In the latest episode of Move the Deal, host Greg Moore talks with Kevin Lewis, Global Sales Excellence Leader Kevin Lewis at Milliken Chemical.
As a sales leader at Milliken, a leading manufacturer of plastics additives, colorants, silicones and chemical intermediates, Lewis supports sales managers and sellers around the world by helping them succeed through training, improved processes and coaching.
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Best Practices in Sales Manager Coaching
Promoting a great seller to a sales manager is a mistake that sales organizations often make, but the skillset that great sellers possess doesn’t necessarily translate to being a great sales manager. With that in mind, Lewis discusses the importance of sales coaching as a sales manager.
Sales managers need to observe how to coach, so they teach their sellers instead of simply telling them what to do. As part of his process in coaching managers through funnel reviews, Lewis asks his sales managers to observe him conduct one, and then he observes them conducting one. This way, each party gets an opportunity to provide feedback.
Lewis argues that sales leaders have two jobs: to hit their numbers and develop their people, If you develop your people well, you increase your ability to hit your numbers.
The Old School Sales Manager Mindset is No Longer Effective
When an organization promotes a seller to a sales manager role, they need to think about the qualities and skills that made them successful as a seller. This allows them to create and replicate similar behaviors that worked on their team, and it’s something they need to learn through experience. There’s a shift in what sales managers look like today. As organizations implement new processes and technologies, the old school mindset of being effective by just taking notes and going off gut instinct won’t work—sales managers need to learn from a repeatable and scalable framework.
How First-time Sales Managers Set Themselves Up for Success
Lewis ends the episode with three pieces of advice for first-time sales managers:
- Have 1:1 conversations with all of your sellers, not to just manage them but to ask, listen and learn
- Seek out another successful sales manager to pick their brain and find out what works for them
- Remember that your job is to hit your number or develop your people. Every action you take needs to address one of those objectives
Outline of Episode:
[3:00] Taking sales managers to the next level
[7:30] Where new sales managers should focus
[13:32] Attributes of great sales managers
[15:00] Advice for first-time sales managers
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