“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw. As a sales manager, your role is that of communicator with both the sales force and the executives that guide the company. When you practice the basic steps to effective sales management communication, your department and your reps will benefit. Sales managers and their leaders waste valuable time and energy repeating messages, prioritizing the wrong actions and spending too much time on non-customer facing activities. The root problem of these behaviors is poor communication.
Realizing the problem gives you a leg up on addressing the situation and taking steps to correct it. Organizations that train and monitor their sales managers’ effective communication show improvement in numerous metrics as reported by SalesBenchMarkIndex. These improvements include:
- Revenue increase of up to 5%
- A 22% decrease in turnover
- An average sale cycle decrease of 12%
Better communication is worth the effort. You can achieve that goal by following these three basic steps to effective sales management communication.
1. Focus on cadence for communication
Communicate with your sales team on an open platform that encourages everyone to participate by giving their input and suggestions. When you keep your staff members in the loop on an ongoing basis, they all get the information at the same time. Nobody appreciates learning that a sales manager has told a few favorite people about an important development before letting everyone else knows.
Your group communications will have a different cadence from the one-on-ones you have with your team members. During individual sessions, you should make reps aware of their roles, targets and goals. Ensure that the targets are realistic and achievable. Don't turn these dialogs into one-way conversations. Reps who are engaged need the freedom to participate in decisions that affect their role in the organization.
The best sales organizations also set standards for communicating with clients and prospects. When a client reaches out, they expect a speedy response. Have you established how quickly your reps should react and through which channels? If not, make that a goal for your sales organization to achieve this quarter.
2. Establish how to communicate
The concept of business casual shouldn't extend to communications at all levels. When your reps communicate with prospects, they should have access to guidelines. Let them know that you expect email communications to be grammatically correct, positive and polite. Remind them to include call-to-action lines with deadlines in their proposals. Clarifying these details helps maintain the organization's reputation.
When you are giving assignments, limit the details to two action steps at a time. And you should send out messages on multiple channels: email, CRM, and text. Covering all these bases means your rep will read the message. Don't forget to use short email subject lines and easy-to-read formatting.
If you sense resistance to your request, identify the issue immediately. Meet in person or via video call quickly and ask them to explain their concerns. It is during these interactions that the basic steps to effective sales management communication is critical.
3. Communicate properly with the C‑suite
To obtain what you need for your department, you must understand your leaders and their goals. Once you know what your boss is focused on, work backward to craft your message. For example, if you want to hire another sales rep and your boss wants to see a 10% boost in revenue this year, craft a proposal that explains how your new rep will drive the revenue increase.
Determine the decision-making style of your leader. Don’t be afraid to ask how they prefer to receive communications. Consider whether they want frequent messages from you. Some bosses want a detailed email while others are happy to read a text message.
Some supervisors aren't self-aware enough to know which communication style works best for them. If that's the situation you're in, observe how others communicate effectively with this leader.
Basic steps to effective sales management communication
Clear communication is imperative to a healthy organization. In fact, no concept is more basic to your team’s selling success than your ability to quickly and clearly convey important messages or ideas about the products and policies of the company. If you struggle with the basic steps to effective sales management communication, we hope you take advantage of SalesFuel's sales manager training.