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April 22, 2014

Successful Sales Managers Show Sales Teams They Care

By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor


Many sales professionals will tell you that there’s no such thing as a good salesperson or a bad salesperson: just one who is either properly motivated by his or her manager, or not. While this may be a little overly simplistic, there is some wisdom in the adage. A good sales manager can turn even a mediocre sales person into a good seller. A bad manager, on the other hand, can turn even a good sales person into a mediocre one.


While every good manager has his or her own methods, there are some traits they have in common. They’re not bullies and they understand their industry. They respect their customers and are honest. They coach when coaching is required, and provide encouragement when that’s what’s required.

According to a recent article by Kevin Davis writing for Business 2 Community, there are many distractions that can take away sales managers’ time and lead them to focus on things that aren’t important. The distraction of email, for example, can cut into productive time that could be spent coaching a sales team or individual sales person.

“You know what happens when you check your e-mail,” writes Davis. “There’s some ‘hair-on-fire’ issue waiting in your in-box that demands your immediate attention. But nine times out of 10, it’s a distraction that is important to somebody else but not to you. And once you head off down that road, another distraction pops up. The next thing you know your day is gone and you never had a chance to coach anybody.”

It’s also important to address small problems before they become big problems. According to Davis, too many sales managers coach backwards instead of forward, focusing on past problems and issues rather than addressing how the team or individual needs to move forward.

“Many sales managers wait until a rep badly misses a forecast before ‘coaching’ that rep back to life. It’s as if the manager is saying, ‘If you’re bad enough I’ll coach you,’ writes Davis. “The problem with this backward-looking approach is that your coaching is disconnected from the rep’s behaviors — you don’t really know where the rep went wrong, just that they got a bad result. So you have no choice but to fall back on that tired old sales management maxim, ‘Make more sales calls!’”

Motivation, of course, is equally as important as coaching. For some managers, “motivation” is synonymous with threats, a tactic that simply doesn’t work (or…doesn’t work more than once). Monetary rewards motivate sales people, but so too do things that don’t cost money, such as recognition or a parking spot next to the front door.

“Get creative with the motivators for your reps,” advises Davis. “Think about both their personal goals and professional goals, such as having them attend a meeting with your company’s senior leadership.”

Finally, it’s important that sales personnel feel you care. Providing them with the right technology can help immensely. If they’re making a lot of outbound calls, consider an automated dialing solution. This can take pressure off your sales teams and boost efficiency and connection rates at the same time. Appointment-setting solutions can ensure that no appointments are booked when there are conflicts and that everyone is prepared for the presentations. According to sales solutions provider VanillaSoft, automated outbound dialing solutions and complementary sales technology can boost efficiency by 50 percent in the average sales organization.

Now imagine what could be done with that newly found time? Some coaching and motivation, perhaps? 


Edited by Rory J. Thompson


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