Are you an ace manager? Do you emulate the behavior of the best managers? If you can’t answer ‘yes’ to these questions, you may need to review what sales reps want from their managers.
Sales Reps’ Concerns
Sales reps have no interest in working for a poor manager. They can easily find another job in this hot economy. These days, the average sales organization, according to our Voice of the Sales Manager survey, experiences a 30%+ turnover rate. Why are reps leaving? They revealed their reasons in our forthcoming Voice of the Sale Rep survey. Lack of opportunity for advancement is one factor that drives reps to other employers. And about 36% believe that their employer doesn’t care about them. In addition, nearly 24% of sales reps look for new employment opportunities because they are not happy with their current sales manager.
Behaviors of the Best Managers
You can remedy this situation by emphasizing the leadership style reps want from their managers. Gallup studied the qualities of top managers last year. Ryan Pendell summarized the specific qualities that make employees want to stay with their managers, according to the Gallup data. Here are a few of the items Pendell discussed.
Sense of Purpose — Research from Gallup shows that “the quality of a manager accounts for 70% of the variance in team engagement.” Pendell points out that it’s key for managers to “connect purpose to individual and team action.” This insight makes perfect sense. In today’s knowledge economy, your reps want to understand why they are being asked to call on a specific account. They want to know how it will help the company achieve its stated goals. If you haven't shared the company’s goals and your vision for the role your team will play in meeting those goals, start doing so now.
Don’t assume that your sales professionals are only motivated by how much money they can make. Many of your team members want to be part of an organization that is benefitting society in some way. A good sales assessment test used during the hiring process will help you learn about your team members’ motivations.
Make the Team a Safe Place — Employees are under pressure to achieve more in a shorter time frame these days. Sometimes, your reps will land a whale. Other times, they’ll lose a big account. It’s not fun to fail at a highly visible task. That’s when your reps most need a kind word from you. They need to know it’s okay to mess up and that they’ll have another chance to prove themselves. You should encourage co-workers to give the struggling team member a high-five. Allow your team members to spend a few minutes every day talking about the challenges they face and they'll feel supports and secure.
Meaningful Conversation — Your team members want you to hear from you regularly. If your reps work in the field or from remote offices, they might not feel that they play a big role in what’s happening with the organization. If you don’t stay in touch, they can easily become isolated and lose their motivation to do their best work. You can head off this problem by staying in touch with a video call on a weekly basis. These conversations don’t have to last for long. Touching base and chatting about what they’re working on (and this conversation shouldn’t be about how they are or are not making their numbers) demonstrates on many levels that you care.
The best managers show their team members they care — on both a personal and professional level. Stay in touch with all of your reps and they’ll reward you by remaining loyal and delivering great results.