GUEST: C. Lee Smith, CEO of SalesFuel
One of the biggest choke points in companies is often not the sales reps.
It’s the sales managers.
Frequently, companies take their top sales performers and promote them to manager, without ever giving them the training or tools they need to be great managers.
Yet ensuring your managers are enabled to effectively support and coach your sales team is key to a successful organization.B2B Revenue Executive Experience podcast, Lee discussed five issues that need to be addressed for managers to become better coaches and leaders for their sales teams.
#1: Coaching needs to be more prevalent.
The best way to have sustained improvement in a sales team is to make your sales people better.
And the best way to make your sales people better is to start by making the sales manager better.
Coaching needs to be more prevalent among the reps.
But, it also needs to be happening from leadership down to management.
“If you improve a sales rep you've improved one person. If you improve a sales manager you've improved their entire team.”
#2: Managers need to focus more on discovery.
Before you actually dive into coaching, a manager really needs to understand each and every person that's reporting to her.
She needs to understand things like what they like to do, what they don't like to do, their strengths and weaknesses, their hobbies, what motivates them, and what's their favorite vacation spot. There’s all kinds of questions like these.
Naturally, we ask these types of questions of our buyers when we're prospecting.
And while sales managers aren’t selling a product, we are selling ideas, energy, and excitement.
So, we need to be doing proper discovery on the people that report to us.
#3: Managers need to stop selling.
“The best way to have sustained improvement in a sales team is to make your sales people better.”
Managers should be selling ideas and energy, but if it’s possible, they shouldn’t be selling the product.
Yet according to research, more than 30% of managers still have a sales role — they're still managing accounts.
Having a manager that functions as a player and a coach can really hold back a sales team.
It's not always possible. But if you have the ability to ensure your manager is only responsible for being a coach, strive for that.
The idea is to make your people better so they go out and sell the actual product.
#4: Managers need to pay special attention to culture.
Sometimes, if you take one sales person who's doing a great job at one company and move them to another, their performance slips.
Why is that?
Well, there's two potential reasons.
Either it's the environment, the culture, or it's the manager.
Managers should be mindful of the environment and the culture in which salespeople are living and thriving.
And, if your people aren’t thriving, chances are your culture needs a fix.
Just remember that your culture wasn’t built overnight — it can’t be fixed that way either.
#5: Managers need to manage their people for change.
“The best way to make your sales people better is to start by making the sales manager better.”
Sales is all about change — we're trying to get buyers to do something differently.
The same goes internally, too.
Managers have to prepare the battlefield for change.
That means communicating to your people what their role is in the change and how that change will benefit them.
It also requires dealing with those who are hesitating to buy in.
That can be tough. But it’s necessary.
We Ask Every Podcast Guest These Two Questions:
1) What's Effective in Earning 15 Minutes of Your Time?
“I want people that do their homework. I want to know that you've done a deep dive on my company and our needs.
And I don't want you to start with the product. Diagnose the problem then recommend a solution.”
2) Your Grandest Piece of Advice for a Sales or Marketing Professional?
“Provide some piece of insight on every sales call that you make. Be of use to the person you're calling on.
And go into that situation with the mindset that you're there to help.
Sales is really all about helping.
And if you help someone meet their goals and overcome their challenges, then you're going to sell.”
For the entire interview, you can listen to The B2B Revenue Executive Experience.
If you don’t use iTunes, we suggest this link.