Three easy tips to make you a better sales manager

It’s time to do a self-audit on your habits and routines as a sales manager.  You have just one goal in this position and that is to improve your team’s sales performance and revenue. This means that everything you do that does not support that goal should be eliminated from your activities.  Here are three easy ones.

Stop Scolding—Immediately stop scolding your sales team when it falls behind on production goals.  It doesn’t motivate them to improve and it annoys the hell out of those who are ahead of goal.  There’s an opportunity cost to having a sales meeting in that you have taken your team off the line to attend it, so you’d better make the content rich.  Inform them of current results, good or bad. Praise if results are good, but then coach individuals one-on-one if they’re behind goal. If you’re one of those managers who devotes 5 minutes of every meeting telling people to get moving, cut that out.  You’re being lazy by not addressing the issues head-on.

Audit Your Sales Meeting—Get the agenda for your next sales meeting and for each item on it, ask yourself in what way it contributes to your “improve revenue” mission. If some topic doesn’t support sales performance, toss it out. I’ll bet you have at least 30 minutes of content in your present meetings that has nothing to do with helping people sell.  If you want to do an even better audit, turn it over to the team itself.  Simply ask 2-3 people to solicit ideas from the others in response to this question:  “For all sales meetings going forward, what content would you like to see us include that will help you do your job better?  And conversely, what items are in our present agenda that you would like us to skip?” Phrase it in positive, upbeat language:

“My job is to help you win, but so far I’m the only one putting together the sales meeting agendas.  I’m not perfect, and I worry I’m not giving you the best content.  Be honest with me on this. What would you like us to include, and what can we reasonably do without?  All responses are good responses.  Food for thought:  How do you feel about rotating agenda responsibility among the team?  Have at me!”

Be a Micro-manager!—I don’t know why this expression has such a bad connotation. It implies the sales manager is in your face all the time, and not in a productive way.  But you should micro-manage. Oh, you say, “But what about your top performers?  You shouldn’t micro-manage them!”  Sure you should.  Here’s how.  Tell your rain-maker salespeople how much you value their performance and leadership.  Ask them to speak at sales meetings to discuss how they won a deal.  Ask them to teach a skill, modeling it first for the group.  Ask them to coach and help a less productive performer.  Are you spending most of your time coaching the non-performers?  If so, you may be missing a great opportunity to reinforce the desired behaviors from your top people.  They have feelings too.

These three tips make perfect sense don’t they?  And they’re not difficult to do.  Your sales team should be treated as if they are customers.   So Think Like Your Customer.

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About Gregory LaMothe
I teach people how to sell things. I own the company ActionSystems. Visit my website at www.actionsystemstraining.com.

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