A lot of literature is written about getting sales professionals to perform at their highest levels. There are numerous books, sales training programs or blogs, as well as webinars focused on salespeople as contributors to the team.
All of this is extremely important for salespeople, but the most crucial element to creating high-quality sales performance within the business will be the manager of sales. Sales managers must offer direction, coaching, and training to assist salespeople in understanding the importance of high performance and what they have to accomplish to reach the highest performance levels.
Many managers are not prepared to give this leadership. They were excellent salespeople and are now promoted to management. They do not change their behavior; however, they try to manage themselves by becoming “super contributing salespeople.” The numbers will overpower the sales manager, and they fail. The team is demotivated; they die.
There must be a new approach to make use of the knowledge that the managers have, which allows them to improve the performance and capabilities of their sales team.
Congratulations, You’re A New Manager!
When I started my first sales management position, I had the great luck of working for an employer that invested in developing and training sales managers. In the current situation, it’s like the trend is much more “Tag That You’re Them.” The people who are appointed as sales managers yet receive minimal or no guidance on how to become the most effective sales manager.
It’s not surprising that the majority of new sales managers retreat to their own comfort zones and become great salespeople. However, now they realize they need to be doing it over a more extensive area and also with their employees.
It’s not possible to achieve this, as the numbers are merely against your sales supervisor. Consider this scenario, as a top-performing salesperson, you always reached your annual target of $5 million, but sometimes you exceeded it. However, you were always busy with no time to relax or play golf. Your job required up to 50, 60, or more hours every week, yet you accomplished it with excellence.
You’re now an executive in sales. You’re in charge of 10 people each with quotas of 5 million dollars. The first thing you do is perform the same thing you have done well in the past, which was to make deals. Now, you must complete it for $50M, not $5 million. Yes, you’ve got salespeople who can “help to assist you,” but after all, your previous success was due to your own capabilities, which was why you are the top salesperson. The tendency is to ask sales personnel to perform the essential tasks while you, as “super managers of sales,” take over the most critical tasks on all deals.
It’s funny, the number of hours in a day and days in a week hasn’t changed. In the past, you were able to spend every hour of your day focused on your $5 million of deals. Today, you’re challenged with managing ten times that amount into the same amount of time (OK, you’re not sleeping enough, and you’re trying to work seven days a week). Then you’ll are drowning with work as well as your staff is delegating even more upwards. You don’t have enough hours during the day. You begin to crash and then fail.
The numbers aren’t in favor of the boss, and you cannot keep doing the same thing you were doing prior to (even with the help from your staff). There are not enough hours in the day to earn the $50 million.
The next thing you do is that you “lose” your team. They can see your presence and try to push them off to the side. You know how to perform better than them. All they have to do is move out of the way or maybe complete those nitty-gritty tasks and leave the necessary phone calls for you. The team is aware that you don’t appreciate them and that you compete with them. They are unable to boost their performance in the field. They begin delegating everything to you. Their morale is lowered, and they aren’t awed by them – since you’re not helping them grow and you force them off to the side.
Soon you’ll be by yourself. You’re in a predicament that is not a good fit, and you fail. Your team suffers, and your manager is delighted to find someone who could be there to “fix the problem.”
What’s A New Manager To Do?
The role of sales managers is distinct from being an individual contributing member. Although your experiences as a highly effective salesperson can be beneficial, it’s crucial to understand it’s a different job.
The most important thing a brand new sales manager has to know is that their job is to get things done with their team! Sales managers will only be as efficient as the collective effort of the group. Making sure that the team performs at the highest level is the hallmark of the best sales managers. This requires changing your attitude. It’s about changing from the individual participant to “did the deals ” to a manager who guides, asks questions, and tests their staff, helping them improve their effectiveness at “doing those deals.” The best managers are awed by the success of their team members. They strive to see every individual perform at their highest level. They concentrate on developing and coaching whenever they can.
Achieving excellent management requires more shifts in behavior. It is about managing the process and not just the transactions. Salespeople are concentrated on every deal or transaction. Sales managers cannot afford to handle every transaction. Here, too the numbers don’t favor you. Consider this scenario: every one of your salespeople has ten deals that they are working on (most I’ve seen have greater than). Each week, you’ll review each agreement and micromanaging the process by collaborating with your sales reps. A review of 100 deals per week (do the calculations) means you’re only spending 50 hours per week reviewing and managing contracts. Do you have time to answer customer calls or make forecasts, or all the other hundreds of tasks that management expects of them?
Sales managers aren’t involved in transactions. The best way to control performance is to ensure you have a solid sales procedure in place and that your sales personnel are performing the process as effectively and efficiently as is possible. Your job is now easier to manage if you look over three or four deals per salesperson and see that they’re “in charge” in the course of business, then other salespeople to also be in control.
There are other elements to consider when you are a successful manager. But the base is built on two aspects: 1. the role of the Sales Manager is to make sure that things get done by their team and secondly. Top sales managers oversee the process and not just the transactions.