There is advice abound for sales managers. There’s a good reason for that, too. Managing a sales team is a frustrating job, but keeping those numbers up is essential to the company. This concerning cycle leads many sales managers to throw up their hands and say things like, “My sales team just isn’t accountable. There’s always an excuse. They’re not achieving results.” The reality, though, is that success comes down to a single factor – the guidance management has to offer.
Why don’t sales managers offer more in the way of advice? Thought leader Kerry Cunnion of Sales Xceleration, a Samurai Business Group Partner, believes that the single most common reason sales managers just don’t get it right is that they haven’t laid out clear objectives for their team. “Usually, management hasn’t told them what they want,” Cunnion said in a recent interview. “They haven’t laid out a documented sales process, and that can impact how the company works.”
It’s not always just the managers who are at fault in the equation, though. In some cases, the company hasn’t defined the role of its sales management team either. Cunnion has had some experience in this area too. “Once I worked with a company that had five sales managers and five different compensation plans for them. They were compensating them to do things that were cross-functional, and no one quite knew where the objectives were. I spoke with the owner of the company and asked him what he really wanted from his sales managers. It turns out he wasn’t paying any of them to accomplish those goals.”
Ensuring everyone is on the same page is an absolute must if you want real results. Many times, it’s not just the sales team who doesn’t know what they’re responsible for. Sometimes the manager isn’t sure about the responsibilities involved either.
Having clear company-wide goals is one problem, but it’s certainly not the only one that holds sales teams back. Time management clearly plays a role as well. Cunnion believes being busy isn’t always the way to achieve the goals. “I think a lot of times younger sales managers equate being busy with effort and accomplishment, and they’re very distinct things. You can put in 60 or 70 hours a week and get nothing accomplished. You must focus on the activities and the process versus simply doing things. That’s what drives results.”
Managing sales is different from managing a team of accountants or a team of operations specialists. There’s an entirely different way to motivate them, and you must look at it a little differently. New sales managers always need a bit more guidance because sales have a lot of functions that must be actively managed. You have to work with sales reps to coach and manage them regularly or you’re not going to get the results you want.
The process atrophies over time, and the reality of it is that people get dull. When you’re starting to lose business to competitors and you’re not generating new business, it’s time to make a change, and that can be as simple as actively coaching. That’s where Samurai Business Group comes into play.
Cunnion works with the Samurai sales training and consulting team to ensure those companies that need a bit of extra help in sales management get it through classes like their Sales Management Mastery Program. “This program works across a broad spectrum of candidates. It really digs deeply into a number of different subject areas that allow you to master the skills necessary and give potential sales managers the tools they need to excel in those areas.”
Sales managers sometimes need additional training to learn how to improve their teams. While many companies look at training as an expense, the reality is that it’s an investment, and the Samurai Business Group offers a serious return on that investment and so much more. Learn about how Samurai can help your sales team exceed your company sales goals this year.