The 6 Secrets to Being a Great Sales Manager

Being a sales manager isn’t easy. It requires a lot of time, a lot of attention, and a lot of planning. And the tactics that worked when you were on the phones just starting off your career rarely apply. Yet, in spite of the challenges and ever-changing nature of today’s competitive B2B sales environment, when your team listens, executes, and wins there is no better feeling.

While keeping up in a sales organization that is constantly evolving is challenging, there are myriad tools and resources to help keep you on track. Here are 6 of the best tips we received at last week’s Sales Workshop to help increase your team’s productivity, efficiency and overall results on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.

1. Make a model day for everyone on your team and stick to it

Establishing a process for your team is important. This should include goals, activities, outreach cadence, Salesforce.com process, and buyer journey complete with definitions, activities, and ownership at each stage.

But, this process means nothing unless you’re able to measure it across your team. Establish a model day complete with the activities and goals team members are responsible for and the time in which they are expected to complete them. By establishing a clear model, you’ll be able to tell whether or not you’re actually on pace to meet your goal — down to the hour.

2. Know what your number is and the metrics you need to track to get there

In order to plan a model day you need to know what your goal is. If you do not know your number for the quarter, you need to stop reading this post now and determine what it is exactly that your team is responsible for delivering in both revenue and pipeline before going any further.

Once you have your number, determine the activities your team needs to complete in order to get there. Focus not just on the number of touches, but the number of connects, passed leads, and demos to determine what your reps need to achieve on a daily basis in order to be successful.

3. Build out the buyer journey for your prospects and your team

Don’t know what those conversion points are? Map out the buyer journey (not the sales funnel) so that you know what it is your team needs to execute to meet the demands of prospective buyers.

Next, layer this back into your sales funnel and determine who is responsible for each stage of the journey and what the hand off looks like between the individual contributors on your team.

4. Create a concrete training program for your new hires

Building out the above materials means nothing if you’re not also educating new hires on these goals and processes. Creating a corresponding training program along with supporting materials is essential to optimize ramp up time for new sale reps.

Don’t know where to start? Follow this advice from Andrew Quinn, Director of Training and Development at HubSpot:

  1. List out all the core knowledge points and skills new reps need to know
  2. Stack rank the points and skills
  3. Determine the time it will take to train your team on each subject

Overwhelming new hires with information however will likely do more harm than good. Build a training program with only the bare essentials new reps need to be productive and in the seat.  Use ongoing education and ‘lunch and learns’ to continue to build out their skill sets.

5. Know the difference between career development and career progression

And communicate it early and often! Set the expectations with what reps need to achieve in order to move into their next role and the timeline in which they are expected to get there. Also communicate the additional skills sales reps will need to develop while in their current role in order to advance and further their career.

6. Don’t be soft

At the end of the day your A players judge you by how you coach and manage your B and C players. Keep the A players around by setting expectations for your team and holding them responsible for meeting those expectations — “being on the road” is no longer a reason for not filling out information in Salesforce.com.

Create SLAs for each role on the team, then document and review them on a regular basis to ensure that everyone across the organization is aware and able to complete what is being asked of them. As sales expert Jeff Hoffman often says, “you are not your rep’s father, mother, rabbi, priest, or therapist — you are their boss.” And it is your responsibility to create the rules and ensure that everyone is following them.

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