Improving a sales team begins with improving the sales manager's ability to influence and empower the sales reps to higher success levels. Unfortunately, sales managers can get distracted, sorting out customer and team issues that they neglect their professional development as the team manager. The following 5 steps will help you get back on track to become a great sales manager.
Step 1: Develop leadership skills
Your role as a sales manager is to be the leader of your sales team. The more you concentrate on the success of your team, the better your results will be. Focus on leveraging the strengths of your team as a whole, and on the strengths of each individual salesperson. A great Sales Manager recognizes that each member of their team is unique and utilizes each team member’s strengths.
Step 2: Develop listening skills
The role of a Sales Manager is no longer to play the part of taskmaster. Instead, it is about empowerment and support. To be a great sales manager, learn to be an effective listener. Listening will enable you to understand things from your team’s perspective. Listening also demonstrates empathy and will build your team’s confidence in your ability to manage and gain their trust. Why don't you apply the 80/20 rule to listening where for a week you listen four times as much as you talk. See what you learn.
Step 3: Develop effective sales processes
Develop effective sales processes that clearly define the expectations you have for your sales team. Provide a set of metrics that your team can use to manage the sales process. Align these metrics on Dashboards for your team. Your team should have mastery in three essential aspects of sales: prospecting for new customers, qualifying if a customer as a good candidate for your product or service and closing the sale.
Step 4: Learn to use data to find new sales opportunities
There are many ways a sales manager can use data to improve sales. For example, managing the sales pipeline will help your sales team to stay organized and in control of sales figures, increasing your confidence that your targets can be achieved. Using data to measure revenue allows you to assess overall profitability of the businesses, and to measure how much the income brought in by sales affects the bottom line.
Step 5: Learn to leverage data
Recently there has been an increase in data-driven sales coaching. Coaching highlights the sales activities and metrics that indicate success. Using fact-based data enables you to improve your team's performance. By using data, you can see sales trends and gain important insight into the activity of each of your sales reps. Collecting and analyzing data allows you to quickly identify areas of improvement and provides opportunities to teach your reps on better ways to service customers. Armed with accurate information, sales reps soon learn the power of a helpful conversation and how customers respond to information that helps them make the best decisions with limited cashflow.
Download our free ebook, The 10 Metrics Every Sales Manager Must Know and Measure, for an in-depth look at advanced data measurement and analytics options for Sales Managers.