5 Things Every Great Sales Manager Knows

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In your sales organization, you may have some groups that outperform others. These performance differences often come down to the manager and a good sales manager knows that they must focus on five key elements.

  1. Sales Process
  2. Resilience
  3. Feedback
  4. Rewards
  5. The Difference Between Managing and Leading

Let’s review how great sales managers use these elements to guide their team.

Better Sales Process

Neil Patel points out that sales reps are the source of the most leads (38%) in an organization. But understanding the difference between a real lead and a dud is a critical part of an effective sales process. Spending too much time on a dead lead can kill the effectiveness of your organization’s resources. Your reps may be excited about the potential whale they hope to land. However, if your organization doesn’t generally sell to “whale” clients, caution your rep to pay attention. It may be too expensive and ultimately unproductive to pursue some leads. If the prospect doesn’t respond to multiple outreach attempts or has said they aren’t interested, it’s time to move on.

You should document how long it takes to move a client through the sales funnel and a good sales manager knows to watch out for stragglers. In some cases, you’ll have to encourage your reps to spend more time on accounts that will close faster. Our forthcoming research, the 2021 Voice of the Buyer study, shows that for B2B purchases valued at less than $10,000, 25% of businesses have between four and six employees participate in the buying process. You know what that means. It will take longer to close the deal. On average, “75% of all B2B sales take at least 4 months to close.”

Resilience

It’s never a great experience to lose a key account. Sales managers should first uncover the real reason for the loss. Did the account leave because your organization didn’t show them the value of your offering? Or did your company lose the business because you haven’t kept pace with what’s happening in the marketplace? The answers to this kind of analysis will help you bolster your team’s resiliency.

Acknowledge that you had a loss. Then, lead your team to the next goal by charting a new course based on the results of your analysis. The new course of action might include providing extra coaching for a rep who needs to improve their negotiating skills or lobbying for product enhancement to stay ahead of the competition.

Feedback

When you ask employees to change the way they’re working, some team members will happily comply. Other team members won’t be as quick to adjust their habits. They may generally be resistant to change, or they might think they know better than you. One way to help employees gain your trust is to provide plenty of feedback. Employees who quickly make changes need to hear whether they are performing up to your expectations. Your other employees must hear feedback that will motivate them to adapt to the methods you’re suggesting. Take the time to study the results of any assessments your employees have taken. These results may indicate what your reluctant rep truly cares about and offer insight about specific motivational tendencies you can speak to during your one-​on-​one meetings.

Rewards

If you know for certain that your sales reps are motivated by money, cash bonuses can be a great way to incentivize and reward them. Other reps will be more interested in professional development or training that will prepare them for the next step in the career. A good sales manager will use an employee tracking or coaching system to store personal details about each employee. When one of your reps receives backstage passes to meet their favorite musical entertainer, they’ll show their appreciation with extra loyalty.

A Good Sales Manager Knows The Difference Between Managing and Leading

A great sales manager knows they need to track what their reps are doing as they nurture leads through the sales funnel. Managers must be there on a daily basis when a rep worries that they didn’t do a good enough job on a presentation and when a rep celebrates success. This emotional roller coaster can be draining. Great managers preserve enough energy to also lead their team. During a Monday morning stand-​up meeting, leaders can get their group excited about achieving the week’s goal. When leaders speak enthusiastically about what the goal means for the company and society at large, they inspire team members to do their best.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.