Are you investing in sales seminars for your salespeople, but neglecting your team leads and managers? If so, you are not alone in this deficiency. According to a survey done by Sales Xceleration, 96 percent of sales managers want sales leadership training, and only 1 in 5 companies budget for it.
Rather than select those with management aptitude and give them special training, most firms simply promote their top salespeople into sales leadership roles. I guess they figure their selling skills will magically rub off on junior salespeople. However, just because someone can sell buyers does not automatically make him or her a great sales manager.
These roles require a different set of skills, and therefore require specific sales seminars and coaching to cultivate them. Here are some of the main ones.
Sales managers are responsible for building teams, and this means they must learn to recruit. Fortunately, they now have aptitude assessments like the APQ to help them filter out the best candidates, but they still must have a knack for putting together the right mix of people.
This does not come naturally to most new sales managers, who tend to rely on opinion or gut feelings rather than science and assessments to choose personnel. Sales seminars for sales leaders can prepare them for this important function.
Not every great salesperson can effectively communicate what their successful actions are. Some simply lack the patience needed to train other salespeople and mentor them until they become proficient at selling. These types of salespeople should not become sales managers because their salespeople will suffer from a lack of one-on-one guidance.
For those who do have the natural desire to teach others, sales seminars specifically designed for sales leaders can provide the basic tools, such as role-play scripts, basic sales processes, and closes to make the job easier.
Good sales managers work well with individual salespeople and are great at seeing the big picture. A great sales manager is like an orchestra conductor, directing individual players (salespeople) to pull off a harmonious performance. They respect the individual skills of the members and keep them focused and coordinated on the total composition (the production pipeline).
This means staying on top of their department’s leads and deals in progress and pushing transactions to fruition. While they allow salespeople autonomy to close business, they also stay on top of them and step in where needed. There should be little surprises, because they keep abreast of everything entering and exiting the sales funnel.
Part of pipeline management is forecasting and assigning quotas, and it is the job of the sales manager to keep a full pipeline and move buyers through it in volume. Each of these tasks has its own best practices which can be studied, another reason why sales seminars specifically designed for managers are important.
The ability to lead people and motivate them to act is an x-factor comprised of ingredients such as emotional intelligence, charisma, courage, possessing a thick skin, etc. It is a skill all successful salespeople possess, but it’s even more important for sales leaders.
It’s easy to motivate salespeople when the economy is good and your company enjoys a sizable market share or brand recognition. It’s not so easy during lean times or when you are a startup trying to take business from bigger rivals. In those instances a sales manager who can rally the troops and inspire them to go out and compete, regardless of the odds, is a true MVP.
While someone can learn how to lead and motivate, its easier to hire or promote someone who inherently possesses this x-factor. A pre-employment assessment like the APQ can help identify him or her.
This is one job function hardly any sales manager likes, but nonetheless has to get done. Anyone with experience as a sales leader knows all too well how many reports, spreadsheets, bar graphs, etc. the post can generate in order to meet the demand of execs with a seemingly endless appetite for data.
Sales managers could get bogged down in paperwork all day because of these demands, so they should get some training to help stay on top of their reporting duties while still being able to work with salespeople and buyers. Some of this could be in the form of time management coaching. Others need technical training on how to pull up reports using their CRM or production management software more efficiently, such as setting up report templates.
In summary, superior salespeople do not always become superior sales managers or executives. An aptitude test can help detect those with promise, who can be further developed through specialized sales seminars intended to develop their skills as leaders. If you would like help developing the sales leaders in your organization, complete with testing and training plans, please contact us. You will find it is well worth your investment to focus on them.