Within any sales organisation, the sales managers have a vital role to play, as they lead the sales reps and directly impact upon what they sell, how they go about selling it, and what individuals or businesses they target. In addition to their direct influence on sales processes, sales managers also have a hand in employee development.

As this Miller Heiman Group infographic shows, in organisations with world-class sales performance, frontline sales managers are held most accountable for delivering accurate forecasts, highlighting their importance. Moreover, new research from CSO Insights shows your sales managers could be your company’s single biggest asset.

The Key to Success?

In a research report entitled Sales Managers: Overwhelmed and Underdeveloped, CSO Insights found that amongst companies that spend $5,000 or more on training their sales managers, revenue attainment was 23 percent higher than in businesses that invest nothing in this area.

“Our research shows sales managers are the biggest catalyst and biggest fail point,” says Tamara Schenk, the research director for CSO Insights. Highlighting a sales manager’s role in employee development, she added: “If you improve the performance of your sales managers, you will likely improve the performance of up to 10 salespeople.”

The Value of Coaching

An effective coaching strategy can be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful sales organisation and the job of coaching sales team members falls to sales managers. Ultimately, coaching is what needs to happen before staff put the information they learn from training into practice in real-life situations.

Without follow up, sales team members often default to established habits, preventing learned behaviours from being applied. What this means is, you could offer the very best sales or negotiation training, but without coaching, the information from that sales or negotiation training session may never be put into use.

As part of the CSO Insights 2016 Sales Enablement Optimization Study, it was found that the provision of either formal or dynamic coaching by your sales managers can increase the number of salespeople in your organisation that achieve quota by as much as 10 percent, quantifying the value of coaching.

Invest in Sales Managers

Nevertheless, just 25 percent of businesses believe their sales managers definitely spend enough time coaching all of the individual members of their sales team; a figure which rises to 78 percent among world class organisations. The discrepancy is most likely due to a lack of investment in sales managers training.

Coaching might not come naturally to sales managers and must be taught and learned through training. However, unfortunately, just 8.3 percent of respondents to the 2017 Sales Manager Enablement Report spent more than $5,000 per year on training sales managers and a staggering 18.8 percent spent no money on training them at all.

When appropriate investment is made, however, sales manager development has a clear and demonstrable impact on key performance indicators ranging from win rates, to revenue attainment and even staff turnover levels. Therefore, sales managers could be your single biggest asset and should be treated as such.

Conclusion

Sales managers have one of the most important roles in a sales organisation, because they have the ability to impact upon the performance of multiple other members of the sales team.

Research clearly demonstrates that investment in sales management training can lead to improvements in win rates, revenue attainment and the percentage of staff who achieve quota, making them a huge asset. Nevertheless, the CSO Insights 2017 Sales Manager Enablement Report shows they continue to be overlooked and under-developed.

You can learn more about enabling your sales managers by attending the 2017 Miller Heiman Group Sales and Service Summit. Information about the event can be found by clicking here.

 

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