In many sales organizations, the process of promoting a sales rep to a sales manager often sounds a little something like this:
“Congratulations, Pete, you’ve just been promoted to sales manager! Here’s your team, here’s your territory, and here’s what we’re expecting you to deliver. Go get ‘em!”
Suddenly, with nary a whisper of training on how to actually manage, inspire and work with a team, that newly minted sales manager is set loose and expected to deliver results and enhance their sales reps’ performance.
Not surprisingly, that approach rarely works out.
After all, as good as “Pete” might have been at selling, it’s quite a leap of faith to assume that he’ll innately understand how to lead other salespeople. Sure, he may very well possess the core qualities of a good manager. But does that mean he really grasps how to execute the sales manager role relative to business targets? And does he really comprehend how to translate individual goals into team-wide objectives?
Maybe. Or maybe not.
The Right Way to Approach Sales Management Training
Ultimately, the less you assume about your managers’ capabilities and knowledge, the better off you’ll be.
After all, for sales managers to be truly successful, they can’t just be good leaders or great salespeople. They must also know how to reinforce what their sales reps learn so that it can be adopted and put into practice, and they must be able to construct (and execute against) both short- and long-term strategic objectives. That includes:
Managing team and individual performance (managing to quota attainment, writing performance plans, conducting performance reviews, etc.)
- Recruiting, training and retaining top sales talent
- Creating and executing an effective new business acquisition strategy
- Conducting annual sales planning (establishing territories, setting commissions, determining quotas, etc.)
The truth is that even sales reps that have managed a team as part of their selling roles in the past aren’t likely to possess these foundational sales management skills unless they’ve been given the opportunity to acquire them.
As the business owner, it’s your job to do that.
Why Proper Sales Management Training Pays Big Dividends
While investing time and money into ensuring sales managers are fully versed in all sales management areas (leadership, sales excellence, people management and sales results) can seem like a massive investment, it doesn’t have to be. And, the return on that investment is well worth it in both the short- and long-term.
The reason? The more your sales managers know about what they need to do to reach specific objectives, the easier it will be for them to help their teams perform more effectively—and faster. And as you can imagine, in sales that can very quickly translate into significant revenue gains.
At the end of the day, the idea isn’t to train managers on how to be better managers. It’s to teach them how to execute the sales manager role in a way that more effectively delivers against specific business targets.
In that sense, it’s a little bit like teaching someone how to fish, rather than simply handing someone a fishing pole and wishing them luck. You may have to wait longer for results, but you’ll be very happy you did when that person understands exactly what they—and their team—need to do to perform optimally.
Kendra Lee is a top IT Seller, Prospect Attraction Expert, author of the newly released book, “The Sales Magnet,” and the award winning book, “Selling Against the Goal,” and president of KLA Group. Specializing in the IT industry, KLA Group works with companies to break in and exceed revenue objectives in the Small and Midmarket Business (SMB) segment.