Front line sales managers are facing unprecedented change. Managers are dealing with increased demands to do more with less and are still expected to drive sales performance. With little support from the next-line of sales management and a lack of relevant courses and ongoing development, many sales managers feel stretched to the limit.
The role of the front line sales manager is paramount to the success of organizations. Front line sales managers are the key to unlocking the potential of the sales force and driving sales performance. Consider the following:
- The #1 performance factor for sales people is the quality of their manager. A high quality manager has far greater impact on performance than skills training or compensation.
- The #1 manager activity associated with rep success is coaching. Coaching is the single most impactful activity that front lines sales managers perform. Studies show that effectual coaching can impact sales performance by as much as 20%!
- The #1 reason why top performing sales reps leave an organization is their relationship with their manager. Great front line sales managers do a better job retaining top performing sales people than mediocre managers.
I fail to understand why senior management remains reluctant to embrace change. Most organizations fail to support the growth and development of their front line sales managers. As a result, corporations are not reaping the true value from their investments in sales forces and the numbers continue to decline.
I have coached dozens of front line sales managers and have seen firsthand, the impact they can have on performance if given proper support and development.
Overworked and under-supported front line sales managers are desperately looking for resources to improve their performance. As a result I wrote 52 Sales Management Tips – The Sales Manager’s Success Guide for sales managers who understand the need to develop themselves and have taken the responsibility for their own success.
How would you like to:
- Improve your coachingskills
- Become more effective at managing challenges
- Achieve greater success
- Hire sales super Stars and fire your bad apples
- Inspire your sales team
- Drive more sales
Here are some tips that you will find in 52 Sales Management Tips
Coaching is the most important skill to effectively develop top sales performers. What I have found is that many sales managers have never learned how to be effective coaches. There is little or no training on coaching and senior sales leaders fail to role model and reinforce effective coaching.
- How many times do you have an agreement in a business review to do a specific activity and realise that a few months later that it didn’t happen?
- How many times does your sales rep agree to work on a specific skill only to find out that there has been little or no change in that skill?
Time and time again we are disappointed that important things just don’t happen. The problem is that your sales people are overloaded. As much as they agree to specific actions they get lost in the day-to-day demands and forget many of the commitments they make. What steps need to be taken to increase the likelihood of follow through on a commitment?
Tip #6: The Power of the Pen
To increase the chance that you or your sales reps will achieve a goal they have set for themselves it is critical to have them commit their plan to paper, write it down! When people put pen to paper it has two key benefits. Firstly, they have thought out what specific activities/steps they need to do to achieve their goal(s) and secondly the process of writing crystallizes in the brain what they intend to do. This speaks to commitment. With a written commitment the sales rep takes ownership of the outcome.
Sales are down… What is the boss going to say? Nothing!
Sales managers have no shortage of challenges. I always hated having to explain why sales are down. I can remember numerous times I faced challenges when sales were off. One year in February we were already behind budget in sales. I knew I had to do something. So I quickly thought up a 3 point plan and marched down to my boss’s office.
I stated that I was concerned about sales and I decided that I was going to do the following:
- Cancel all training for the next 3 months
- Have the trainers out in the field supporting the sales force and
- Launch a contest that focused on sales reps making more calls
Not really a brilliant plan but I was being proactive. The following day when my boss looked at his sales report, I didn’t get a phone call asking what’s going on.
Tip #12: Proactively Manage your Boss
Your boss is no different than you. All bosses want to know two things: One that you know what your issues are: Two that you are doing something about them. Put yourself in your boss’s shoes. S/he has enough to worry about. If your boss is spending time wondering what you are doing about your issues than they are really questioning whether you are effectively doing your job.
Before your boss figures out your issues, communicate and demonstrate that you have a plan to proactively address your issues. Remember, the best defence is an offence.
These are just two examples that can positively impact your immediate performance. For 50 more thought provoking, inspiring and witty tips check out 52 Sales Management Tips – The Sales Manager’s Success Guide. Available at Amazon as a Kindle book.
Success is a choice. Make it your choice.