Four Questions Great Sales Managers Answer With "Yes!"
The best sales managers genuinely care about their people and the work they do every day. They also know the importance of improving their own sales management skills. By focusing on improving their skills and helping their people grow, they create a strong work environment that is poised for growth.
Want to know if you're excelling as a sales manager? Author Kevin F. Davis says you can begin by asking yourself the four questions we share in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.
1. Do all of your salespeople implement your coaching suggestions? If you feel frustrated when your sales reps don't take your suggestions to heart, you're not alone. Davis often sees sales managers claim their sales reps are un-coachable because they don't implement coaching guidance. When he hears this, he thinks of Stephen Covey's quote: "Every time you think the problem is 'out there,' that very thought is the problem."
Davis says mediocre sales managers ask "how many" questions, such as "how many sales calls did you make?" and "how many appointments did you get?" Great sales managers, on the other hand, realize these questions only uncover a rep's activity level. They know that if they want their sales reps to implement their coaching, they must provide high-quality sales coaching through observation, analysis, teaching and follow-up.
2. Are you spending your time in a way that is consistent with your highest priorities? According to Davis, great sales managers can answer "yes" to this question because they manage themselves in such a way that they can spend more time on the most important tasks. They have a predictable rhythm that includes time allocated for planning, observation, coaching and other key activities. Mediocre managers do not reserve time for working on the important but not urgent tasks that develop a sales team.
3. If you knew back then what you know today, would you re-hire every salesperson currently on your team? When Davis asks this question among an audience of sales managers, he usually gets only one in 10 managers to raise their hand. Most sales managers keep low-producing sales reps on their team longer than they should.
However, great sales managers do not tolerate mediocrity. They meet with underperformers on their team to see how they can help and if the person is prepared for the sales role at all. They don't let low performers linger. It sends an unspoken message to everyone else on the team that a low level of performance is satisfactory.
4. Do you know who your next team leader will be, and do you give that person an extra portion of your sales coaching time? The best sales leaders understand the importance of creating a coaching success story on the team. You may share client success stories and case studies, and as a successful sales manager, you need a success story, too. Davis says that when you create a coaching success story it makes a powerful unspoken statement to everybody else on your team—that if they follow your coaching and leadership, they too can achieve breakthrough sales performance.
If you can answer "yes" to the four questions above, you are on the right track with your sales management. If you didn't answer "yes" to one or more questions, consider how you can adjust your leadership style to help develop a high-performance sales team.
Compiled by Audrey Sellers
Source: Kevin F. Davis has more than 30 years of sales experience. He is the author of The Sales Manager's Guide to Greatness: 10 Essential Strategies for Leading Your Team to the Top.