Sales Management. Simplified.: The Straight Truth About Getting Exceptional Results from Your Sales Team

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Published: 10/21/2015
Why do sales organizations fall short? Every day, expert consultants like Mike Weinberg are called on by companies large and small to find the answer—and it’s one that may surprise you. Typically, the issue lies not with the sales team—but with how it is being led. Through their attitude and actions, senior executives and sales managers unknowingly undermine performance.

Book Summary - Sales Management. Simplified. By Mike Weinberg

Key Insights

The problems faced by sales managers are varied and plentiful. Unrealistic expectations of executive management and a lack of time in the workday are just two of the challenges they face. Sales managers understand that if they don’t achieve their goals, it also affects their team.

If you’re a sales manager, you understand how intense the pressure can be. Apart from managing sales teams, it is important to know how to direct their focus and prioritize objectives. When sales teams lose sight of their objectives, this can cause more problems for the manager.

Sales management is a multifaceted role. Managers are involved in adjusting compensation and administration work on CRM software. Sometimes these tasks can take away from the managers’ true role. Being a successful manager requires knowing how to prioritize tasks and eliminate unnecessary ones.

What you’ll learn

  • What issues and problems sales managers commonly have to deal with.
  • How sales managers attempt to fix work problems and when shortcut solutions go wrong.
  • What helps sales managers and sales teams succeed.
  • What qualities a good sales manager and healthy work culture have
  • What tools are best for planning and strategizing.

Who this is for

  • CEOs
  • Corporate executives
  • Sales professionals
  • Company managers
  • Sales managers

Key Points

Being a sales manager in name only is disastrous for everyone.

Do you spend most of your time doing everything but sales? A lot of sales managers probably feel this way. That’s because a lot of your time can be taken over by dealing with tasks unrelated to sales. If your time is not focused on your sales objectives, it can affect your whole team.

If you’re not driving revenue or coaching your staff, you might start to miss targets. In sales, missing targets can mean the difference between a great month and a terrible one. Even if it’s the sales team that’s underperforming, it’s the responsibility of the sales manager to fix it.

When you’re prioritizing the wrong things, you’re missing opportunities to be a sales manager. If you spend the majority of your day working on updating CRM software, you’re not fulfilling your role the best way you can. The time spent on the wrong things could be focused on bringing in sales and improving your team’s performance.

You want to be an actual sales manager and not just a manager in name only. You have to create a productive atmosphere and make sure your team is driving revenue. To do this, you need to communicate with your team and be aware everyone is working towards the same goals.

How to create a culture of teamwork and lead with distinction.

Just because you’re a nice person doesn’t mean you have a happy team of salespeople. To create a positive environment requires some work. To begin with, you need to identify the goals you all share and make yourself accessible to your team.

When you’re a salesperson you’re in the habit of thinking about your goals and your sales results. You may be part of a team, but ultimately, what matters to you is your own sales performance. This way of thinking is common in salespeople and it helps them to be successful.

However, when you’re a sales manager, you have to think about others. You’re in charge of a team and it’s your job to monitor their performances. Unlike salespeople, managers have more of an impact if they are putting the needs of the team before their own.

To be a good leader, you must understand the difference between your previous role as a salesperson and your current role. You may have been a great salesperson, but you’re a manager now. That means leaving the active sales role behind.

Trying to take on two roles can reduce your effectiveness. Instead, put all the effort into your new role and help the team. If you were good as a salesperson, use that knowledge to guide your sales team. You will be more effective as a manager when you coach your team in selling techniques than trying to compete with them.

Being nice doesn’t always mean a happy sales team but it can. Be accessible and helpful. Nurture the sales talent you have on your team instead of trying to relive your glory days. If you do these things you will give your team the confidence and energy they need to succeed.

Get to know your team members and play to their strengths.

One of the least effective things you can do as a manager is to assume that someone is underperforming because they are bad at sales. There could be many reasons for a person’s bad performance. You can minimize the wrong assumptions through proactive management.

When you’re coaching, take the time to get to know your salespeople as individuals. As you get to learn more about them, take notes of their strengths and weaknesses. It will help you to assess the areas you as a team can improve and where you excel.

This matters, because it will help you to identify if anyone is in a role they are not suited for. If you find that people are underperforming, clearly defining everyone’s role will help. One of the main reasons employees underperform is because they are not entirely sure what their actual role is.

If you can clearly communicate what each team member’s responsibilities are, you will see a positive difference. Once people understand exactly what they are meant to be doing, they often strive to be the best they can in their role. You can use this as an opportunity to move people into more suitable roles if it would be helpful to the team.

In worst case scenarios, you may have to replace people. This should only happen if they consistently underperform even with constant coaching. Only when it is clear that they cannot work with the team should you consider replacing them.

A good manager trusts their team and works with them to improve. One of the most common mistakes made is to bring in another more experienced salesperson if there is no need to. This can cause friction and lower morale. It also doesn’t always mean sales will improve.

Experienced salespeople still need to find their place in the team. So bringing in another member without needing them could create more work for you as a manager. Think about it, an experienced salesperson will have their way of doing things. Even worse, it may cause your best performers to leave if they don’t feel valued.

There are times when you need to recruit people. You want to be able to get the best talent you can but also retain the talent you have. Your team will always benefit from high performing candidates, as long as the existing members feel valued.

Be aware of the needs of your team, but always be on the lookout for new talent. Keeping your highest performers happy doesn’t mean you can’t have strong candidates ready to join. If one of your best salespeople leaves, you should have a strong enough team that it doesn’t affect sales results.

Use your knowledge and experience to make sure your team gets the training they need.

When you are running a team of salespeople, it will be clear from the start that not everyone has an effective sales strategy. This is where your role as a sales manager comes into play. Although you’re not a salesperson anymore, you have to provide them with information that will help them the best they can.

There is no secret to being a good salesperson. It simply takes a lot of work and having helpful resources at your disposal. Take the time to make sure your team has all the resources they need. It’s your job to ensure they have presentation skills and a clear sales strategy.

This is where your experience can help. With your knowledge you can help them to prepare for sales calls properly. Ask them questions about their calls. Have they researched the potential customer? Have they prepped questions specifically for the call?

As the sales manager, you have to emphasize the importance of the sales story. The sales story goes beyond listing the services or products. It is how the customer is engaged and a good sales story will make the deal easier to close.

A good manager never stops providing coaching tips for the team. Highlight the importance of talking points and being prepared for sales calls. You should always take the time to explain why it is important to communicate the story and how it differentiates you from the competition.

Coaching your team will help to create an open and positive culture for your team. When you make the effort to train them, you improve their skills while building a relationship with your team. By being supportive, you help to create a supportive work environment.

If you have meetings they should have a purpose and inspire your team.

Even though you may have a great team that you trust, you still have to make sure you are getting results. Monitoring the team doesn’t mean you have to sit in on sales calls or constantly read sales reports. Try instead, to hold a regular meeting.

When you hold a regular meeting you can take the opportunity to provide team feedback and more importantly, get theirs. In these meetings, you can look at sales reports together and discuss the results. If you notice any issues arising in the reports, this is the time you can address them.

A meeting is also a good time to look at the month or year ahead. You can create sales plans as a team. When you’re in the room together everyone is included in the conversation regarding the sales plan. By the end of a sales meeting, everyone should know their goals and be ready to go.

Holding meetings gives you the ability to speak to your team about goals and strategies. It also enables you the opportunity to monitor their progress without making them feel any pressure about their performance. In short, you can address concerns and inspire your team all at once.

The Main Take-away

To be a successful sales manager, you have to clearly define the roles of your team and provide consistent coaching for them all.

Sales management is not the same as sales. If you want to be a successful manager, you need to know your team’s strengths and weaknesses. You need to be available to them for coaching and as a resource. You need to provide them with the resources and the knowledge need to achieve sales goals. A good sales manager understands how to create a healthy work culture and elevate the sales team.

About the Author

Mike Weinberg is a bestselling author, consultant, and professional coach. His knowledge of new business development and sales management have made him one of the most trusted sales experts in the world today.

Weinberg has consulted with companies around the world and has been voted the number one sales expert to follow on Twitter. He lives in St. Louis with his wife and three children.

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