The following is a look at some of the key ways you can enable your sales managers to drive rep success.
1. Drive the Right Accountability
What do you want your reps to be accountable for? As a sales leader, I’d rather my sales people make four calls a day that have great outcomes rather than make ten calls that lead to nothing. Drive the accountability that ensures your front-line sales managers focus on the activities necessary for repeatable success and that they do them well.
- What’s the best way for the sales manager to be accountable for driving qualified pipeline on their team?
- How can you help your sales managers ensure their teams are following client focused, value-based selling principles on every sales call?
- How are your managers responsible for reaching higher-level executives in their prospects’ organizations?
- Don’t get caught up in benchmarks that won’t create lasting success. Make sure your front-line managers are accountable for the right actions.
2. Build Customer Alignment
The focus of any sales organization should be on what provides value for the customer. Are your front- line managers reacting to what’s urgent, rather than what’s most important? I’ve seen, and even participated in, sales managers allowing the sales person to become not only the account manager, but the product specialist, the customer service rep, even the chauffeur, especially when it’s a big account.
More times than not, that is a disservice to the customer and often creates a debilitating ripple effect. Your customer doesn’t get the company’s best. The salesperson bends over backwards, trying to be all things to all people because he/she doesn’t have the resources to pull in the right expertise when it’s necessary. The salespeople don’t have time to sell. The front-line managers are buried in trying to make the salespeople sell. No one is effective because they’re submerged in fire drills.
Alleviate the piling-on effect for your sales teams and front-line managers. Build alignment between your sales, services, and product teams to ensure not only a buyer-centric sales process, but also a customer-first service structure.
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3. Involve Them In Initiatives
Give your front-line managers the power and influence they need to succeed. People are effective leaders when they are emotionally connected to their initiatives. Enable them to lead their teams by helping them to be effective change agents. Don’t force new programs on them. Instead involve them in the creation of any initiatives that are directly related to their team’s success. They’ll be more willing to drive it on their own teams if they had a say in its development.
4. Develop an Repeatable Rhythm
Provide your front-line sales managers with a repeatable rhythm that supports consistency throughout your sales organization. Do your front-line managers have a cadence that helps them coach reps to success?
The amount of time your front-line managers waste just trying to keep up with the forecast is valuable time not helping their team sell. Ensure consistency and improve efficiency by giving them tools that make their jobs easier. Develop a sales operating rhythm that provides a consistent language and process around:
- Territory Reviews
- Account Reviews
- Opportunity Reviews
- Forecast Reviews
- Active Sales Call Participation and Feedback
Remember, it doesn’t matter how many reviews you do with someone. If there’s no focus on executable action, there is no value within the sales team. An operating rhythm helps you as a sales leader drive that action.
When everyone is using the same Management Operating Rhythm®, they’re all speaking the same language and everyone knows the benchmarks to create success. As a result, your front-line managers are less burdened and there’s consistency throughout the sales organization. Your sales managers then have the opportunity to become sales leaders because everything they do has value attached to it, instead of being some sort of compliance exercise.