.
Too often sales managers are consumed by dealing with day-to-day activities. They fail to rise above the kinds of issues (like minor personality conflicts, misunderstandings with service folks, hold-ups in legal, etc.) that take time but retard progress toward overall goals. The best managers are forward-thinking and know how to prioritize. They focus on what matters most and leave smaller, daily problems to their team to resolve.
- Sales managers are clueless about how to manage the performance of others.
No matter what kind of team you are on, if you are a manager intent upon raising the performance level of your team, you need to know how to:
- Set expectations for behavior and job performance
- Measure and track performance
- Hold team members accountable to the standards they have agreed to and you have set
- Sales managers ignore the importance and effectiveness of good coaching.
Once you have set standards and the team understands what is expected, you have the metrics in place to help them improve their skills and overall performance. But this doesn’t happen in a vacuum. As leader, you are the one who can guide their development. Hold regular one-on-one meetings to talk about what they need to learn and how they can improve. Observe their sales activities and provide constructive feedback.
- Sales managers treat under- and over-performers the same.
Don’t let substandard performers suck up all your time. Underperformers should have a clear picture of where they need to improve. Yes, develop and coach them but, ultimately, if they don’t show improvement, help them find a more suitable position than on your team. High performers, on the other hand, need to be encouraged to share their strengths and best practices with others on the team. And they deserve compensation that matches their greater contribution and results.
- Sales managers tend to slack off as goals are met.
A manager’s work is never done. Even as your team succeeds, you need to keep them motivated and engaged. Each rep is an individual with different motivators, different skills, and different needs. You need to come to know each team member personally. Talk about what they want to achieve in their personal and professional lives. Do what you can to support their goals and provide development opportunities that align with the paths they have chosen.
The right solution selling training can teach your sales leaders how to become solution selling managers.
To learn more about creating a highly skilled sales force, download The 6 Top Reasons Business Sales Training Initiatives Fail