Front-line sales leaders perhaps have the most difficult job within an organization. Each manager or director is asked to grow profitable revenue and meet business objectives through a dedicated team of sellers. They are asked to achieve business results and pulled by the Marketing, Operations, Leadership, and their direct reports. Many of you have attended yearly or quarterly kickoff for the sellers. When was the last time your company dedicated time to teach your sales leaders how to set clear sales objectives and coach effectively?
The assumption made by many in leadership is that your sales manager brings these skills to the table when hired or promoted. Many times, this isn’t the case for many reasons. First, many sales managers get promoted from individual contributors due to their ability to sell and recommended by someone in leadership. Second, you hire a sales manager from another company with the assumption they received training on coaching from another organization.
In the first scenario, where would this great “seller” have learned the skills to be a manager? In the second situation, did you validate this when hiring or assume? Did you “Guess” that simply because they came from another great company they received the proper training? One of the founding principles during my certification for “Franklin Covey, Qualifying Opportunities” facilitation was a very simple concept. The slide simply said “No Guessing.” While this applied to sales in that scenario, the concept applies even more importantly for sales leaders. Why should you continue to “Guess” that your front line sales managers know how to coach effectively and improve sales activities within their team.
According to the best selling sales management book “Cracking the Sales Management Code,” there are three areas for sales leaders to consider when coaching – and only one they can control:
1. Business Objectives -Share of Wallet, Revenue Growth, Gross Profit, etc.
2. Sales Objectives – Ramp time, % Customer Retention, Number of New Customers, etc.
3. Sales Activities – # Meetings Attended, #Coaching Hours, #Sales Calls, etc.
The book presents a convincing case that front-line leaders are not able to manage Business Results directly. It also states that Sales Objectives they can influence by setting clear measurements for their team. The final area of Sales actives is where managers have the most control and can only manage through effective coaching.
Do your sales leaders set clear Sales Objectives for their team and coach to their sales activities? In the spirit of “No Guessing” – if you are not 100% sure this is happening with all your sales leaders, below are a few recommendations.
1. Ask your Sales Enablement team (or an outside company like ClientWon to complete an assessment of your team’s current abilities. The assessment could include interviews, review of sales team meetings, agendas, etc.
2. Invest in Sales Performance Management training either in-house or a third party company.
3. Create virtual or in-person training sessions for your sales leaders.
4. Develop a coaching 1:1 form for your sales leaders and review on a consistent basis.
5. Recommend one of many Sales Management books such as “Cracking the Sales Management Code.”
Developing a team of sales leaders that set clear objectives, and coach sales activities have proven effective in both increased quota attainment and business results. Do you need help getting this program started? Give me a call at 224-210-9191 or How Can We Help.
Written By: Steve Buergey, Founder ClientWon. He has over 15 years of experience at Fortune 1000 companies helping to grow sales teams.