This is the third article of a three-part series on sales manager productivity. Before reading on, catch up on Part 1 and Part 2:
If you believe that sales managers are the essential ingredient to get more sellers to goal, let’s talk about the impact of sales managers’ productivity. Here’s an exciting one: A 5% lift in core performance drives a 60% lift in revenue.
Moving middle performers to top performers requires sales managers to be great coaches, utilizing a proven framework for tracking and improving upon key selling behaviors.
What Percentage of Your Reps Are Making Quota?
Look at the distribution here from a study done by Sales Management Association. The top quartile of sales managers get about two-thirds of their sellers to goal. Everyone knows that these are your “A” sales managers. For the other 75%, it’s about half. These are your B and C sales managers.
While every sales organization stack ranks its sellers, it is not always looked at this way at the managerial level. What does the distribution look like in your sales org? Your middle performing managers may have star sellers helping them make their number, despite not getting 50% of their team to goal.
Is it just the luck of the draw? Not by a long shot. “A” sales managers are behaving differently than the rest. They’ve learned what to do to outperform their peers by building a team that consistently crushes quota.
Turn B and C Managers into A’s
In addition to looking at a manager’s performance, a telling way to measure a sales manager’s ability is based on behavior, such as whether a manager:
- Prioritizes riding-along’s instead of managing from a spreadsheet
- Manages across their entire team, including B and C sellers, where real development is needed
- Coaches effectively on selling behaviors across the funnel, not just later stage deals that show up in their lap
- Provides helpful, actionable feedback that the sellers find useful
You can think of these behaviors if measured as a “coaching index.” These data points can identify the managers whose B and C sellers are in capable hands.
This selling performance distribution curve is common in a sales organization:
Remember that a 5% lift in core performance (your B sellers) results in about a 60% revenue increase. To get that 5% lift, someone needs to coach and develop the B sellers to become more like your top performers.
These are the bulk of your selling org. If they report to B and C managers who aren’t developing them, you will not see a lift, and beyond that, your revenue plan may even be at risk.
If you get them to perform more like high achievers, you exceed your plan.
The investment a company makes in its sales managers is significant. Are you thinking about your B and C managers strategically — about what they’re doing, how they’re doing it, and critically, to what business impact? Can you imagine what life would be like with more “A” sales managers?
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