Your sales team is the life force of your organization. If the team is firing on all cylinders and hitting its goals, chances are your organization is hitting its goals as well. Conversely, if they’re having trouble, your organization is likely following suit. Learn how to make sure your sales team management skills work for your organization
Knowing the importance of the sales team, many organizations will spend quite a bit of time and budget on the professional development of their sales reps. However, one role is more often overlooked when it comes to development - the sales manager.
According to research done by Vantage Point and the Sales Management Association, “Companies who allocate 25-50% of overall sales training budget toward management training outperform their goal by 6%, while companies who allocate more than 50% of overall sales training budget toward management training outperform their goal by 15%.”
Let’s take a closer look at sales managers and the techniques and sale team management best practices that can make them, and the teams they lead, more effective.
The Role of Sales Managers
A sales manager is responsible for leading a sales team to successfully reaching their goals within an organization. In practice, however, there’s much more to it than that. Sales managers onboard and train new team members, set team expectations and goals, analyze data and reports to share with upper management, and provide guidance and advice for their teams.
Taking the duties and responsibilities above into account, it becomes clear just how important sales managers are to the ultimate success of the team in reaching their sales goals. And the more competent these managers are in these 8 sales skills, the more likely they are to find success.
Sales Manager Techniques
Most great managers utilize the same basic strategies with their teams. Let’s take a look at a few of those sales manager techniques now:
- Set S.M.A.R.T Sales Goals - Building goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely will ensure that teams have the best chance of achieving goals set for them.
- Define Team Roles - It’s the job of the sales manager to ensure the responsibilities assigned to each team member correspond to their personalities and strengths and that each team member clearly understands their role and responsibilities.
- Build a Sales Strategy - This strategy should include everything the team needs to be successful, and will allow the team to rally around a common goal.
- Determine Metrics and KPIs - Metrics should be communicated to the team clearly and often, so they are aware of progress to goals or roadblocks in the way.
- Provide Consistent Feedback - Sales managers should be open and honest with their sales teams throughout the process, ensuring they are meeting their personal goals and providing suggestions for improvement when appropriate.
Sales Management Best Practices
Sales managers are also tasked with motivating their teams to hit their goals each day. What are some best practices for providing that motivation? I’m glad you asked!
- Provide training and opportunities for growth - Tap into the team’s areas of interest and personal/professional goals by providing them with opportunities to grow and learn.
- Create an engaging, supportive team culture - Team culture plays a huge role in the happiness of team members, how engaged and productive they are, and how long they stay with the organization.
- Play to the strengths of each team member - Different team members may be more enthusiastic about doing different things on the team, so distribute tasks and opportunities accordingly.
- Say “thank you” often - Honest and specific words of appreciation are highly valued and often under-utilized.
- Have open and honest communication - Encourage team members to come to their manager with ideas, concerns, and issues, while maintaining the same standards with managerial communication as well.
Putting the Right People in Sales Management Positions
Ronald Reagan once said, “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. [He or she] is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” In other words, the best sales managers should have the ability to set their team up for success with all of the tools, resources, and motivation they need.
In general, sales managers should be confident, goal-oriented, have exceptional communication skills, and be able to positively influence their teams. They should also be comfortable with delegating tasks and hiring effective new members of the team. As with any managerial position, it’s important that brand new sales managers receive coaching at the beginning of their tenure, so they can develop these skills and start their new positions off strong.
Developing Effective Sales Managers
Once the right people have been placed into the sales manager positions, it’s important to help them develop the right skills and provide them with resources to ensure they’ll continue to be effective moving forward.
To set them on the right track:
- Provide the right tools - Ensure the sales manager has access to all of the resources he or she needs in order to do job successfully, including access to CRM tools and dashboards
- Do a goal deep-dive - Make sure the sales manager understands each business goal and the impact it has on the overall strategy so they can create their own SMART team goals
- Provide coaching opportunities - Skills like delegation, communication, setting expectations, and providing feedback constructively often do not come naturally to new managers. Providing coaching opportunities can help develop those skills!
The Importance of Coaching for Sales Managers
Providing coaching for sales managers, even those who have been in the position for a while, can have huge benefits for them and for the teams they manage.
- Help develop sales skills and knowledge
- Increase confidence and motivation
- Enhance sales performance and results
- Increase job satisfaction and career advancement
Coaching can be such a powerful tool for sales managers because it also helps develop those softer skills, like learning to listen and effectively providing feedback to team members.
Sales Coaching with Valor
Setting your sales managers up with Valor coaching is one of the best ways to ensure they will thrive in your organization. Each coaching session will be customized to the needs of your industry, organization, and the individual needs of the sales manager who is being coached. Coaches will take the time to understand each of the skills and behaviors that each sales manager would like to enhance so each session is specifically tailored to their experience. Sales managers will then be able to take these personalized skills and utilize them to inspire their team’s, and the organization, success.
Request a demo to learn more about Valor Performance Coaching and how it can set your sales managers up for sustainable high performance.