There are two big factors that determine success or failure for sales managers (and by extension their sales teams). The first is their ability to manage activity levels in their team, and the second their ability to increase the skill levels of their team.
A common problem
Recently I’ve been working with a number of sales teams where there is a common denominator. The sales managers are keen and enthusiastic, but have been promoted from being successful salespeople. In short, they’re great at selling stuff but not so strong at getting the most from their teams.
It happens often – great salespeople are promoted to become sales managers – but they don’t have the management skills to be able to carry out their rolls effectively.
What are the two skills?
The two skills every sales manager must have are:
- Sales Performance Management: An understanding of the key sales activities that need to happen in their teams coupled with accurate metrics of what is actually going on.
- Sales Coaching: The skills to be able to help each of their salespeople achieve higher skill levels and therefore better sales results.
Sales Performance Management
In every sales team there are certain activities that determine success or failure – usually linked to key stages in the sales pipeline. So for example, numbers of calls to potential new customers or numbers of proposals generated.
The sales manager needs to know what the key activities are for their team, and then manage those numbers to improve them.
Getting the team to focus on the right activities in the right quantities will almost always lead to a rapid change in the success of the sales team.
The second dimension to changing a sales team’s results is to improve the skill levels of everybody in the team. This is achieved through a combination of training and coaching.
Sales coaching is the process where in one to one conversations the sales manager and the salesperson explore what is holding the salesperson back, what options they have for change and what actions they are going to take.
The key to successful sales coaching is to make the improvement actions the responsibility of the salesperson – the sales manager’s role is to help identify the action areas and the actions that should be taken.
If you’re a sales manager trying to improve the performance of your sales team, focus on these two actions.
- Sales Performance Management to increase the amount of the right activities that will lead to more sales
- Sales Coaching to improve the skill levels of your team that will also lead to more sales.
- Find out about Sales Performance Management training
- Read more articles about Sales Performance Management
- Find out about Sales Coaching for Sales Managers
Here’s what to do next
If you’re interested in how this could help you, or feel I may be able to help you with some of the challenges you’re facing, please get in touch for an informal discussion.
There’s no commitment, we’ll just discuss your situation to see if working together might be a good fit. Contact me now.