Does your sales training budget ignore frontline sales managers?
Today’s sales market is more competitive than ever before. With product and competitor information available at their fingertips, prospective customers no longer base their purchasing decisions solely on information provided by sales representatives. The most successful sales teams are skilled at interpreting client needs, provide detailed product features, and anticipate and overcome objections.
A prepared sales force closes the deal with skills nurtured by an impactful, communicative sales manager.
Not All Sales Managers are Effective Team Leaders
Most companies understand the benefits of investing in resources that enable their sales representatives to remain competitive. Sales representatives typically have access to necessary luxuries such as the latest technology, customer data, and streamlined research capabilities.
Unfortunately, many sales professionals work under the direction of sales managers who are ill-equipped to coach, mentor or guide their teams in making the best use of available resources. According to the Sales Management Association, 41% of businesses don’t offer on-going training programs to help their sales managers learn effective leadership methods or make improvements to their coaching skills.
The Development and Training of Sales Managers is Often Overlooked
The role of the sales manager is complex and often underrated in importance. Sales manager positions are often filled by employees who have established themselves as outstanding sales representatives, not necessarily as effective leaders or coaches. A sales managers inability to communicate effectively and provide guidance can result in mediocre sales performance, stalled business growth, low morale, and high employee turnover rates.
The Characteristics of a Sales Manager Who Lacks Direction
Research shows that businesses who underestimate the value of developing their sales management team have little chance of evolving. The sales managers job is complex and often underrated. Sales managers typically balance several difficult job functions with their attention pulled in several directions simultaneously. As a result, many sales managers spend too little time focused on sales coaching or rely on ineffective coaching methods learned from others. A sales manager who could benefit from additional training might display some of the following characteristics:
Spends more time than necessary selling or saving sales
Spending a good deal of time selling to clients is particularly common of sales managers who excelled in sales prior to achieving management status. Managers who insist on selling may not trust the capabilities of their team. This distrust could indicate a sales team in need of consistent and effective coaching processes.
Avoids addressing performance issues
The sales manager who avoids addressing performance problems could indicate that the sales manager is unsure how to proceed. Avoiding performance issues may also suggest the manager does not have the ability, at this point, to define the cause of the issue or devise a plan for improvement. Managers who avoid criticism at all costs may be overly concerned with appearing unfriendly or creating drama.
Has an inconsistent management or coaching style
Many sales managers coach in vague terms without providing instruction or training. If the managers coaching does not specifically identify problems, solutions, and measurable results, the sales team can become confused or frustrated. Instructing a salesperson to sell more without guidance will not help a representative close a sale.
Has difficulty motivating their team
The lack of motivation among sales reps could be the result of abrasive or confusing management tactics. It is common for sales performance to decline when team members feel their skills are not valued, particularly when coaching focuses solely on needed improvement without balancing feedback by acknowledging strengths.
Lacks awareness of how their management style is perceived by others
The untrained sales manager may not be aware of the way their behaviors and reactions have affected their leadership capabilities. While the manager may see themselves as being assertive and believe their expectations to be clear, the sales team may describe the manager as harsh. They may resent the manager’s inability to provide methods of improving a lackluster performance. As morale drops, sales slump and top performers look towards other employment opportunities.
The Benefits of Investing Sales Manager Performance
Every successful sales manager needs effective training and the proper tools to nurture and develop a strong sales team. When a business invests in the success of their sales managers, that investment is multiplied according to the number of associates the enlightened manager effectively coaches and trains. Training a sales manager to be an effective communicator and coach moves the sales manager from a position of telling or controlling to a position of teaching and collaborating. Impactful coaching leads the sales team to a clear method of meeting and surpassing sales goals.
Investing in sales managers is an investment in:
- Establishing consistent, effective coaching techniques with measurable results
- Empowering sales team to improve on their weaknesses while focusing on their strengths
- A sales team with the ability to solve problems and nurture existing customer relationships
- A sales team trained to anticipate and overcome objections and close more sales
- Focusing on the needs of individual reps, identify areas of development and potential growth
- Verifying and supporting the team’s expertise in each area of the sales process
- A manager who understands the differences between coaching and feedback
- A manager better equipped for long-term planning, goal setting, and performance analysis
While effective coaching practices initially take a fair amount of the sales managers time and attention, as a result, the sales team matures and thrives. With the sales force better equipped to provide exceptional service to their customers, the sales manager needs less time on the sales floor and has more time to devote to their many other responsibilities.
In business, it’s essential to utilize all of your assets to their fullest potential. Qualified sales managers are a valuable asset. Investing in the performance of your sales manager is an investment in the strength of your sales force and the future success of your business.
You can strengthen your sales force by providing your sales managers with the tools they need to coach effectively. Help your sales managers learn effective team building skills by providing a detailed program to help identify skill gaps, track team member progress, and achieve results.
To learn more about developing your sales managers and sales teams, contact CommercialTribe. Our clear, step by step sales coaching programs are easy to use and provide a measurable impact on sales manager performance.