It’s common in the sales industry to promote salespeople to managers based on the strength of their selling record. The problem with this approach is that the new managers often have no idea how to motivate or coach others because they didn’t need to do so in their previous position.
This can quickly lead to tension when the new manager has high expectations but does nothing to help his or her team met specific goals. Those who successfully make the transition from salesperson to manager must have an open mind and be willing to change. Therefore, investing in the quality and skills of frontline sales management personnel can make a significant positive impact on a sales organization’s performance.
Ensure That All Salespeople Understand What Is Expected Of Them
When a new sales manager joins a team, one of his or her first tasks should be sitting down and getting to know each representative as an individual. There should be enough time to learn the person’s strengths and weaknesses as well as typical sales performance. This meeting is also an excellent time for the new sales manager to outline expectations, including the rewards for meeting them and the consequences for not meeting them. For goals to be most effective, they should meet the SMART acronym:
- S: Smart
- M: Measurable
- A: Attainable
- R: Realistic
- T: Timely
It’s also imperative that the new sales manager establish regular times to meet privately with each salesperson to discuss progress towards goals. If the representative appears to be missing targets, the manager should view this session as an opportunity for problem-solving rather than putting the salesperson on the defensive.
Effective Coaching Is Built On Mutual Trust
Coaching is an investment in the success and career of each sales professional. One important thing for all sales managers to keep in mind is that their team members obtain much more value from what they do than what they say.
If a manager says that he or she will provide a salesperson with greater resources and then follows through, it can quickly lead to a loss of trust. Good ways for managers to establish trust include enforcing established rules, following through on scheduled meetings, and not giving different information to different people. By having this backdrop of trust already, a salesperson is much more likely to take what the manager brings up in each coaching session to heart.
Good Managers Leverage The Contributions Of Others
Even the most well-intentioned sales managers sometimes get caught up in micromanaging their teams rather than taking on more of a role as a supportive coach. The role of a sales manager is not to hover over a representative’s every move but to instead make resources such as client introductions and data about clients available to them.
They also don’t take responsibility for the individual mistakes of their team members and let them learn from the consequences instead. If the entire team displays a specific behavior, an effective manager addresses and corrects it before it has a major impact on performance.
The most important thing a sales organization can do when promoting a salesperson to a manager is to invest in training that covers how to effectively manage business, customers, and people. This will be a far more successful approach than expecting someone who has always focused on making sales to suddenly understand how to motivate and manage people.
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