Telemarketing Software Featured Article

The Most Important Role of the Sales Manager

March 07, 2017
By Tracey E. Schelmetic - Telemarketing Software Contributor

The process of sales, more than any other business function (except perhaps marketing), is team-oriented. Sales is often set up in a hierarchical way, with inside sales reps at the bottom, outside sales reps above, sales managers above them and directors and VPs overall. Sales is a collaborative process, and for the bottom layers of sales, strong management is necessary to keep sales campaigns together and eliminate wasted and duplicated effort.

For sales managers, coaching is one of the most important tasks they can engage in. Many sales team members have room for improvement, and improvement is something that comes with the right guidance and hands-on coaching supported by tools and resources. Research conducted by the Corporate Executive Board Company found that sales reps who receive just three hours of coaching each month can exceed sales goals by 7 percent, boosting revenue by 25 percent and increasing the average close rate by 70 percent.

While it appears to be true that coaching has the least impact on both the weakest and the strongest members of the sales team, most people who work in sales fall in between, according to a recent blog post by Christina Mylnski writing for VanillaSoft. It’s a coach’s job not only to teach employees how to sell, but to teach them what the organization that employs them stands for.

“The harsh reality is that more than half of B2B executives believe their employees don’t understand their company’s strategy,” she wrote. “This is one of the main reasons sales coaching is so important – it allows leaders to define business goals, outline workflow, and work one-on-one with reps to achieve stellar results.”

Mylnski recommends that sales managers consider following some very basic steps to establish their coaching relationship with sales teams.

Establish clear goals. This is very important. Sellers can’t sell effectively if they’re not sure what their end game is supposed to be. From here, it’s easier to create coaching initiatives.

Be available. An open-door policy is critical to sales success. The last thing you want, as a sales manager, is to close doors to sales team members who want advice, guidance or simply a word of encouragement.

Provide good tools. It’s a sales worker’s job to sell, not to sift through outdated technology, fruitlessly search databases, update sales enablement materials or beg for supporting documentation. Sales management software or telemarketing software can help sales employees follow the right procedure, find the answers they need, update managers and supervisors, manage leads, set alerts for future actions and educate themselves about a customer or an account before they call. 

Make it regular. Coaching is never a “one and done” thing, and a single session simply isn’t enough, wrote Mylnski.

“A one-time meetup/session won’t cut it, given that 87 percent of training content is forgotten within weeks,” she wrote. “You should set up weekly, bi-weekly or monthly coaching – depending on the individual rep’s opportunity – to keep up with the momentum of the one-on-one relationship you’re constantly trying to shape.”

Sales managers are busy people, and it’s tempting to ask them to wear a lot of hats. Organizations that wish to succeed, however, should ensure that managers are free to engage in the activity that will best help the organization: coaching and hands-on management. 

Edited by Alicia Young